Light in the Waiting Room

WaitingRoomLamp

I sat in the waiting room for the final appointment with my surgeon last week. The lamp on the table beside me was on even though it was daytime and fairly bright in the fluorescent hospital lighting. It struck me as odd, to have a lamp in a waiting room that was already lit with overhead lights. I marveled at the shape of the lamp, the light it was barely exuding, and the surroundings…a few tattered magazines, an art print on the wall…nothing special.

But it occurred to me that this moment, all these waiting room moments, COULD be special, if I just had an eye for it. From the first time I waited in this particular room back in April of 2014, so much has happened. I am different, physically and otherwise. Life is different. My outlook on life is different. This would be the last time (hopefully) that I would ever need to sit here. Sock knitting in my lap.

Special? Maybe not. But that lamp has stayed with me. I keep thinking:

There’s always a light in the waiting rooms of life.

Waiting rooms are everywhere. At soccer practice. In grocery store lines. In traffic. At intersections. We wait for vacations to come, for the weekend to arrive, for our ship to come in, for a big break, or just for life to make sense. And while we wait, life happens.

I want to be a waiting room artist. Ha! That sounds pathetic doesn’t it? I don’t mean that I want my artwork on the walls of waiting rooms across the medical community, although that wouldn’t be bad at all! What I mean by being a waiting room artist is someone who seizes the waiting room moments of life and looks for beauty, sees the light there, and creates in and throughout the waiting room days. Yep. That’s what I want to be. In fact, I think I already am, I just haven’t named it as such. Perhaps in naming this as my desire and goal, I will have less impatience in the waiting room moments. Perhaps I will stop pacing for the BIG moments and just reach for the special stuff already there in the waiting room.

This is a high calling I believe. It is the pinnacle of artful living. Being the kind of artist who takes his/her creativity into every moment of their day no matter the mundane activity at hand. Waiting can be FULL of LIGHT!

I just need to look for the lamp. Draw it. Collage it. And knit by it.

Kollage Kick

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I’ve been on a kollage kick lately! I love getting out of my usual drawing mode for excursions in collage. Here’s a process you might like to try sometime:

1. Swipe some watercolor or acrylic around on a blank page in your sketchbook.

2. While that’s drying, choose papers in colors that echo the colors you used to paint with. I enjoy using papers I have leftover from other collage times, leaving edges the way they were cut, or shapes that are already cut a certain way. I save everything from small bits to long skinny pieces, knowing they will come in handy for future collage fun.

3. Assemble an image or just a random abstract composition of shapes as I did here.

ArtasJazzLowRes

****If you want to add words, consider how they might be arranged on the page before gluing the picture pieces down. If you’re just wanting an image, then glue all elements onto the page. I just use Elmer’s glue.

4. This time I tried something that turned out really fun: I took a page from an article about jazz music. I just cut out random words I liked. Then I assembled them into a phrase I liked, adding in other letters from magazines to complete the sentence. This was much like the magnetic words we have on our fridge. We get to assemble them into any kind of poem, prose, joke or riddle we want to. Here’s the phrase I ended up with:

“The music itself is a response…an evolution of what jazzes us!”

This certainly was a page that evolved with all kinds of things that “jazz” me: color, papers, textures, words. It’s a true axiom for visual art as well as for music. We respond on paper, canvas, or instrument, allowing what we love to evolve.

May your day be filled with creative responses to what you love!

Play!

WhenIKnit2

I’m not very good at this. At least when you consider the inspiration from which I was drawing. As the whims of my creative fancy cycle through their seasons, I often find myself drooling over the work of mixed media artists out there. There are so many, but recently I came across Roben-Marie Smith’s colorful blog and artwork and I was enraptured. Well. Sort of. You see, I LOVE the color, the textures, the layering, the whimsy of it all. But when it comes down to all the papers, paints, pens, glue, scissors, brushes, and-did-i-say PAPERS, strewn everywhere and needing to be stored, I get bogged down. I tend to dabble my creative toes into the mixed media realm for very short periods at a time. It shakes things up a bit, provides new ways to think about things, and offers a no-pressure way to be a kid.

