Wednesday, August 13, 2008

In My Dreams I Could Paint

Aqua, Collage, 2002 (a bit "weatherworn"...but intact)

In my last post I mentioned I had photographed some of my earlier drawings. I have shown you my paintings before. I only fairly recently began to take an interest in art. In fact, it has only been since this MDE started that I even began truly exploring my artistic side.

I have always loved art and have always been "creative". I loved to make things...jewellery, decorating birdhouses, making designs on stepping stones out of stained glass...crafty kinds of things, but I had never really drawn or painted.

When I was young I had recurring dreams, both at night and during daydreams, in which I could paint. In the dreams I so clearly saw every detail in the objects I observed. I would take out my paintbrush, or pencil, or crayons and I could replicate the objects perfectly. When I woke this was never the case. I could see, but whenever I tried to draw or paint I was awful at it. This feeling was further enforced by my grade 4 art teacher who told me I did not have the skill to create art. I never wanted to try drawing or painting again. Why do something if you are not good at it?

Well in 2002 I became brave and tried something I was not good at. I took an "Introduction to Drawing" class at the local Art College. One of the first lessons was to draw my hand using no line, only tone. I did not even understand the concept, until I went home and drew and drew and drew for a few hours. Suddenly, using tone alone (shading on a scale of 0 (white) to 10 (black) and various gray tones in between) my hand appeared out of nowhere onto the page. I finally "got it". I created a picture of my hand without drawing a single line...I amazed myself. I was hooked.

Throughout that drawing class we were told to do patterning and pencil control exercises every evening. We were to draw two boxes on each piece of a pad of paper that was 4 inches by 2 inches.. The exercises were meant to help us understand how each pencil felt, moved and created light and dark shading (2b pencils being harder and creating lighter shades of gray and black, 4b softer creating darker shades and 6b pencils allowing darker shades yet). It was also an exercise to help us practice drawing patterns over and over, because in nature repetitive patterns are often the case.

So I drew and I drew and I drew. It was hypnotic. I discovered that while I was drawing the patterns, and focusing on the drawing, my relentless and often violent suicidal thoughts would disappear; my anxiety would dissipate and my rage would become less and less. The drawing slowed my mind enough so I could, for the time I was engaged in the activity, just "be".

The last day of the class we were told to bring in all the pattern drawings. We were then told to make a collage from all the patterns. I thought I would share mine today. As I was placing my patterns on the paper I was intentionally moving from darkness to lightness; a reflection of my shifting moods. When it was complete I really was amazed at what such simple, seemingly rote exercises could become and how it made me feel so much better while I was creating each tiny piece, but also the final collage.


Polar Bear said...

wow. I'm really glad that drawing gives you do much pleasure and that you are able to hold off dark moods when you are drawing/painting. i think the art teacher who told you you had no skill should be smacked upside the head.

You can certainly draw and you are very creative.

I took art lessons as a teenager when art became a subject in school. I like to draw/paint too, but I really don't have the talent for it.

I really like your collage.

The Silent Voices in my Mind said...

impressive - both the art and the emotions and passion behind it.

sara said...

So, so cool.

john said...

you sound great, I suffer from serious anxiety and depression, I have found a good relaxation music in that help me amoung many other things such as painting and regular exercises . medication don't go down to well with my system.