Earlier this year I mentioned that I was putting my carving tools away and focusing mainly on drawing. Well, not quite yet. I’ve had this one last 12×12 linoblock sitting on my shelf collecting dust, just waiting to be used. An enthusiastic collector expressed her disappointment in missing out on being able to get a previous Sun Mandala I had made for her collection. So since I had this one 12×12 linoblock lying around and I keep my templates for my carvings, I offered to carve up another one just for her. This is going to be my project for the next week or so. In the meantime here’s a little round up of drawings I’ve done so far for 2017 in case you’ve missed seeing my latest work.
As an artist sometimes I have these moments where people approach me as if there’s something mystical about my ability to draw or the fact that it’s my passion. These moments tend to happen with people who are not artists or have yet to discover anything that they are interested in enough to make a living from, which is the thing now, you know, “Find Your Passion”. Truth is drawing is one of the many things that I can do. It just so happened to be the thing I enjoyed doing the most to stick with it. Actually there are many other avenues I could have taken in life. I could have ran track or played soccer. I could have become a writer or a photographer. I could have become a psychologist, botanist or architect. Or I could have become a nun or buddhist priest. All of these things I did or had a strong interest in at one point in my life. I never knew with any amount of certainty that I would end up being an artist. I just knew that drawing was something I enjoyed doing. Matter of fact I had stopped for many years and it wasn’t until being laid off from my job and needing something to maintain my sanity that I started drawing again in 2010. So frankly, there’s nothing mystical about how this came to be. I could have very well have gone off to do something else in my life and nobody would have been none the wiser. Nobody would have been saying “It’s a shame Q. missed her calling.”
So in this climate of “find your passion” and “know your purpose”, I hate to see people get all stressed out over what they’re suppose to be doing in life. I have had friends lament about not knowing their purpose or not knowing what their talents are and it pains me to see their frustration, so here’s my two cents that I’m throwing in the pot.
The overall purpose to life is to live. That’s it. Now how you live is up to you but as long as you are living, you’ve got that covered. No individual has one specific preordained purpose to their life. It would be a tragic lot if we did. Imagine believing that you are destine to be a trapeze artist in the circus and you end up breaking your leg, unable to ever get back out on the trapeze. Now what? Will you just sit around and spend the rest of your life pining away over what could have been? Unfortunately some people do. I understand we often invest a great deal into a particular idea we have about our lives and can become pretty broken if something gets in the way of that. I know I would be deeply saddened if I couldn’t draw any more. But the human spirit and mind are very adaptable. We can learn new things and find new joys, we just have to allow ourselves to be open to the possibilities. It would be a miserable existence to be locked down from birth to one purpose in life when life itself is a never ending constant of change.
Talents are not magical powers given to some and not to others. They’re simply capabilities that we can either develop or leave undeveloped based upon your personal level of interest. Like I said before, the human spirit and mind are adaptable. You can learn anything that you are deeply devoted to learning. Finding your talent isn’t a matter of knowing like some kind of premonition, it’s a matter of doing. It’s in the process of learning and doing that you discover what you are passionate about, not before. So try things. Learn things. Do things and see what you enjoy. Once you discover what it is that you enjoy doing then see if you can find a way to make a living from it, if you are so inclined. But it’s not mandatory though. I know there’s a lot of talk going around that give the impression that doing something you love for a living is the best way to live. It is…if you’re willing to deal with the ups and downs. Having to pay your bills from your passion can be stressful at times and you also run the risk of actually losing your love for your passion when you have the added pressure of having to make a living. If you can find a way to manage the stress and pressure, then it’s well worth it. But if you have a comfortable job or source of income that takes care of your basic needs and you don’t really feel compelled to turn a “passion” or “talent” into the source of your livelihood, then don’t. Just because others do doesn’t mean you have to. Live your life in a way that best suits your physical and emotional well being. In the end, at least you’ll have an interesting hobby you can talk about at dinner parties. 😊
So I’ve been wanting to do something in blue. My first thought was grapes on a vine but then I thought “Aren’t those more purple than blue? From there my mind shifted to something more obvious…blueberries. Once again I thought “Would that fit into the overall theme of most of the work I do? I mean, yes, it’s botanical but how often do you see me draw fruit?” Most of my subject matter is either the female figure, the female figure with flowers or just flowers…with an insect here and there. Maybe I’ll add in other elements into the repertoire later on but for now I just wanted to do more flowers. So my choice for this piece is an ACEO drawing of Grape Hyacinth.
I typically use blue for shadowing or the background. So this will be a first for me using it as the prominent color of a subject. One of the reasons why I’ve never used it as a prominent color is because it either reminds me of sleep (my bedroom is painted blue) or it just depresses me. But for some odd reason I just wanted to do something in blue. Maybe this little drawing will change my perspective
“You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
If there is any work of art that is a glimpse into my soul, I would have to say it is The Slav Epic by Alphonse Mucha.
Although Mucha is more notably remembered for his poster illustrations of lovely women with flowery decor and fanciful graphic lettering, as well as being one of the well known artists of the Art Nouveau movement. For me, even though I greatly admire his illustrations, which are often a source of inspiration, it is The Slav Epic that has always captivated me the most. There’s something deeply emotive about the work. And the many years it took to for Mucha create such exquisitely impressive paintings, which he considered to be his life’s masterpiece, is something to be in awe about. I hope that one day I can create something as amazing from my own cultural history.
The Slav Epic is a series of 20 huge paintings depicting the history of the Czech and the Slavic people as a celebration of Slavic history. Unfortunately with the rise of fascism during the 1930s, Mucha work was denounced and he became a target during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. He died in the summer of 1939…but thankfully his beautiful works live on.