Friday, February 11, 2011

Use It or Lose It

 I have not been for a walk in weeks since the arctic air moved down to Central Ohio and decided to stay!  It was either way too cold with single or very low double digit temps or it was icy and treacherous.  I will walk in the cold and the snow.  But you cant keep your footing on ice!  And I'd like to not break any bones!  So I figured I had a pass.  But my body didn't think so.  My dog's don't think so.  (they LIVE for their walks!)

The other day I took a walk.  That was not an easy walk.  It has snowed, melted, rained, iced, and snowed some more making it a little slick and hard to walk because I kept breaking through the ice under the snow.  I did get a work out!  And my body told me the next day it had been too long.  The muscles were sore and I was a little fatigued when I got home. 

drawing using observation from
the dot to line drawing!
 While I was out, I wondered how I could have gone so long without being outdoors.  I find peace when I'm out in the elements, what ever they may be.  Each season has a rhythm and beauty all its own and I find my balance when I am in touch with that.  It was lightly snowing and the dogs were running full tilt, slipping and falling and chasing each other and imaginary squirrels!  Not the first walk I've taken in the falling snow, but it was still magical.  The brambles that had obviously not seen the recent and brief sunshine were still encrusted with ice and sparkled like glass.  There were deer tracks and birds darting back and forth.  It was quiet and I thought of how removed I'd been from all of this beauty.

Which brings me to my thought for the week.  Walking is good for me.  I do it for my body and my soul.  Your art is good for you too!  We do it for many reasons, but it's good for your body and your soul!  Like my muscles the next day that reminded me I was out of shape in just a few short weeks, your art will suffer if you step away.  Am I saying you can never take a break?  No, I think we need breaks.  Sometimes to heal, or gain perspective.  Sometimes just to rest from a busy schedule.  But I am reminded that you do lose some of the ease of use you have built up using those skills repeatedly.  And you may lose some of the wonder at what you can do with a brush in your hand, or whatever your tools are. 

sketchbook work by
 Suzanne Camper
 Before I go on, I'd like to reflect a little on last weeks sketchbook challenge.  After image drawing.  What a pain!  I personally hate that exercise!  But I do it often to sharpen my observation skills.  While reading The Art Spirit by Robert Henri I ran across a quote that reaffirmed the concept.  "I have often thought of an art school where the model might hold the pose in one room and the work might be done in another.  The pupils would have their places in both rooms, one for observation and the other for work.  The pupil could return to the model for information. He could make any sketches he might desire to make-for information-but these drawings are not to be carried into the work room.  Into this room he carries only what he knows." !!! Exclamation mine! 

color study finding value in color-
Judy Richardson

In the spirit of use it or lose it, the sketching challenge is designed to keep you drawing in short bites for six weeks. This weeks focus is value drawing.  Four values.  Find the darkest value (cast shadow), and the lightest value (use the white of the paper), then find two values in the between the two.  Squint to remove color and too many values!  Remember value=form.  They don't need to take too much of your time.  Just try to do one daily.   I cant wait to see them!   

Whatever your creative outlet is, exercise those skills this week!  Now go create!

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