You hear it all the time. “just keep practicing, you’ll get better”. You see an artist who’s been working for years at their craft, and have to squash your disappointment when you try to replicate their work, only to have it look like a child’s crayon drawing. (for the sake of argument let’s not say you’re trying to recreate Twombly’s work)
“I didn’t start this way,” They’ll say, “It takes time and a lot of practice”
You accept that you won’t be painting the sistine chapel tomorrow and go home, content to draw overly muscled anatomically impossible DBZ characters and big eye’d sailor moon girls. (or was it just me who noticed everyone seemed to be drawing the same time in their margins back in the early 2000’s?). Then one day 15 years later you set aside a drawing you don’t really like and go to organize your sketchbooks, only to find your old drawings again and realize how much you’ve improved!
I promise I’ll find an old picture from the early 2000’s to upload here eventually, just for laughs at how far I’ve developed my style and artistry, but what I noticed today was really only a year’s development.
Anyone who’s known me since college should be aware that I have evolved from crazy cat lady, to crazy jellyfish lady. Crazy jellycat lady? Somehow my brain has decided that jellyfish and outer space are the same thing (a topic for a later post. far too much of a digression) and upon rediscovering watercolour painting Galaxies have been the object of my attention. I was going through my old sketchbook and I found my first attempt to make a galaxy.
Shield your eyes! It looks like–nothing. it’s literally a big blue and black blob. I have no idea what I was thinking. I was thinking “hey I bet I can paint a galaxy on drawing paper”. No. Don’t do it. Get the right paper. It really does make a lot of difference. In the last 12 months I have started hoarding different types of papers now. I need more filing shelves.
Somewhere between then and now I watched a Youtube video of a girl painting a galaxy with liquid watercolour paint, (I haven’t googled it yet, but it sounds like a silly invention to me. Don’t you make watercolours liquid by adding water? Isn’t that what watercolour is? Tomorrow’s research project.) and I tried again.
Here’s where I’m just going to negate my entire last post and say i took a galaxy hiatus for almost 6 months and refused to paint anything but flat colour pink jellyfish and when I finally decided to try again. Well. This.
I figure sometimes art is like video games. You try, try, try and keep failing. So you throw the controller across the room, turn off the console and go make a cup of tea. A month later you try again, have finally forgiven the game, and magically the boss is easier. If you put the watercolour pan in the time out corner long enough, they’ll get the picture. “Make good results or I’ll never make art with you again!”
Realistically, I think painting my flat colour jellyfish (these guys, if you haven’t seen them)
really helped me to better understand how the paints moved, mixed, and flowed. ( Maybe I’ll make an evolution of my jellyfish during 2015 post for the new years. That sounds fun right? ) This in turn translated into sudden dramatic results in my galaxies.
However I did it, I love seeing where I started and where I am currently. Pretty sure on my death bed I’ll have my progeny help me make scrapbooks of all my before and afters so I can have them at my funeral. “This is the first jellyfish she ever drew *flips page* and this is the last jellyfish she ever drew. She promised she wouldn’t come back and haunt us by drawing more jellyfish everywhere, we’re holding her ghost to that promise. This really is the last one.”
So I’ll conclude with two last galaxies I’ve done recently. Check back soon for my marker galaxies. I kinda almost love them more than the painted ones.