Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tuesday-5am Cogitation on painting

Good Morning!
As long as I was still awake--thought I'd blog away--hehe!
I had been chatting with Ann about my watercolor plans--besides the trying the different brands in small palettes made from Sucrets and Altoids boxes--hehe! I have wanted to find a brand of watercolor brushes I really love. Planned to by up size 8 brushes in different brands and styles: synthetic, blends, and naturals. I have always been a small painter--so almost all my round brushes are small. Don't want to spend the money for any larger brushes until I know what I really like best, you know?
I have one really large brush--on the left (size 18). It was highly recommended by my watercolor teacher up here in Fargo when I went to her class a few years ago (5?). I watched her use it--got really brave (for me) and bought one at the local art store. It is made for an artist--Rose Edin. Don't know what kind it is--synthetic, blend, or natural--or who made it for her--but I do love it. Can do a wash and yet comes to a point when wet and has some strength and "bounce-back" or firmness to it. I am hoping to find something like it.
The other bigger brush I have (that is over a size six--hehe!) came in a set. Gold-N-Flow (the middle brush-size 10). Okay, but doesn't really come to a point--and we know how I love detail, right? Anyways, Ann sent me a Loew Cornell 7020 size 8 to try (on the right)!! Ann, you sweetheart! So lucky for me you are doing spring cleaning--haha! I now have my first size 8 brush for my future collection--hehe! And it looks like it comes to a pretty good point. Have to try it soon!
Tonight I actually did go and play with the water, oriental brushes, and magic paper--finally! Practicing brush strokes--and that paper works like a charm. Boy! I'd say I'm out of practice, but I was never in practice to begin with--hehe! Felt like I was starting from scratch again--been too long, I guess. Must rotate in painting of some kind more often, eh? Brushes are new enough to me.
I grew up with a "death grip" on my pencils and pens, as Leah says. (Leah knows from personal experience--hehe! We have the strangest things in common.) I have been used to control and doing very small work. Even painted the front of clothespins for making refrigerator magnets, for example. Have always prefered pens. Control! Control!
My experience with brushes is very limited, actually. One night class around fifteen years ago--with a teacher who convinced me I'd need a lifetime to ever learn how to paint with watercolors. But--brushes/painting always felt like something I needed to conquer--something I was supposed to learn one day. I collected supplies for about ten years after that disasterous class, but didn't really try to paint. Afraid to. Didn't know what to do the few times I did try and didn't like anything I did. The simple exercises I had learned from that negative teacher--turned out terribly. I don't like doing things I am not good at fairly quickly, to be honest. And to feel so totally inept, out of my league, and genuinely bad at something--was horrible. Why would I go back for more punishment? But GA (my naggy guardian angel) kept insisting it was something I had to learn. So, I just bought supplies....later...later...
Then a few years ago I spotted a class and felt I was supposed to go. I signed up for a set of three classes with this teacher at the Fargo Art Museum--expecting to be foolish and frustrated once again. But--she was wonderful--brave and free and fun! (Haiying has always reminded me of her--they have that same giving spirit and joy!) That was where I painted the white poinsettia and the leaves paintings. I was in college at the time, my health was in decline--so after the three classes, I wasn't able to paint. (I did do my one Bob Ross painting, tho--in one sitting--around that same time I was taking the watercolor class.) Painting--was something I would do one day, you know? Yes, GA--I'll learn to paint...later...later....
It wasn't until I couldn't finish school, ended up on disability, and my life changed so drastically that "later" suddenly arrived. I have been trying to learn by reading books, taping art shows off PBS, studying art catalogs, searching online, and watching the four videos/DVDs I purchased. I started painting wildflowers (always have been close to my heart). I did a Gary Spetz watercolor DVD (saw him on PBS) with Jennifer and her mom one summer. Was floundering along--feeling something was missing and I wasn't quite getting something....
Came across this Chinese Brush Painting group online--thru the EDM group (sketching and drawing--also new for me) because of Donn's post about the CBP group. (Thank you, Donn!!) Don't know why I even clicked on the link? If watercolors were overwhelming, why would I ever be interested in something that was harder and more precise? I knew little about it and would have sworn it was something I never would even attempt! No way! Death grip me!?
But I lurked. Was led to Haiying's YouTube videos. I was watching her paint--felt her casual delight and joy in the process--and I knew I was supposed to try this new challenge with the brush. Was like--Okay, GA. :)
The Chinese brush painting is freeing up something deep inside of me. I think it is helping me to be looser with my watercolors, also. Every art teacher I have ever had has told me I needed to "loosen up"--but I couldn't--I just couldn't--I didn't know how. Like I was behind a wall. Who would have ever suspected that Chinese brush painting was the key--the path to my looser side--hehe!
Somehow that path is to my heart. I had been painting with my head and my hands, you know? Trying to learn it in my head. I don't know how to explain it--but the brush painting somehow touches my heart. My soul. Maybe for the very reason that you are forced to let go. You cannot fuss or repair or have do-overs. I am forced completely and totally out of my comfort zone. I land someplace else--uncomfortably--hehe! So--why should I find this enjoyable? I don't know. It is terrifying at the same time--hehe!
It is slowly opening something inside of me. Probably why I come to it and then I back away again. But I have to go back, don't I? Don't I, GA? :)
And what does Miss Karma do while I am painting and thinking and typing in the middle of the night?
Life is good!


  1. I too have the 'death grip' problem. When I was in lower grades where I didn't type so much I'd get hand cramps and I had a huge callous on my index and middle fingers where I held my pencils!

  2. Hehehe! I can totally relate! Since I cannot (obviously!) give up hand writing, I will have callouses till the day I die! they are smaller than they were. What broke me of the intense death grip? Fountain pens and dip pens!! You cannot press so hard with them--hehe!


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