I cannot explain to you the whys and wherefores of where my creative path takes me. Sometimes I wonder if I walked around dragging a crayon behind me like Harold, drawing where it is I’m going creatively; the line would look like either a zig-zag, or a criss-cross mess of lines much like the “can of worms” turnpike in Rochester, NY. Sometimes I feel very settled in what I’m creating (such as the 100 portraits) and I’m focused and single-minded in that trajectory. But then, something happens…like the end of the school year with its weekly routine of kids at school and work as an art teacher. Perhaps its a trip to the beach, or a gift of a ukulele, and then my trajectory goes hay wire and the line takes a different turn. The one thing I know is constant in my creative life is…CHANGE!
So lately, I find myself wanting to draw out of my head. I have done this a few times before, like here, here, and most recently here. But my usual MO is to observe and draw. I like having something in front of me to draw, whether it’s a person, a landscape, a corner of my room, or a photograph. But just before heading to the beach, I wanted to “just draw”…without having something in front of me… to just draw out of my mind’s eye. I always feel that these drawings end up looking a bit cartoony, but that’s what I’m enjoying about them: simple, a bit “illustraty” (is that a word?). What’s interesting in most of these cases, is that they are often drawings of me. I don’t typically draw myself from photos, indeed I don’t have a ton of reference photos for that. I have drawn my face from looking at a mirror once or twice before, but that is still “observation”. These drawings out of my head are an attempt to express a feeling, or an idea, and “reality” is less important.
Another thing that has been at work is an inspiration from the following illustration:
Just before we left for the beach, I picked up a copy of Skirt! magazine (love it for the graphics and such!) and the cover artwork captivated me. I promptly used it to cover my most recent sketchbook. I just love this artist’s work…click here to go to her website. I love the simplicity, the joie de vivre in each line and pattern. Her art reminds me of Ludwig Bemelmans’ wonderful illustrations in the Madeline books we read and re-read. So I headed off to the beach with a desire to make some drawings out of my head and this new little jaunt is still with me as our summer family schedule gets underway. I know I’ll continue with the 100 portraits, but for now, I’ll enjoy “just drawing”.
Sometimes I do worry that I’m “out of my head” literally! But I ‘spose there’s no harm in being a bit loony in one’s creative life rather than in real life. If one tends to live a fairly “straight and narrow” life, then it’s good to have a safe place to be quirky, spazzy, following twists and turns that real life may not allow or support. Hmmm…now there’s a thought.