Friday, May 29, 2009

Getting Back to My First Loves...

Whale Watching • Wood Block Print on Paper

I had a great birthday recently (I'm 33! Gotta love the double numbers.) and the love just seemed to keep on coming. The birthday kicked off with my parents coming up to visit, spending an entire day at two art festivals and finishing off with some dinner and pie at the Grand Traverse Pie Company.

THEN I got a free meal from this wonderful establishment. This place is great as it gives you a free meal for your birthday, a free meal for mother's day and a free meal for the date of your signing up for their club program. All that happens in May for me! So we have been walking up to town to eat here a lot lately. I'm getting spoiled!

I celebrated with cake at the in-law's last weekend and I'm still waiting for birthday goodies to come in the mail. Could it get any better? I feel really spoiled - thanks, family!

So, I've been thinking a lot lately about my crazed sewing and knitting fervor to get projects done. I'm sure most of you crafters out there completely understand the need to accumulate projects and stash, but not having enough time to work on them all (why can't we just have someone come in to cook and clean so we can get on with it already?).

I started getting into knitting and sewing as a means of continuing to feed my creative spirit and also have semi-portable projects that I can start and stop with ease. This is of course, due to the fact that I have small children that need my attention. If I'm knitting, I can pick it up, do a few rows and put it down again to kiss a boo boo or play a game. If I'm sewing, I can whip out my machine (tucked away in my study), cut the fabric on my kitchen table and either sew up something quick in an hour or so, or keep working on something and tuck it away in my handy plastic bins.

My original love was for fine art. In college, I majored in art and I took everything from photography (not digital kiddos, I had black and white film in a Pentax K1000) and developing my film in the completely black closet, to printmaking (I LOVE printmaking), to wheel throwing (another love), painting and drawing. I also took sculpture, bookmaking (printing books on a circa WWII printing press), large-scale mural painting and as many other wacky classes that my advisor would allow with my current class load. I have to admit I took twice as many studio classes as allowed for regular art students. For some reason, they let me.

However, after I had children, I had to pack up the oils, even the watercolors, the carving tools, the wire, the pliers and clay. It's not like I can work on a clay tile and then leave it on the table while I attend to a diaper, a bruised toe, a bruised ego, a cup that needs refilled and a snack bowl that needs more snack. The tile would be very dry. (Although, come to think of it, that would make an interesting study: "Tile works and toddlers: The effect of toddlers on the artist's work." Hm.

Anyway, after this birthday came and went, I did a lot of thinking about my lost fine arts and my first loves (not to say that I don't love the sewing and knitting - I DO). I do plan on joining the local potter's guild some day for classes and hopefully one day becoming a full-fledged member. (Internal squealing!) I also intend to pick up the carving tools again and trying my hand at printmaking.

In the meantime, I can do something that is portable, challenging and gets me back to the basics:

When I was first thinking about this personal challenge, I was worried about actually doing one whole sketch a day. I am going to be easy on myself and not worry about how it looks, how large or small it is, or if, halfway into the sketch I realize that it looks really dumb. I'm just going to try to either quickly jot something down, or really take my time. Either way, I need this outlet.

Just like an athlete will train as a part of every day life, an artist needs to train as well. Of course, life gets in the way or we are impatient to have a means to an end. This, I am hoping will be a journey. To where, I am not sure, but it will be fun!

Staying on the path...


Em said...

This is Awesome, Jen! Good luck with your 'training'! Oh - and Happy Birthday!!!! Maybe you could come up with something like a design for me? <3 Em

Jackamo said...

EGADS!!!! I missed your bday! How did that happen. It is on the calendar that I had made in nice bold type. How could I have missed it. Happy bday, Jenny-Poo!!! Love the sketching idea. Maybe I'll pick my pencil back up. I miss my sketchbook. Irg. When did the art walk out of my life? Actually, I just bought a bag of pom poms, pipe cleaners, and goggly eyes. Maybe the art didn't just morphed.

Cheryl Arkison said...

Happy Belated Birthday! I forgot that we were so close.

This is a wonderful challenge to yourself. I'm trying to push myself on the quilting too. That is my creative love, but I find it much more difficult to do with the girls around. I am itching for some sewing time though. Of course, I can't draw to save my life - you should see my quilt sketches - so something as portable as that is out. I'll be watching with great interest.