Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Irrationality is something I do well!

Ever read this book?  The upside of irrationality, Ariely (2010).

True confessions:  I love behavioural economics. Affluenza, Freakenomics, all books that are not only interesting but seriously entertaining. So I have learned about the disease of consumerism, and how to catch out teachers who cheat.

And now I am learning about the impact stress can have and how return is diminished when the stakes are high.  I see it in my students.  They perform well on tasks they believe don't matter but the minute it is something that appears important, they choke.

I do this with my art too.  When I genuinely believe that it doesn't matter, the work flows and is beautiful.  Get me in a situation when I feel it does matter, and any skill I have disappears out the window, leaving me with low-grade, slightly disappointing pieces that people politely smile at.

This is the challenge:  to not care if I live or die (metaphorically, of course!)  The less I care, the better the work is.  The less I care, the more likely I am to overcome the wall I have hit with several projects.

I'll be really interested to see what the suggested solution is.  How do we switch off our perception that something matters more or less than something else? to harness the power of the irrational...

Monday, 11 June 2012

Living deliberately

Spending a weekend away with some friends gave me the opportunity to complete the following tangle.  An exercise in relaxation, I felt my mind settle as I worked my way through the repeated pattern and predictable lines. 
Interestingly, as the piece progressed so did my thoughts about deliberate living.

It is so easy to be distracted by momentary things and find that time slips by unnoticed.  One of the problems of having a ten year plan with my art is how easy it is to lose focus.  And this year hasn't really progressed as I imagined it would. There just hasn't been the time or the inspiration for two competition entries each month, and I have found myself, at times, writing rather than painting.  However, the great thing about a final destination, the what, is that mid-way you can change the way there, the how.

This one piece has reminded me just how much I enjoy simply living, how important it is to repeat those things that work and change those things that don't, and that friends can help you remember who you are.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Calming the frantic mind

The past couple of months have been doing my head in.  Seeing the surgeon today revealed Frankenfoot as the final dressing and strapping was taken off.  Still as yukky looking as ever, I found myself with an instant head-ache and the real threat that those cornflakes I had for lunch were going to make a second appearance.  Thankfully Paramedic Hubby stepped in, literally, so that I couldn't see the foot, held my hand and reassured me that things were actually very positive.  And he's right.  My foot/toes are straighter than I ever remember them being.

What I have learned is that bunion correction surgery is very painful, but more than that, I have learned that when I am stressed I over-think everything.  Great when intuition and problem solving is needed, not so great for everyday funs-ville life.

For us melancholy types tangling, or zentangle as it is officially known, is a great way to calm an over-active, aka crazy-lady, mind.  These following pattern ideas are not mine.  I just googled and found inspiration in the websites I came across.
There is something soothing about repetitive pattern, serendipity and an easily achievable task.  Tangling is accessible to all, no matter your confidence level.  And it always looks good.  Go to it!  

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Inspirations - learning from others

Just recently I attended a professional development session provided by my school and conducted by a talented artist, Anne Marks.

Amongst other things, she challenged me to think about what inspires me, and to do as they do.  So today, browsing an English magazine I came across an advertisement that used a pen and wash drawing.  I cut it out and stuck it into my folio.
I annotated the picture, noting the things that I really liked about it.  Then I redrew part of the picture just to get a feel for the use of line and tone, and for fun!

Next step was to use a source picture (another ad' from the same magazine!).  I sketched it for realism and tone.  Then I got out some watercolour paper and used pen and Inktense pencils.  After sticking the images into my folio I grabbed a .8 pen and roughly drew in the image as a wall paper.  

A closer look at the pen and wash.  Not quite as good as the Inspirations piece, but a person has to start somewhere!