„It is dark. It is cold. I am lying in bed looking at the ceiling. Suddenly our little boy stirs, makes a funny sound and starts climbing to our bed his eyes closed. He snuggles between me and my husband and falls asleep again. I am lying next to him stroking his hair gently not to wake him up. I love this morning ritual.
It is an early winter morning and time for me to get up. Very quietly I sneak out of our bedroom. I put my clothes on in the kitchen, pick up a small backpack and leave. The flat is silent. Everyone is asleep…“
This week is about diving into drawing and digital art for me. I had great fun working on new series called ‚Multimedia art‘. The process involves hand drawing and digital application of color. I am not sure if it should be called ‚digital art‘ since it is not completely digital. But it has been so far a great way of exploring new ways of visual expression. You can see more pictures at my portfolio.
Today I returned to my painting of Manes. It was a second painting session for this canvas. I could feel how the gap in painting with oil affected me. I could not get into my ‘painting flow’ at all. I felt sort of rubbery and it seemed I was just starting when it was time to stop. So I am not satisfied with the result much. It is not that it would be horrible but it is not right either. Over summer my choice was to go over to acrylics. It was a new medium for me and it was very exciting to learn how to use it and create new series which was inspired by summer travels. But these two mediums are so different that if you work with one for a while you can almost forget how to paint with the other.
It is my coffee break. I am looking at a painting by Picasso ‘El Paseo de Colon’ 1917. It is amazing with how much certainty Picasso applied the brush strokes here. Perhaps this certainty in combination with constantly painting in new and different way is what I love about Picasso’s work. I am trying to imagine what it would be like to bring into life a brand new way how to depict outside world while being so sure about it at the same time. As if he had no self doubts.
Inspecting this Picasso’s painting is energizing me. I cannot stop looking at it. So at least over my break after the unsuccessful painting session this morning I feel inspired and hungry again. It is time to go and have another session. Thanks to ‘El Paseo de Colon’! Thank you Picasso.
I was talking with my sister Zuza on WhatsApp today. She lives in Glasgow while I live in Prague so we miss each other a lot and have much less contact than we would like. But today we made a new special type of connection. Since it is an International Dot Day I asked Zuza if she would like to doodle some ‚dots‘ and then we could exchange them and share them for fun. It brightened the day for both of us and her 6 year old son Niko also joined us in creating dots! So here they are. Have a great DOT DAY!
I am walking up the old concrete stairs that lead up to our cottage attic. I turn left to the area with the only window. The light from outside is coming through and blinds me slightly. Against the light I cannot see well all the rubbish scattered on dirty floor, spider webs hanging from the joists, old paper boxes full of long forgotten stuff, torn fading rags and few abandoned suitcases. I step over those automatically not paying much attention to them.
All I want to see is the large wooden table that is placed near the window, the skeleton of my easel standing next to it, and a handful of colorful tubes of acrylic paints. I run my fingers across the paint tubes.
The door downstairs is closed. I still hear the faint voices of my little son and his father playing downstairs. A car passes by loudly. I open the window and breath in the fresh air that is blown in through branches and leaves of our walnut tree. They move from side to side. I can hear an apple falling heavily on the grass in the garden.
I am staring at the empty canvas. I sense the old and always present respect in front of that emptiness. I am sitting there and waiting, looking around, and listening to the sounds and voices. It feels reassuring to hear the life below me. I keep waiting. No mobile phone to reach for. No computer or device with an internet connection. Nothing to do. Tranquility. Stillness. Boredom.
I reach out for a piece of an old cardboard and quickly apply few brush strokes. I do that several times with a dry brush, no paint, just to feel the movement. It feels wonderful. Quickly I pour first paint on a paper tray and dip the brush in it. The old cardboard welcomes me while the expensive canvases and quality papers are lying nearby untouched. I feel free. No expectations. Maybe that is a sweet bit of my creative freedom. Maybe.
Going to the mountains with my family was a perfect way how to rest and refresh this summer. When surrounded by nature my body and mind can relax. Hiking stretched my body, beautiful landscapes were nutrition to my imagination, and having my family close made my heart happy. Lovely hills of Vysocina and amazing mountains of High Tatras are going to be source of new inspiration for emerging series of abstract landscapes. 🙂
It is May already but I am mapping areas of my artwork focus for the year 2016. Maybe it is too late to be ‚planning‘ what to do this year. But to me it somehow makes more sense to do this now because things are just starting to come together and shape up.
To keep on track and not to lose focus on some of the most important things I started new pages on my blog with the main ‚projects‘. Perhaps these pages will be part of my 2016 planning. Unfortunately planning always feels scary to me because it makes clear objectives and thus more clear if I fail. But it is necessary – perhaps not to do the planning but to fail. And that is the only thing I am telling myself today. I will be failing many times and learning along the way. There is this beautiful quote from Theodore Roosevelt that was in his famous speech ‚The Man in the Arena‘:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…
If you are a parent of a young child it is likely that your life is often being interrupted. Every day, even every hour no matter what you planned to do you can expect there will be a little or bigger interruptions. Things that your child will need or want will take priority over everything else. You will stop whatever it is you are doing and you will attend to his or her needs. Sometimes you will stop for a few minutes, sometimes for a few weeks. This way many things in your life are ceasing and beginning again and again.
That has been my recent experience with our little boy. Although last year I freed my work schedule to give more productive time to art-work my time got filled with full time childcare for weeks and weeks because our boy fell sick quite often. It was partially expected since he just started day care but not on such a scale. Fortunately we were not dealing with anything serious but still my work routine was interrupted so often and for such periods of time that I did not have a chance to develop a new work routine not to mention create a body of work.
Today it feels that my creative and working life is being constantly interrupted. To maintain some sort of continuity it requires from me to be constantly picking up the bits and pieces where they were left. It means that I believe that it is possible to start again and again even when my inner voice says ‘Give it up, you are getting nowhere’.
Life – intermittent, somewhat irregular and still so beautiful. The beauty of it is that I would never trade a single moment of my time with my kids for anything else. Also the beauty of it is that I love each and every new beginning. Today it was just another beginning. It was an amazing sunny day and I finally got time on my own. I got everything ready to paint the view of Palackeho square from our flat; easel on the balcony, palette with oil paints and brushes at hand. Listening to the sounds of life on the street below I focused easily, patiently placing one brush stroke after another on the white canvas, watching the shadows becoming longer and longer. It was an amazing afternoon. It was just another beautiful beginning.
This week is a lot about more colour sketching of Prague’s New Town for me. I am painting with guache paints enjoying their vibrant colours, working on motifs before they will go on a large canvas.
I thought today that beaming quality of gouache paints goes well with spring and summer days when the city is basking in the sun, the buildings look golden, blue sky reflects in Vltava river, and people are striding along the riverbank drinking cold Czech beer. It was such a beautiful day here and many will still come. I hope to convey some of the vibrancy and atmosphere of this city in spring and summer.