A whole two months have (almost) went by since my last post.
Where have I been, and what have I been doing?
Well, I wish the answer was more exciting than "working and cleaning" but, sadly...that's what has been up in my world. Work and cleaning.
But, there have been significant benefits from both.
I've been able to apply some of my creative talents to projects at my preschool.
More importantly though, I've been cleaning up. And when I say cleaning up, I mean like back-breaking lifting and sorting through loads and loads of things! I finally have had the time to go through all of my shit, and let me tell you...I have TONS of shit. I could probably go for the next 10 years without having to ever buy a new sketchbook and/or drawing pencil.
Of course, being an artist is "code" word for being a hoarder. Only difference is, I occasionally reference some of the things (mostly magazine clippings) that I have kept. But, during this extreme purge due to an exodus of sorts (moving all of my things from my mom's house to my husband and my house) I've been confronted with a couple of truths.
1) I can paint and write pretty good (when I apply myself)
2) I have been using art (and writing) as cathartic tools, and not vehicles--and that's why I haven't really gone anywhere with them.
and maybe the biggest of truth of them all, which I have rephrase into a question: If I know how to do it, then...why am I not doing it?
The walk down memory lane is one of the longest journeys you make without ever having to take a step...
I sat on my old bed and re-read my old college essays, and I was glowing. I read praise after praise from my college professors. (sigh) Some of the hardest English profs wrote things like "why aren't you going for the double major? the English department needs people like you..." and, my favorite: "your portfolio (of poems) is by far one of--no, it's the best one i've read...." *blush*
Instead of trying to pursue anything, I opened up 500000000 blog accounts (this one being, hopefully the final one) and instead of writing something of purpose, I focused on writing about my feelings. ugh... my feelings which changed and changed and changed, but never changed me.
The hardest kick--(thankfully) which knocked some sense into my hard ass head, is when I found and opened up a recommendation letter written by one of my favorite art professors, Mr Fong.
Now, I realize that recommendation letters are supposed to boost the student up, and maybe all I was reading was a lot of fluff about myself, but, for some reason...I think he meant what he wrote. He spoke of my transformation from the first painting class( which I excelled at without taking the per-requisite "drawing from life" class) to my final class where developed my own technique of loosely painting while still adding thick "juicy" areas the nude figure...
After reading that, I started to really look through my stacks and stacks of paintings.
For the last 8 years (since graduating) I have used my talent in the arts (both painting and writing) as ways to express what was in my heart, which ya....you're supposed to do, but.... I forgot to add my eyes and mind to my bold expressions. Meaning, I forgot to incorporate technique.
I love my bird drawings. I love my fashion drawings. love love love those drawings to pieces... and yet, there is something to be desired from them. My mermaids, another one of my loves, has reminded me of a piece of candy verses a chocolate cake. The sweetness is there, but there is no substance. For a long time I struggled with the question of "well, what's missing?"
That recommendation letter talked about what was missing. The meat of the picture, the color, the depth...the technique which i mastered in college, the Winnie Patterson who was urged and practically forced to be in the BFA program, was missing. Yes, I have my own style in drawing, and yes, I can doodle, draw, and paint my soul until it's empty, but without my focused technique... without observing my subject, without using my eye-hand-coordination, I have left out the "umph" of the name which I sign at the bottom corner of everything I put out there.
I would always tell myself "don't make merchandise winnie, make art" or "quality over quantity (because I can finish like 5 paintings nightly if I'm hopped up on caffeine)... but, that's not it. It's not really about just focusing on quality, it's thinking about what the quantity amounts to: stacks and stacks of lack-luster paintings of things that are "cute" or "cool" verses really well-thought out, focused paintings.
And finally: I asked myself...."If I know how to paint, and I know how to write stories...then, why am I not doing it?
and so: I've decided... to paint again. Go back to looking at the slight color changes in highlights and shadows. open my eyes and look at a subject, open my mind and think about the words I use....
I have decided to own my art, and when I sign Winnie Patterson-Wakatsuki to a painting, it's not just because I finished a piece of work, it'll be because I made a piece of artwork.
So here's to a whole new set of paintings.
Wish me luck,