Mile 2: Finding My Inner ChildPosted: January 19, 2010
I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to paint over my pink trees. I always feel that my work looks better when I see it again in the morning, so accepting it and then immediately covering it up was definitely a test of detachment (one of the goals of the Creatively Fit Marathon). My Mom sent me this email (for those of you who know me, YES my Mom can send an email now! I’m so proud!) when she found out I was pursuing this:
I just reread Words I Wish I Wrote by Robert Fulghum, and the second page of the first chapter talks about something called Pentimento. This refers to old paint on canvas and how when it ages it becomes transparent and you can see images of past paintings. Lillian Hellman calls this Pentimento because the painter repented or changed his mind along the way. She says this is a way to say that an old conception, replaced by a later choice is a way of seeing something and then seeing it again.
I thought of this as I dipped my brush in the yellow paint that was bound to blot out my trees. This is really just a step in my canvas’s (and my own) coming of age, isn’t it?
This Mile was intended to bring us back to our roots. We all drew figures like this as children. In fact, there’s a framed chalkboard in my parents’ house that has some of my earliest “art” – my stick brother and I looked much like the guy in the painting! Whitney included a tidbit of information in the email about Picasso. He was a heavily trained artist, but he spent most of his life trying to “un-train” himself and find the innocence of childhood art- it’s raw, basic, and colorful. So, I put the paintbrush in my left hand (the non-dominant one!) and called to my inner child. As simple as this one is, it’s really growing on me already. I love the texture from the first painting that’s peeking through.
In a way, this reminds me of one of the very first projects I did in my very first drawing class in college. We were to look at the still life in the center of the room and draw it, but we were not to look at the paper until we were finished. We were learning how to really see and understand the shapes and shadows from wherever we were sitting in the room, and not to focus on the paper we were transferring them to or what we thought the objects should look like. Obviously the drawing didn’t turn out too well because I wasn’t allowed to look at it until near the end, but the exercise taught me one of the greatest techniques I have learned so far- how to look at things for what they are and not what I think they should look like.
Mile 2 felt similar to this college exercise because the goal was to get back to the root of things. Become a child. Understand basic shapes because complex things always have to start at the beginning- in art and in life. And it also reminded me that I am completely unable to draw perfect circles- especially with my left hand!
Enjoy my little man while he’s still around! In a few days he’ll be hiding under whatever Mile 3 brings!