Friday, May 16, 2014

I don't care about your living room

Ok, so…  where were we?  Oh yeah, Instagram changed my life and now I know I want nothing to do with decorating your living room.  

Well that's a bit of a lie.  You know that if you asked me for help decorating your living room I'd totally start pinning things for you, like, yesterday.  I still dig that stuff.  Shoot, I dig anything design-related that lets me flex my creative muscles.  Always have; always will.  But here's the thing--it's taken me almost a year, but what I now know is that *I* want to be in charge of what I'm putting out there.  *I* see things in a very specific way and I don't want to compromise that vision to suit someone else's tastes.  And I think I've found a much better way to do that.  

I got swept up in the whole renovation/home decor thing because it's what I was doing at the time, out of necessity.  It was something that had to be done as I went through the phases of new homeownership, new parenthood, and moving.  There were first houses to decorate.  There were nurseries to plan and "big boy" rooms to create.  There were homes with previous owners whose tastes differed wildly from my own, and financial stresses that necessitated magic to be made on the tightest of budgets.  And I really did love it, because I was good at it and it was my only creative outlet for a long, long while.  

But then I found Instagram last summer and everything changed.  Who knew there was this whole creative community out there, snapping away with their iPhones, communicating their own unique creative visions through a simple social media site?  It was a revelation.  As I said almost a year ago, Instagram became my own virtual sketchbook; and over time, my growing feed became a true catalogue of my creative point of view.  I was giddy.  I know that's cheeseball to say, but it's the honest to God truth.  It was like a part of me--a very integral part of me--was reawakened after decades of deep, deep sleep.  And I was inspired to do more.

So I enrolled in classes.  Specifically, I signed up for watercolor classes… almost entirely because watercolor scares the crap out of me.  I'm a control freak.  In my much younger days, I worked in pencil (colored and graphite) because it allowed me total control over my medium.  To me, watercolor seemed so unpredictable.  Uncontrollable.  But Instagram had given me such creative confidence that now all I wanted to do was CONQUER it.  I wanted to take on the thing that scared me most and make it MINE.  

And I kinda think I did.  :)  It's been three quarters of a year since I started my relationship with watercolor, and I am totally smitten.  I love everything about it.  I love its quirky unpredictability, and how full of pride I feel when I still manage produce outcomes that meet, or even exceed, my own expectations.  I love the twinge of anxiety I feel every time I put down a color--especially staining ones--knowing that I've often only got one shot to get it right.  I love getting out a fresh sheet of that seemingly million dollar 140 pound cold pressed paper and feeling like, "This paper cost so much money.  I CANNOT screw this up."  Nothing like a little pressure.

It's weird.  Watercolor still terrifies me, but in the most delicious way.  I even find myself picking subjects based on degree of difficulty; if it's something I don't think I can paint- or I don't know how to make work with watercolor, then that's the one I want to try next.  It's an overachieving, perfectionist, control-freak's dream, providing just enough of a challenge to make the whole process a tension-filled whirlwind of creative excitement.  I start painting as soon as the kids leave for school, and the next thing I know I look at my watch and it's 1:30.  I have to eat lunch and pick up the young one in 30 minutes.  Hours have gone by, but to me, no time has passed.  It's FLOW, baby.  I'm in the flow.  My anxieties about everyday bullshit simply fade away and I'm transported to a place where nothing else matters but light and shadow and color… and it is SO. GOOD.  

So that's where I'm at right now.  What a difference a year makes, eh? 

And now I've got to run.  Gotta go make the donuts ;)


Current work in progress.  11x14" on Arches 140 lb cold pressed paper

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