It is World Watercolor Month apparently and daily prompts are provided for those who wish to use them through Doodlebug. I didn’t do any for the first four days but decided that maybe I might try doing one in my watercolour sketchbook today. The prompt for July 5th is “Shades of Blue” and I was at an interesting lotus event earlier this week that involved tasting lotus tea and trying a hand at painting a lotus using Sumi-e methods. I liked the tea but didn’t care for the method. I much prefer more western forms of painting. To be fair, I may not have given it a big chance but then, I figure that I’m still very new at watercolouring and that should be where I put my focus for now.
So when I saw the prompt this morning, I thought to myself that I might want to search for images of blue lotuses and I found a fairly simple one, which I used for this sketch. My sketch is not perfect but I like it. Egyptians associate this flower with the sun, creation, and rebirth, whereas Buddhism associates them with victory over the spirit. I like the Egyptian’s view a bit more I think. And today is certainly a bright sunny day, a day for creativity. Later, I am off to a drawing class with my husband. We will have dinner first and then we will go make art and be creative.
It’s not my first class, nor is it my first class with this teacher, and I am looking forward to having dedicated time to improve my drawing and pastel skills. These, I hope, will then help me improve my painting skills. Hubby wants to improve his ability to draw. He makes jewelry and would like to be better at sketching his designs, even sketching designs for incorporating into his pieces. I think we will have lots of fun learning together.
Playing mainly with shades of blue was an interesting exercise. I didn’t spend a lot of time on this sketch, only about an hour or two. But I was drawn to it because there are a lot of shades of blue in my watercolour palette and this gave me an opportunity to use many of them. There are cool blues and warm ones. I have favourite ones, such as Prussian blue, Cerulean, Cobalt, Ultramarine, and Indigo. But for this exercise, even Veridian green seemed to fit in as did the Blue Violet. This was fun to do and I may try it again on better paper and not in a sketchbook.
So what draws you to art? Is there a particular style or period that you like best? Do you have favourite artists? I remember a few years ago going to the mall with my then teenaged niece and walking into an art gallery. She was very patient and we looked at the paintings on offer. I could tell this wasn’t her idea of fun but she was indulging me as I had done in various jean shops. There were some wonderfully creative Canadian art on the walls for sale that day. I asked her what she liked.
She kind of smirked and said that she couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to put paintings or pictures on their walls. The most she would do, she said, is put up pictures of people that she knew. And she really couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to pay “that kind of money” for a painting. If she were to spend that much money, she’d hire a good photographer to capture some family photos. I felt sad but unsurprised. Then she said, she didn’t know anyone who had things like that on their walls. And in surprise, I said “no? … have you looked at the walls at my house?” She admitted that she hadn’t really paid attention to what was on my walls. There aren’t many photographs of people on my walls. Back then, we had prints, a genuine oil painting from a local artist, and some of our own nature photography in frames on the walls.
These days, we have more paintings and photographs, and even fewer photos of people that we know. I suspect that her tastes have changed too, now that she is older, but it struck me as interesting, this lack of awareness and lack of interest in art. I suppose that a love of art comes through exposure to it, preferably at a young age. My parents always had reproductions of famous paintings on their walls. The framed photos too were on the wall and on the shelves but my mother loved her paintings. A few of them were print reproductions of famous Renoir paintings and those were some of my favourites too. There was also a Gainsborough, The Boy Blue, and a few others.
As I personally start delving more and more into my artistic side, I am learning that the creative arts were popular in my mother’s family. Most if not all of my aunts and uncles have used pastels, oils, or acrylics, and even watercolours, apparently. It was fascinating to learn that and explained why I have always been so drawn to art and all things creative. I have older cousins too, who are very creative and make beautiful paintings. I remember admiring them when I was a child. A few even had the opportunity to attend art school.
So today, I am in a creative mood. I enjoyed my short time with the watercolour sketch and I am looking forward to doing more later this evening, even knowing that we will have a still life designed to teach a lot about perspective and shadows but which is rather boring. It’s okay. It’s all part of learning and improving. I will endeavour to embrace the Styrofoam block, ball, and cone. For next week, we move to a more interesting still life arrangement. Though, I probably won’t use conte or charcoal as I have never really liked them but I will bring my soft pastels instead.
I hope that you will find a way to express your own creativity today and share it with others. It is Thursday, so admittance to the National Art Gallery in Ottawa is free tonight. It would be a great time to go see what is on offering there.
Enjoy the day, look for the simple beauty around you, capture it. Use your phone, sketch it on a piece of paper, write a haiku about it, or just sit and enjoy it. Beauty really is all around us; we are just too often in such a rush that we miss it.