I should say, that though I am no Roben-Marie, this is one of my favorite pages of late! The above pic just doesn’t quite get the color right and doesn’t seem too clear. But I hope you can get the gist of it. Perhaps what is enchanting me about the page is not merely the fun magazine cut-out letters, or the layers of torn papers and paint, or the stenciled lace, or the lovely card glued in, or the few drawn lines of yarn and Genevieve sitting and knitting with her cat Lucy near by. It is the story behind the whole page itself, how it came about, and what it represents to me. Here goes:

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About a week ago, I started to knit the Magic Cake Ruffle Shawl. Oh my. Just making the Cakes of leftover sock yarn on my new Yarn Ball Winder was almost enough. The cute-as-a-button shape of multi-colors sitting there on my desk was almost too much for me to begin knitting with. I know that sounds silly, but I do become quite silly over things like that. Dear me…. Oh. But I digress.

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I am enjoying knitting this shawl as much as I enjoy looking at the Magic Cakes! To see each section of leftover yarn knitted into the shawl is like a page-turning novel where you can’t wait to get to the next chapter! But I started knitting this during some rather dreary days here in North Carolina. Rain upon rain, cloudy skies, dreary darkness seemed to hover over our area for days on end. I do not like days-on-end of dreary weather. Snow would be delightful. But rain and mid-thirty degree weather is just intolerable…it seeps into my head and heart. I plunked down into a chair to knit through the dreariness and an amazing thing happened!

SunOutasIKnit

The sun came out as I knitted! I sat there not realizing at first that the room had grown lighter. And then these stripes fell across my lap and knitting! Sunshine streaming in through the studio/sunroom windows! Glorious, delicious sunshine! It felt as if my clicking needles were batons directing a symphony! The glorious notes of sunshine being called out one by one, chasing away the dreary that had nearly taken up residence in my heart.

I Instagrammed the above pic with the words, “When I knit, the Sun comes out!” And I kept thinking about that phrase for days. It’s very true for me. But the page holds even more meaning. In the small stack of saved papers I have on my drawing table, was a card given to me by a sweet friend years ago. We met at the yarn shop where I was teaching. She wanted private lessons to learn to crochet and thus began a lovely friendship I remember with such fondness. Not only did we share a love for knitting and crochet, but we also LOVED all things French.

WhenIKnitCard

In fact, she and her husband regularly travelled to France and had at one time lived there for a year or so. She and I relished trying to carry on a lunch-length conversation. I was forever digressing into a mish-moshed franglais! :/ I love this card as it reminds me of her! Her writing in French inside the card makes it the perfect addition to this page.

LeftoverPaint

When I had finished the page, I had a fair amount of acrylic paint leftover. (What is it with leftovers these days?) So I turned the page and swooshed the remaining colors around on another page to serve as the background for something else. Or just to stand on its own. I don’t know. I do love it like it is.

If you have the day off today, perhaps you can browse around Roben-Marie Smith’s website. She has wonderful video tutorials and other inspiring posts. This one here includes links to other mixed media artists you might like to visit. And pull out some “leftover” papers, some glue and scissors and paint. It’s a recipe for fun, I can guarantee!

**Wanna know the stuff I used? Acrylic paints, stiff “oil” brush, any ole scissors, Elmer’s glue, papers saved from old cards and their envelopes, paper plate for palette, Bic pen, pencil to use the eraser end for adding yellow dots to the page (works great!). Oh! And a magazine! (I used an old knitting magazine:) You don’t have to have anything fancy to have an evening of creative fun!

Random Acts of Paper: Part 4 (Final)

This last card made me think of “Winken and Blinken and Nod sailing off in a wooden shoe…sailed on a river of crystal light, into a sea of dew.” It’s one of my favorite songs!

Not much going on with the back side of the card. I was “done”. You know, the itch had been scratched. And I put away the bits of papers for another day.

