Thursday, November 12, 2020

Autumn and Creativity

Ah, fall, the season in which Instagrammers and bloggers everywhere relentlessly post photos of colorful leaves and steaming mugs of tea. There aren't any mug pics in this post, but I'll try to fulfill the regulated amount of leaf content. Also: knitting content for once! I have been thinking about what to do with all my sock yarn leftovers (the dilemma of any long-time knitter), and since I admittedly have a purple addiction, I pulled all my purples and arranged them in a gradient. I'm using the Boneyard Shawl pattern since it is simple, and knitted all my scraps in order until they are used up.

Although there hasn't been a frost yet, the garden is wrapping up. These were the last bunch of dahlias I picked before the buds stopped opening. I grew these from seed last year, and although I thought I had dug up all the tubers, these hid in the ground and bloomed better than ever this year. I'm going to attempt to lift and store them over the winter, although winters have been getting warmer here [climate change] so they might survive just fine in the ground.

The mornings have been foggy lately which is setting the perfect fall mood. It allows me to take pictures like these, which give the impression that I live in an idyllic country wonderland, and not actually in a county of a million+ residents.

At the beginning of the month I took myself to the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts and saw an exhibit on the children's book illustrator Jan Brett. If you have access to a child, you've probably seen one of her books. They are rooted in folktales, and her art is incredibly detailed. It takes her a year to illustrate one picture book, and she does extensive research by traveling all over the world. It sounds like an enviable life!

Thanks to Anne at My Giant Strawberry I won free access to her Skillshare class Beyond Beginner: Tips and Tricks to Level Up Your Watercolors. This class is very well-done and I'm looking to putting all her ideas into practice. I am also taking a class by Alisa Burke, The Flower Journal. I am attempting to actually do all the lessons instead of just watching the videos, like I usually do. Even if a technique is not something I'd usually do, I'm hoping to surprise myself. The page below was done only using my fingers. I liked how it turned out, but boy was it a challenge for my mess-avoiding self.

Finally, I had something of an epiphany regarding making art. I love reading anything on creativity; if there is a book out there, I've read it or it's on my list. (Austin Kleon's are particularly digestible.) It is quite popular to talk about "enjoying the process", "play", and the fact that you shouldn't worry about results. Have fun! Ok, but I can have Type A tendencies. Having a desk full of messy sketchbook pages and scattered scraps of paper and art supplies drives me absolutely insane. While I do like working in sketchbooks and making looser art journal pages, having no real end product leaves me feeling like bothering to make art like that is pointless. (That's not true! It's just what my brain tells me.) 

Recently I had the thought: but what if I don't fight against it? I know that an end product is important to me, so why not work toward actual end products? Instead of focusing on finishing 100-page sketchbooks, why not make a book on a theme with a few pages and then rejoice when it's completed in a short amount of time? Instead of working in my watercolor sketchbook, is there anything wrong with working on sheets of paper and then framing or giving away the result? This is primarily why I have always been more of a crafter. When you knit a hat, well, at the end you have a hat. Or you have a quilt, or a table, or a sweater that can be used.

I'm almost 40; I don't know why it took so long to figure this out. 

Enjoy the fall, the crispy leaves, and your steaming mugs!