“Sometimes artists [art teachers] don’t find the time to draw every day, so other artists help them out by creating daily art challenges.”
That is how I introduced #abstractadvent to my elementary art students at the beginning of December 2021. And of course I was talking about myself, routinely back off the routine of a daily art practice.
I enjoyed that month of drawing so much that I continued on – giving myself a personal challenge of making marks 24 days out of every month. It has worked. I’ve emotionally problem solved through what it means for me to be a mark maker. It has allowed me to visually play and explore with materials again and know more firmly what I want for my students (not rigid ideas about what good art looks like!). My inspiration has come from my garden, my young students, my family, past art experiences and the people I have met living in Calgary.
This month I ended up working on two explorations: one for Inktober and another documenting plant structure through mono printing.
November is a busy month and I will also be travelling briefly, so I will not commit to a November entry, but I look forward to picking this practice up again in December.
Please find enclosed my sketchbook entries from May to October 2022. (You can find previous entries here and here.)
It’s the time of year in this part of the world where the plant world is slowing down and my work world is speeding up. If we had time and you were inclined, you could come for a visit and we could chat for a couple of hours over coffee or tea – about the warm summer and autumn we’ve had, the lack of rain, the things we’ve noticed in our gardens, the creative projects we dream of for winter.
What have I learned from my garden this year? Slowing down and noticing the quality of light is rejuvenating. Approaching problems with a sense of curiosity is less taxing on stress levels. My garden and plants in general help me come back to myself and have hope for our world.
The last few weeks I have practiced recording the way the light hits various parts of the garden. It has been a visually exciting exercise and a great way for me to reacquaint myself with my DSLR. I don’t use a tripod and use the stock lens. I like to keep things simple.
Lately, the bees and other pollinators have been especially active on the Veronicastrum, Agastache and Echinacea. I have all of these plants very close to each other and the bees fly back and forth doing what they do. It’s mesmerizing to watch.
This afternoon I was quite pleased with the resulting photos. Three of them were touched up in Photoshop, the rest are untouched.
It has been a summer of sporadic creative activity for me with a good stretch of daily morning garden work. It was just what I needed to feel like I’m recovering myself again.