Little forays into creating with different mediums is so much fun. But it isn’t long before I’m longing for the simplicity of a pen and watercolor.

Random Acts of Paper: Part 3

Trees! I have a fascination with Trees! When I finished making this one, I kept thinking “Chicka Chicka Boom! Boom!” which is from a favorite children’s book by that name and features the alphabet climbing a tree.

I really should have photographed this upside down so you could see the little tree on the back of the card. I liked it. This one is titled, “A Wishing Tree”.

Chicka Chicka Boom! Boom!

Random Acts of Paper: Part 2

This is the second collaged card I made. It was cool to take a background paper and look at my pile of scraps to see what would work with the card stock. It almost seemed like the little scraps would whisper…yes, me! and me! oh no…i just won’t do with that blue! etc.

Not as much going on with the back of this card. But I titled it “Waterlily Nite”. Children’s books and songs were floating in and out of my head with each one.

Random Acts of Paper: Part 1

Until I have a chance to create a post about our awesome Walk Day, I’ll share this with you. I had another creative itch to scratch last week…except this time it was paper collage! I decided to make cards. I liked using the little bits of throwaway papers I have and seeing what I could come up with.

This was the first of four I made. I felt I had to title them. This one is “Breezy Fall”.  These are not the best photos. The colors in the top one are truer to the actual collaged card.

Responding to Rutenberg

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I’ve recently discovered an artist whose work and words I’m eating up these days.  To say that his paintings are delicious would be correct…the color, movement, and draw-you-in composings on canvas are breathtaking.  His words are equally inspiring.

Brian Rutenberg lives and works in New York City.  His work is about as far on the other end of my own artistic offerings as one might be.  He has an art degree while I have a French degree. He was a Fulbright Scholar and has made his living from his art whereas I have raised kids and worked small odd part-time jobs while my art-making has been stashed in-between every-which-way.  He works in oils on HUGE canvases and currently I work in a sketchbook. He works in abstraction, with his drawings in charcoal being representational; I draw representationally with forays into abstraction.

We do have a few things in common though: born in the same year, southern upbringing, family people (he is married with two children; my husband and I are raising three). But the largest common denominator is a love for articulating all-things-art.  And this is what I want to share with you…my reactions and responses to a few of the ideas and thoughts he presents in his marvelous Documentaries.

There are 18 of these 10-minute videos of Brian speaking to us about his work.  I’ve watched them all, eagerly absorbing and mulling over the concepts he espouses and describes so eloquently.  You really must watch these.  I suggest watching only one or two and then spend a few days thinking about them and letting the ideas seep into your way of creating.

ID #105

I have also been making more of these Improvisational Drawings (as I’m calling them:).  I’ve started numbering them with ID (stands for Improvisational Drawing) and then a number.  I’ve also taken to writing about each of them on the back, or on a sheet of paper placed in an envelope I glue on the back.  I enjoy creating the words that speak to how the drawing evolved, any thoughts as to why, and specifics about approach, or underlying ideas.  The drawings themselves are in no way an attempt to replicate Rutenberg.  The thing I’m going for is to consider the elements surrounding the drawings, the making of them, the impetus behind them…like Rutenberg, as he so wonderfully communicates in his Documentaries.

My next post will be responding to one aspect of one of his talks. In the meantime, see if you can watch a few of his documentaries.  It will be time well spent!

Drawing Your Life: Mini Lesson #6

All the Drawing Your Life Mini Lessons have now been typed up, expanded, revised, updated and published into an ebook & video course for you!

Purchase this in my ETSY shop HERE.

Discover Your Life Beautiful…One Drawing At A Time!

Sincerely,

Jennifer Edwards

Drawing Your Life: Mini Lesson #1

All the Drawing Your Life Mini Lessons have now been typed up, expanded, revised, updated and published into an ebook & video course for you!

Purchase this in my ETSY shop HERE.

Discover Your Life Beautiful…One Drawing At A Time!

Sincerely,

Jennifer Edwards