The artist in me

IMG_1738As you may have noticed from previous posts, I am a member of an art group. To be honest, I find it a bit of a paradox.  Generally it seems, that just from the fact I am a member of an art group, people assume I am some sort of artist.  I can assure you this is not the case.

I joined the group a couple of years ago, as a ‘something we could do together’ thing with my husband.  I’d never really painted before, but knew I could draw a bit, so thought I’d give it a go.  My husband had painted in the past but not for a while and was happy to take up his brushes again.  I was in for a bit of a shock.  Shocked at how talented my husband is, and shocked at how cack-handed I am.

Oh, I’ve always been cack-handed and clumsy.  Can’t throw or catch, and my hand writing is, frankly, an embarrassment, but somehow I thought even I could create something wonderful by slopping a bit of paint onto some paper. It might not be Rembrandt but it would be my own.

Since the very first session, I have been nothing other than frustrated with the whole caboodle.  I have ideas, loads and loads of ideas, and I pick up my brush enthusiastically, only to find those perfect, exciting, unique pictures in my head, come out as a muddy mish mash when applied to paper.  I’ve tried watercolours, acrylics, pastels… all with pretty much the same outcome, though my pencil work is marginally better, and I quite enjoy creating collages even though they’re messy and again, not quite what I intended.

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the art group, the company is wonderful, and everyone has their own talents, and sometimes, mishaps.  However, despite their encouragement, I still feel embarrassingly bottom of the class, and wish to hell I could manage to just translate my imaginings on to paper successfully, just now and again while I’m there.

I try to be philosophical about it, honest I do, and am generally able to make a joke of it when I’m at the group, however, at home, I feel monstrously angry at myself and my ineptitude. It must be the paper/brushes/paint I think, and end up buying tons of equipment in the futile hope that it will miraculously make me better.  I watch endless youtube videos to learn about techniques, and pour over books that promise to give me new insights into where it’s all going wrong.   Not a single thing seems to help.

Is it worth throwing the towel in?  Giving it up as a bad job? Going off to sulk and sob in a corner to tell myself that I should have known better than to try?  Burn all that expensive equipment?   No.

NO!!!

You see, I’ve also been watching the painting challenge currently on the BBC.  The people taking part are amateur artists who clearly think they are good enough to enter the competition.  While I still think all of them, to a man/woman, are far more talented than I (those in glass houses etc..) they are having some real disasters and seem to make many of the same mistakes as I do.  Of course, the work they do, in private, at home, in their own style, looks far more interesting and accomplished than any they try to do whilst ‘on’t telly’ and under pressure. The styles they are expected to replicate for the judges are often decidedly outside of their comfort zone, so appreciably more.. um, duff.

It has led me to ask the question of whether or not you have to be able to paint anything, in any medium or style, to be considered an artist.  I think not.  This is as true for people on the X factor trying to sing in an alien genre, or a ballet dancer trying out ballroom.  We can all have a bash at something but we will always be better at doing the thing we naturally lean towards.  Although Picasso did some admirable work in other styles, we generally think of his cubist pieces when we think of him.  Turner and his seascapes, Constable and his green and pleasant lands, Manet and his dancers, most of the brilliant artists I can think of have a particular style or subject that they are particularly known for.   That’s not to say they were one trick ponies, but those are the paintings that we all know and love them for, and the ones they seem to have produced the most of (I may be wrong here, I’ve not done much (any) research on this – just thinking out loud).

So basically, I guess the trick is that I really should appreciate and keep working on the things I have slightly more of a flair for, whilst striving to improve without embarrassment or losing my temper those things which I find elusive.  It’s a hard ask.  But I won’t give up just yet. I’ll keep telling myself that I’ll never get better if I don’t keep trying. So, I’ll carry on slopping on the paint in between doodling and sketching, and one day I’ll create that damn masterpiece.

IMG_0067

What I consider to be one of my slightly more successful pieces, done in my own time and style, in watercolour.

Advertisements

Woman in the Waiting Room

Hands clasped tight in my lap
I watch the child crying in the corner
while the mother tuts and coos
and the old man coughs
that old man cough of
clogged lungs and
failing heart

The incongruous laughter
leaching from the back room
is an insult
as a scruffy teenager sniffs
on the too close chair beside me

I study the ebbing of life
in the clock face
I can smell disease
feel it spreading
seeping in through my skin
I dare not fidget
for fear of contamination

People leave clutching their
life lines
I hope for one too
A pain easer
A mood lifter
A miracle
but when they call my name
despair drips
onto those clasping hands

 

Simple Pleasures

Posted in response to the Daily Post weekly photo challenge. This week’s theme: ‘I’d rather be…’

Since my daughters have grown up we’ve only had one holiday together, and it was this one in Northumbria a couple of years ago.  It was a typical summer holiday in England – dull, cold and windy, so not wanting to waste such a brilliant beach we bought ourselves a kite.  Those four people (this includes my daughter’s partner) right there are the ones I love most in the world (as well as my mum of course – I have to say that, she reads this 🙂 ), and I remember watching them in the shadow of Bamburgh Castle, attempting to fly the kite in what felt like a gale, and generally being daft, and thinking just how lucky I was to be in such a beautiful place with such beautiful people.  Yep, I’d take that over a Caribbean holiday any ol’ time…

…on second thoughts, sod the cold, ideally I would be with them in the Caribbean swimming in a warm sea or lying on a white sandy beach sipping at a rum punch…oh yeah…!

P1020160

The Shape of Love

There are no corners to hide in,
and no straight paths,
or sides to take

There is no long and short,
nor tip of the iceberg,
or points to make

No, love is a circle,
delicious, curvaceous,
a two tier cream cake

A full harvest moon,
a banging drum heart,
a promise you make

A ring on your finger,
a cuff on your wrist,
a hunger that wakes

A bowl full of spices,
a bouncing beachball
that gives, and, that takes

Oh love is a circle,
a merry go round
of tender heartaches

Yes, love is a circle
Two people conjoined
as endless soul mates

Unless, of course, it becomes a triangle…

To be Still

storm-sea-sky

She turned towards the greyness
of the thunderous sea and sky,
her tears lost to the wanton wind
as she dreamed of stillness.

The stillness of a frozen path
covered with that lazy snow
that drifts capriciously
smothering all beneath.

The stillness of an animal,
trapped in the gaze of a hunter,
frozen in its startled state
‘til it’s heart is stopped.

The stillness of an empty church
where the silence echoes
filling the void with peace,
while the cold walls seep death.

And while she dreamed,
the whirlwind world
whipped around her still,
amplifying her melancholy.

She watched as the waves
attacked the rocks below,
then, succumbing to the depths between,
felt the numbing embrace of water.