The blank page. Just go with it…

I started working on this blog more than three months ago and have failed to get it online. So here it finally is. The first post on Labor Day Weekend.

I love three day weekends, mostly because there’s one extra day to sleep in (at least go back to sleep after Moses gets us up).

But Labor Day weekend is extra special. It’s the bookend to the summer season. It ushers in the fall, my favorite season, and it commences Saturday football game days. I’m not a teacher but still love the Back to School excitement that arises around this time of year. If you don’t get what I’m saying, then You’ve Got Mail will completely sell you on it, or maybe Tom Hanks.

The fall is like a new semester and start. I remember my Mom always took us to shop for a new, first day of school outfit. What’s new for me this year? I signed up for a class. Intro to Lithography at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley. I found my litho crayons in my tackle box, where they have idled for almost ten years now and then I gathered the rest of the supplies.

Please bring to class: Sketches

I worked on imagery earlier in the year, but didn’t have any sketches prepared or compositions in mind. I tried to work on one last minute and stayed up late Friday night drawing and ended up with something I was not excited about. In class I was really nervous. We had some time to kill while we grinded and prepped our litho stones, and I let the two other ladies go first to delay that inevitable moment.

Just go with it. That’s what I did. Once I put down some marks, it was easy and the movement fluid. It felt good to make marks, draw lines, and paint. The composition came together, without much fuss after one adjustment.

Why is mark making–writing, painting, drawing–so scary? I asked Sue, the recently retired woman in class, and she said, though you can change and erase the mark, you have to deal with it in the psyche, which can’t be altered back to a tabla rasa state. For me, it’s diminished self esteem and feelings of being a fraud or imposter, of being mediocre, fear of not belonging or being capable of making something serious, striking, or beautiful. An irrational fear. How do you conquer the blank page?

I love these takeways from How Georgia Became O’Keefe: Lessons on the Art of Living by Karen Karbo:

Paint a Picture a Day teaches you to–

a. Not take your work too seriously

b. Capture the energy that led you to paint this particular thing in the first place

c. Loosen up-no fussing around

d. Remember there are more where this one came from, there’s always tomorrow

e. Love the process; the enjoyment painting is, is more valuable than the painting itself.

It was a great day doing something I love and that I haven’t made much time for in the last ten years. The most difficult thing was putting the pencil down and knowing when to stop. Here’s my sketch from Friday night, and next Saturday I’ll post a picture of my litho stone before it’s printed.

Cloud Keepers
Cloud Keepers
Precarious Palms
Precarious Palms

What was the highlight of you labor day weekend?

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