I’ve been drawing and painting myself now for almost 8 full months, documenting a difficult time in my life.
There have been many days when I have rattled off a quick drawing at the end of a busy day – doing my duty but not fully in the game. Those drawings have some value, in that they are like diary entries, but I am always aware that they feel a little bit like cheats.
I prefer nights like tonight, when I had a bit more time and a bit more energy and I painted a self portrait that really captures how I feel at the end of a particularly difficult day.
And working on it was a real joy, despite my low mood. It’s the building of layers that I love and the problem solving that happens as you go … “if I add this pinkish-red what will happen? Should I tint this part with green? Have I got that line right? Should I slope the eyelid more to the left? What if I added blue here?”
When we’re thinking like that, we’re making art. At least that’s how I see it..
And the art-making process is magical for me. The currents of life can be dragging you down – the water is swirling and you feel yourself getting pulled further and further in – and then you wave this magic wand that is a pencil or paintbrush and suddenly, like Mary Poppins, you are lifted above it all.
It doesn’t work if you just dash off a quick scribble. It doesn’t work if you fake it. It doesn’t work if you don’t apply your whole mind and soul to creating.
But, if you do give it everything you have, you will be refreshed and reinvigorated. And – regardless of what anyone else thinks about your piece – you’ll know you created a true work of art.