Friday, November 12, 2010

Art Every Day: M is for Magic

Day 13

I started painting in pastels one year and one month ago. Before that my artistic life was filled with self-conscious struggle. I had the confidence to use my skills as a graphic designer and craftswoman, and loved the images I created digitally, but painting and drawing was not something I thought I could do.

Then I took a class in pastels. I had worked with them before, and enjoyed the experience. But, this time, something changed. I fell in love, not only with the pastels, but with the process of making art 'by hand.'

The best way I can describe what happened is that every time I started to draw, I felt MAGIC! And I still do. For me now, it is a form of magic to sit down in front of a blank page, and watch (almost like a bystander) as something amazing appears.

Today's piece is cut paper, and was it FUN! The idea comes from a combination of inspirations. The idea for working in paper came from an activity in the lovely book Paint Happy, by Cristina Acosta. It struck my fancy because I have boxes of wonderful collection of colored papers in my stash closet, some from my years as an art student at Pratt Institute (a very long time ago.) Once I had the idea for the medium, I needed an image. I walked around for days trying to decide what would work. Then, among the lesson plans for my Young Rembrandts students, was a tree image that teaches foreground, middle and background. I had it.

My next worry was how to get the shapes just right. After fussing for a while I simply started cutting and pasting (something I, as a former art student, am highly experienced at doing) and the scene took shape. I love the simple shapes and the colors. Most of all, I liked playing with the paper and seeing what appeared. Magic!