Thursday, August 13, 2015

Taking a Break

I've been talking about taking a break from my art.  So much so that I was beginning to wonder if I should quit blogging or just change the name of my blog to something with "caretaking" in the title.  It's given me a new perspective on my art.  How important it is. And isn't.  (life is like that--with all that contradiction!)

my brother asleep on the couch before we left--
Thankfully, this caretaker got a much needed break.  My brother graciously took care of my dad for a week and my husband and I took a little road trip.  Now you know I love a road trip!!  We decided to pack up the car and the bikes and take a bike tour of each place we stopped. What I won't do is bore you with the details.  What I will do is tell you I was able to sketch quite a few times during our trip.  I went ahead and packed my supplies as an after thought, not sure I would even take them out.  The  last few times they sat in the suitcase.  This time I took some time to sketch and once I started I found the spontaneity of sketching very enjoyable.  

Tom taking a little time to fly fish.  Its hard to sketch things
are in motion, but that's half the fun!

Tom is very patient while I sketch and I think he could tell that the time I spent doing that was recharging my batteries. As I got into the second day I began to get excited to find what I could paint next as a memory for that day. I've taken sketchbooks on most of our vacations, but it's hard to find time unless the person you are with is tolerant of your passion!  Luckily, Tom has a few of his own!

I planned to infuse our trip with art by stopping at galleries along the route (we never hit even one!!) and the Carnegie Art Museum in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, we stayed to long in the Ohiopyle State Park and didn't get time to see the museum, but I will get there someday!  One of the highlights for me was a trip to Falling Waters, the iconic Frank Lloyd Wright home designed for the Kaufman family.  We have visited Taliesin in Phoenix and one in Chicago, so I have a list I am ticking off.  To say that it was amazing is understating.  From an artistic/creative point of view, the man was genius.  It's just my opinion--but wow!!  He definitely thought outside the box and had vision.  I have been bowled over every time.  The highlight of this tour was sketching the house from the vantage point below the falls, the view that is most famous.  I only had about 20 minutes to rough it in and get a bit of color and I finished from a photo in the hotel later.  I wish now that I had left the sketch rough and unfinished as it was when I left.  I never like the paintings I do from photos as well as those from life, but I have this need to "finish" them!  Maybe some day I will learn! 

Visiting Falling Waters got me thinking about how "living a creative life" is all encompassing.  Creativity is all around us if we have eyes to see.  Wright was famous for designing homes that echoed the elements of the nature that surrounded it.  Using those same elements in the design and construction, he sought to bring an organic feel to his design. He pioneered "open concept" living and among many quirky ideas, felt bedrooms should have low ceilings and be small to envelope you and make you feel secure while also feeling confining so you would spend most of your time in the open spaces.  How often do you think of your environment in those types of creative ways?  As I reflected on his view about how important our surroundings are, I was challenged to look at art with different eyes.  That house was art, with a capital A. In the bookstore I even picked up a small booklet with sketches and architectural drawings for many of his most famous designs.  I love the drawings that were at the time only concepts on paper.  The beginnings or fleshing out of ideas.  Concepts made visible on paper before they were made out of physical materials.  It made me value my sketchbooks all the more meaningful.

Home now, I need another vacation because biking, touring and driving everyday were exhausting!  I told my husband that our next trip will be by a beach with a book and a drink with an umbrella in it!!  But this was a nice break and gave me some time to indulge my creative side. Taking time away gives you fresh eyes and an appreciation for the every day.  And it's good to be home again!!  


  1. I stopped all art and could barely keep up with work when I took care of my dying brother. Life happens, and I am glad I was there for him. On the other hand, a lot of people sketch by bedsides / hospital rooms / etc.

    Wright is one of my favorite architectural draughtsman. And the move to computers was a huge reason why I left architecture -- and why I think most architecture (Geary not included) is boring today. There is something creative about hand to eye . . .

    1. Interesting. I agree about hand to eye and about computers. While they can be very useful, there is a connection you just cannot make with them.