Permissions in Art

It’s spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!

~ Mark Twain

It’s not that we must ask “permission” of anyone to be creative.  That’s not what this is about.  But as artists or creatives of any type, we have those encounters that offer wisdom, that offer tips, or that offer inspirations, that seem to give us permission to try something new.

My Creative Journey

My creative journey started when I was a kid.  I wrote in my first journals as a grade-schooler.  Somewhere around fifth grade, I wrote my first poem for a contest and received an award.  I was hooked.

I continued writing throughout my young adult life.  I wrote creative poetry and short stories with a journalistic-type style.  I practiced writing, and I approached writing as a discipline.  I wrote book reviews for a small newspaper in Dallas, TX.  Along the way, I started exploring the visual arts as a way to enhance my creative writing.

During my mid-twenties, I formed a terrific friendship and partnership with some other artists, and we ultimately opened a community art studio and gallery in Dallas.  At the time, I knew very little about running a business…all I knew was that I wanted to be around all of the different artists and magic happening in that art community.

My First Important Permission

One of the first and most important “permissions” was from a fellow artist with tons of experience in painting (and every other art under the sun).  I had painted my first large canvas, an abstract called “Birthday Cake” for a friend of mine.  My artist friend looked at the painting for a long time, and finally said, “It looks like you just used the paint right out of the tube, no shading or mixing of color.”  That is exactly what I had done, and I was pretty confused.  I didn’t understand what the problem was.

He explained to me that my black background had no texture or movement or interest.  And the colors on top of that in the foreground were, well, boring.  The whole thing was flat.  My aim was to show movement and swooshiness.  I had failed miserably because the piece did not have movement, it was actually quite the opposite.  He showed me a quick way to add some interest to the texture by using the cellophane off of his cigarette pack, crumbling the paper and getting some paint on it and dotting it around on the background.  It immediately added some interest and texture and movement.

So I went back to the ole drawing board to keep painting.

Permission to Play with Color

Another painter that had rented the studio next door to mine was hanging out with me late one evening.  I was bemoaning the fact that I couldn’t find the right color of red.  I tried to explain in words what I red I was wanting, and she suggested that I add a little bit of one tube of red and a bit of another tube of red.  I felt the proverbial light bulb click on over my head.  Mix two different shades of red??  I hadn’t thought of that, and the whole world of color opened for me.

I have been creative for many, many years.  Somewhere along the way, I stopped thinking I was so creative.  Trials and tribulations in life seemed to stifle my creative self.  I got the fear, I buried that spirit deep down inside.  I got caught up in career and building and just simply thought that the dream of Art was lost.  I decided I was more of an entrepreneurial spirit rather than an artistic spirit.  I didn’t realize that even while I was building businesses that I was expressing my creative self.

Permission to be an Artist

And then my wonderful and loving hubby gave me another permission.  He gave me permission to create.  He gently urged me to start arting once again.  He started acting as a muse; through his sweet and loving words of support and encouragement, he helped me get back out the art supplies and start once again.  He never forgot that I was an artist.  He reminded me that it was all about playing and expressing myself and to heck with what anyone else thought.  The art wasn’t about pleasing anyone other than me.

Permission to Draw

My most recent “permission” has come from an unexpected source.  I am taking an online class originating with Christy Tomlinson.  If you haven’t visited her site, do so, she is super awesome and has lots of great technique videos and a really neat store.  I have taken other classes of hers, and they are really fun, and she always has lots of cool techniques. She is also a great example of an artist success story.

Her newest class is with a guest teacher, Junelle Hallstrom Jacobson.  The class is Art of Wild Abandonment.  I don’t know exactly what I expected in the class, I only knew that I liked the other two workshops that I had taken with Christy.  I had seen a couple of photos of Junelle’s work and I really wanted to see how she was doing things.  That’s about the whole of it.  What I didn’t expect was a bunch of videos during the first week totally focused on sketching.  Eww, sketching.

I have not been much of a sketcher.  I am one of those lazy gals that just complains that I can’t draw very well and then I don’t practice to get better.  I just let it be in my mind that you can either draw or you can’t.  I forgot that it’s possible to get better at something, just about anything, with practice.  You know, I say that all of the time to my kidlets, I just ignored my own advice!

Through the first week of class videos, we have been working on sketching as a practice.  It is so like the discipline practice when you’re writing.  You just do it.  You just sketch faster than your inner editor can think or speak to you.

I now have pages and pages of sketches and ideas and drawings.  And ya know what?  I can draw stuff that looks like something!  I am not the world’s worst drawer (is that a word??), I am not one of those people who “can’t draw”.  I am able to draw the thoughts that are in my head, I am able to sketch and practice and get better!  Once again, a whole new world is opening up to me.

This page is the result of a really cute prompt on sketching spring and clothes lines…

Blessings and Gratitude

Thanks Junelle, through your sweet encouragement and gentle pushing, I have found another piece of my soul finding the door to freedom.

Acrylic paint, Neocolors, papers, gel pen, Pilot UniBall Pen

6 thoughts on “Permissions in Art

  1. thanks for sharing all of that. that is great insight. i’m enjoying the class and learning to believe in myself as a sketcher and “draw-er” too. LOL

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