A few months ago, I decided that I would start sharing more of my art work. Sketches, works in progress, good, bad, I am sharing it all. I am at a place in my life where I have many obligations. In order to fit art into my life-which more often than not it is in the form of sketching-it must be accessible. This is why I have decided to invest in a new sketch book, scraps of paper will no longer do! My sketching seems to serve different functions, much the same way writing does. Sometimes it acts as a quick note to someone, or expresses an emotion that am feeling. For example, the sketch below, was done on an envelope. I sent it in the form of a text, to a friend who has a fairly new baby (two months to be exact). I did this in order to show my
solidarity support, i.e. it looked like she was in for a long night.
When I really think about it though, there are always obligations, the scenery and people may have changed, but I still have to practice time management no matter what stage I am in my life. I think what is really happening though, is that I am both reclaiming my art practice as a mother, and becoming aware of the new way in which I practice art. Seeing it reflected back to me in the growing number of sketches, somehow solidifies that this is not merely an “in between” but rather a new way of practicing art.
Prior to motherhood, I always viewed my sketching/sketch book as a draft or an annex. Now though, I consider my sketches (within the scope of my practice) as complete. Some of these pieces may evolve, but most will stay as is. And even though I am not exactly sure where all these sketches are going, I am at least moving forward, one sketch at a time.
For those of you who are not on Instagram, here is one of the pieces that I had been working on. It is unfinished, in process, if you will. Before relocating for work, yet again, I found myself drawn to the quietude of sketching and painting. As the move drew closer, I put my paints away. Now, almost two months later, I finally feel like making art again.
The focus for the past two months has really been about finding our new daily rhythm for this family of two. At last, the unfamiliar is beginning to feel familiar. We have a grocery store that we can walk or jog to with a good natural selection. I have found some excellent health food stores, and Farmers Markets are in abundance here with plenty of fresh produce. We have a couple of parks that we often go to in the evenings, and a mother and toddler group that meets Tuesday mornings. Now that I feel more settled and can see that M is feeling more settled, I think I may be ready to start painting again!
Life is, as you know, a constant dance of doing and being. Adding things that work, and subtracting things things that no longer work. Since my return to work, many creative endeavors have taken a “back seat,” so to speak. In their place, I spend more time with friends, and do more activities outside the house with M.
Creatively speaking, I really only have time for a bit of writing (which translates to many unfinished blog posts) and doing my water colours. I am in the process of figuring out what my current art goals are.
As for this blog, I am still in a state of flux regarding what function it presently serves in my life and how I wish to proceed. I started writing the baby and the artist as way to share ideas and moments from motherhood with friends and family. I have for the most part, allowed the content of this space to meander and unfold much the way aspects of my own life do. Now though, I want to be more deliberate with my writing and my art. I have never viewed blogging as merely an end onto its-self.
I value both the state of being just as much the process of doing because I know that a pause, even a very long one ,means important work is happening under the surface. With that said, I am left pondering where my blog will eventually fit in as my focus continues to shift and my life evolve.
Virginia Woolf once wrote “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” If one is to take this statement at face value, there is a practical truth that applies to painting also. Though, I must clarify that the original intent of Woolf’s statement goes much deeper than than just the “simple logistics” of writing. Her book A Room of One’s Own, is a [feminist] critique of the limitations women faced [around writing] as a result of their status, limited education, and poverty during her time.
If you have read some of my previous posts on art (this one, and this one), then you will know that I believe art happens in the every day, as well as outside the studio, and inside the studio. Over the course of my art practice, I have had to either redefine or scale back my art [practice], but somehow, I have always managed to practice art at some capacity. However, I have learnt that in order to successfully paint larger scale oil painting (especially as a mother), a studio is necessary.
Now that I have a room of my own -that is a spare room for whatever I want- I have decided to convert it into a studio/office. This room is small, but not too small. There is a large window facing north, allowing for the right amount of light ( if you have ever painted in a windowless studio or one where the window is facing south then you know what I am talking about). My desk is adjacent to the window where I currently write. My easel, which I have yet to purchase, will go in the corner, opposite my desk.
As I gather inspiration, and momentum, I find myself visualizing the corner of my studio where I will have my paints set up permanently beside my [future] easel. I also have been looking at other artist’s studios here, for further inspiration. It seems funny that almost six years after completing my art program, I finally have room to paint again.