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When You Know It’s Time

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More important than knowing what subject to paint or draw is to know why you want to paint or draw it. Intention fuels every outstanding piece of Art work.  History is the proof of that.

Intention is the flame under the soup pot.  It’s the fire that makes all the ingredients come together perfectly–without it you’ll still have soup, but it’s the heat that makes the real magic of flavor blend and come together.  Same goes for Art.  You can go through all the motions of creating a piece that pleases aesthetically–but if you don’t have some deeper intention behind creating it–the work will lack luster.

I’ve hit a point in my Artist journey where I realize it’s time for a major change.  I took a good look at myself lately and realize that my Artist soul has lost luster itself.  I’ve gone far enough down one path, that no longer I can see where I came from or even where I’m going.  I no longer feel passionate, excited, or even curious about the Art that I create, and this fact has been tearing my spirit to shreds.

10 minute study in charcoal.

So I did something about it. I stopped wallowing in this self anguish–stopped looking for things to blame–and I did something.  I stopped going in a certain direction and asked myself what does excite me–what am I curious and interested about.  And all that kept coming to me over and over again is the anatomy lessons I’ve been swimming deeply in due to my Yoga Teacher Training.

I’ve become obsessed with anatomy.  Hansel and I were out having sushi one night and our waitress was so unbelievably skinny you could see her bones through her skin.  All I could think is I wanted to draw her and I knew right then what I needed to do.  I needed to go back to the one thing that fueled my creativity for such a long time.  The one thing I walked away from–to get to the point I am right now.  The one thing I always loved to do more than anything when it comes to my creativity….and that’s study the human figure.

So immediately that night I was on the internet hunting to find figure drawing classes, sessions, meet-ups–anything where I could go and have time to stand in front of an easel and draw the figure again like I did way back in Art School.

I found a place that every Wednesday and Friday Artists meet to share a model.  Not a class–just a time to draw, sketch, do studies and mingle with one another.

20 minute study in charcoal.

I went. And it felt like I was home again.  The smell of the studio, the site of that little platform in the front of the room draped in white sheets and lighting all around it.  The easels and drawing horses.  The Artists with their boxes full of charcoal and pastels.  The gesture drawings-1 minute, 2, 3 , 5, 10.  The sound of conte crayon scribbling madly across newsprint.  80’s music in the background.  My hand following the command of my eyes.  My eyes devouring the anatomy–as my heart was tickled by knowing all the names of each muscle and bone the young woman model used to stretch and move her limbs.  And I realized that I’m rustier than ever.

But I found my intention behind my work again.  I found my reason to honor the blessings of my creativity–and that’s to study the human being more deeply than the flat figures I’ve been painting lately. To step away from the generic features, the flat depictions–and really look at the nuances of the body and even more deeply at the souls I encounter.

I want my work to speak about the human condition and of the mystery of awareness.  But it took my own awareness to realize that I needed to let go of somethings–and begin to move in a new direction.  And even though I know I have a long road ahead–I’m excited for the new journey that’s begun!

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