Contrary to expert advice for personal growth, I believe in taking the path of least resistance. It is the best, and may even be the only, way crack through the toughened inertia after a long break from art making.
The path takes the form of a stack of 100 A6 sized prompt cards I bought too long ago, for what must have been a good reason that I can no longer remember.
For the first time since my 3 month break from any creative work (besides creative vegan cooking), I wanted to draw. They will be postcards for friends.
I gathered more supplies within an arm’s reach.
Besides the A6 cards, on my desk amongst a million other things, I laid a size 10 stiff synthetic round brush, acrylic paint in Mars black, a ceramic Chinese soy sauce dipping dish caked with dried ink.
Nothing in mind.
I dipped the brush into the acrylic paint, and placed the mark onto the centre of the card. I moved the brush a little here and a little there.
Strangely, it looks like a cat.
Muscle memory in art making
Not surprising. Before my break, I made many study sketches of cats, both for the tiny cat paintings, and for the cat pocket dolls.
It was difficult using a big brush, viscous paint, on a smooth surface. I didn’t like the cat at all. Something about it feels wrong.
The cat feels trapped.
I tried drawing the back, or side view. I tried composing the picture like a Chinese painting with ample white space.
Everyone knows there is no right or wrong in art. I must be excluded, because, this looks very close to wrong to me.
Now, I feel trapped, too.
Such black and white thinking triggered the very anxiety I’ve managed to keep at bay during my extended art-break.
The new meditation has not made me super human. It has however allowed a detached awareness of my own emotions.
Drawing is my therapy
Breathe in. Breath out. Repeat. I see it.
The image is in my mind.
I need to let the drawing breathe.
Each postcard as a Chinese character in calligraphy
I focus on one feature at a time.
I can almost hear the brush bristles on the white card. As the brush moves and deposits more black paint onto the paper surface, friction increases.
Each face is treated like a Chinese character in calligraphy (one of my earliest art inspirations mentioned in this post).
The result is art that breathes
Black is added to the white ground to suggest form, while leaving enough white for the mind roam.