2016 has whizzed by. I have travelled shorter distances than usual but my mind was busy coping with loss and I had a need to stay close to home. There was no choice but to find new direction for myself from my position here in central Ontario.
A few years ago my sister gave me a book on watercolours along with paints and paper. They remained in pristine condition for a long time.
This year, I took the plunge into experimentation and began to include art in my travel journals. I must say my logs did start to look jazzier but I knew my skill level left much to be desired.
In June, I shared my journal with David Marshak (www.davidmarshak.ca), an artist in residence, on a cruise I took with Adventure Canada . I attended his and Rob Saley’s ( http://www.robsaley.com) sessions and managed to draw a mean wine glass and a hand held radio set. Well at least these items were recognizable! When out on the land, I took a stab at drawing in my journal and finished up once I was back in my cabin by adding a touch of watercolour. That’s progress!
David suggested I should watch some u-tube watercolour videos to improve my game.
The summer came and went. It was hot, hot, hot. I didn’t feel like doing much of anything but in the back of my mind was the revolving message that told me I should look at “upping my watercolour game”.
I did take to watching u-tube lessons before bed. My internet service needed to be upgraded to keep up with the downloads.
In September, the local art shop sponsored a six week course with Greg Maude (www.facebook.com/Gregory Maude Fine Art). Off I went every Wednesday afternoon. Each week I seemed to be hauling an ever increasing kit. Apparently there was more to this than water and paint!
I learned a lot in those six weeks. Perhaps the most important was that I had more going for me than I thought. My history of oil painting and photography had helped me to see differently and now I was using those learnings in a medium that required me to take a quarter turn and squint. It was similar and a lot could be transferred from one means of expression to another, but no, it wasn’t the same!
I jumped in and, with enthusiasm, turned my mind and brush to our assignments. My snow looked ok, my house and barn passable. Then I began to go off the rails.
“You expect too much too soon”, I told myself. I painted on into the night. More paper. More paint. Even more brushes.
Then I began to be more satisfied with my efforts. I practiced. And I practiced. “ Oh good, the shadows are coming along”, I said, probably out loud.
The class ended. My classmates dispersed to the corners of my county and beyond. I went to my kitchen counter and set up shop. Then I drove to town to draw and paint from the comfort and anonymity of my car.
I tried to draw people at Tim Horton’s . I went to a different Tim Horton’s.
I climbed the hill behind my house and painted the field and the barn and the century home. Some paintings made me feel I was actually progressing. Other efforts were just that, efforts.
Rome was not built in a day. Some smart person said that and I know it applies to many things. But I like results, good results. Sooner rather than later.
It’s verging on six months since I started to work on watercolour as a media for self-expression.
On Saturday, I reached a milestone.
I stacked my reference books and thanked Marc Taro Holmes (www.citizensketcher.com) for the inspiration and implicit encouragement found in his book “ The Urban Sketcher “ . Then I went to Staples where I purchased a new Epson scanner, printer, etc, etc. It seems it can do almost anything. The selection process was highly technical. The Workforce WF- 3640 was the only machine I could lift.
Several hours later, I was scanning. The process from unpacking through configuration included much grinding of teeth but the end result was good. I can scan and print but alas I cannot save things to my Mac Pro. Yes, you are right, I should be able to, but trust me, you don’t want to hear about my internet services. You don’t. You really don’t.
So here I am nearly six months into my adventure with pen, ink and watercolours and I’m feeling pretty good. Much has been accomplished and there is more to go. Learning is endless and I choose to look at life that way.
It is December now and it is getting colder in my car, so I am moving on to the creation of watercolours from images I have taken on my travels. I think I will start north and work my way to the other pole.
Come June 2017 tune in again. I will post an update. More drawing and watercolour instructions are scheduled for 2017 as I make my effort to document Canada 150.