Artistic Temperament?

I planned a surprise activity for Nonny this morning. I knew I wouldn’t be able to really describe the experience well and she might not be excited about it, so I just sprung it on her. This turned out to be the perfect strategy.

We went to Simply Jane’s, a non-profit art studio just across the parking lot from Wiseacre (the restaurant that replaced our beloved Liberty Custard). They do amazing work at Simply Janes: art camp for kids in the summer, art therapy for the disabled. They hire the disabled when possible and go out to hospitals for those who can’t get to their storefront for an art outing. To raise the money for these services, they have a “drop in and paint” program.  There are many canvases of different sizes with various simple art pre-drawn in black marker; you choose the one you want, they provide the paint, the brushes, even the paint smock.  They even have master classes if you want to do a more complicated painting based on, well… the masters.

Nonny, who will repeatedly tell you that she is not artistic (hence the ‘spring the experience’ on her) chose a dragon and I chose a dolphin. Mine was a little bigger but since I had been to Simply Jane’s before, I thought I would be able to get mine done without having to make Nonny wait.

We had a great time – after we were done, the staff went over our paintings with a sharpie to make the initial lines distinct and then shellacked them for little more shine. Nonny asked lots of questions and took some of the literature with her. My guess is that she’ll look for something similar in St. Louis.  She’s thinking of where to hang her little treasure now… at dinner she said “I guess it’s too big to hang from the rear view mirror in my car”!

What would you like to draw for art therapy?

39 thoughts on “Artistic Temperament?”

  1. nice job vs
    the shading on you dolphin and your island is nice
    nonnys mottled dragon skin is great

    i can’t do paint by numbers stuff
    i enjoy painting but i would either choose a subject from a photo or from recall and likely would simply go free form with an abstract mass of color and shape
    my angst comes out or my search for inner sanctum gets plugged in
    i have thought about cracking out a canvas since we arrived in ou new house
    it is conducive to art inspired moments
    my last effort was 3 small canvas designs that got a 1st , 2nd and 3rd sitting before me stuff got put away
    maybe i can find a permanent studio location here

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    1. I should have mentioned that Simply Jane’s also has blank canvases for those who itch to go free form. But I knew a blank canvas would be way too daunting for Nonny and that she would prefer painting on an already sketched-in picture.

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  2. Painting can be a kind of therapy for the non artist as well as the artist. Either way when painting in line pictures one must decide on the colors and make them work together Iike the pictures which you and Nonny have done.

    Some of my Swedish Folk painting resulted ‘coloring’ inside the lines. As an example a drawing of dancing figures will require color decisions which not only enhance the complete painting but also work with the entire picture. In one with dancers around a Christmas tree…I did several colorings before I was satisfied that it ‘worked’. That meant a lot of redrawing the scene but it was in special ink pens so not like those I have done on a canvas. I must be quite sure when I do canvas as a redo is more complicated.

    Any drawing or painting is ‘therapeutic’ for me….’tho getting back to it if I’ve not kept up is like any decipline…practice, practice practice. That part is not so fun but is necessary to get the fingers and mind working together at the level I begin to enjoy.

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  3. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    I love getting out my pastels for therapeutic self-treatment. My favorite topic is children, especially kids about three years old. They are beautiful. I have several family three year olds, plus a friend of mine has a grandchild approaching three. I start taking pictures like crazy then looking for expressions that are especially like that child.

    LJB, you have twin three year-olds. Maybe I can get some pictures of them from you and produce some pastels.

    I also enjoyed illustrating my mom’s stories (all done now–no more stories. There were 8 of them). I used old family photos and my imagination to draw from there.

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  4. I haven’t really found time to draw since that train trip, but I found then that I can do primitive sketches and recognize what it is. I have a few of the current adult coloring books, and haven’t even gotten around to trying that – I guess it’s something I’d have to put on the calendar.

    Some day I’d like to take a basic drawing class – would like to draw trees, and birds. I can do buildings ok, but need to learn more about perspective.

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  5. The question of what to paint, or draw, is one that’s bedeviled me for years. What I seek is a subject matter or an approach or a technique that I can pursue and really dig into. Heretofore, I’ve been mostly satisfied with my paintings individually but they haven’t raised any questions for me or presented any challenges that would point to a personal focus. They don’t add up to anything.

    In non-art areas, I haven’t had any problem with ambivalence; the areas that fascinate me and inspire further research come naturally and, if anything, too abundantly.

    I’ve tried working in studio classroom settings with other artists, hoping that a change of style or approach would trigger something but so far, that has not happened. I don’t need instruction in technique; I need a way to sort out my vision.

    You might argue that I should just paint spontaneously—just focus on the physical act of putting paint on canvas and the canvas as its own reality, but I’m not comfortable as a purely abstract artist. Other than basic elements like color, form and balance, I don’t feel confident judging non-figurative abstraction and without that self-assurance the door is open to delusion and self-delusion. I’m more comfortable working with, and perhaps abstracting, images that have some narrative content, some meaning, some commentary. But what?

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    1. I would not try to argue with you about this. Whatever you are looking for with drawing you aren’t finding it, and I doubt that I could argue you into finding it.

      I hope you do find what you are seeking with this though. I suspect you are pretty good.

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    2. I agree with Jacque, I suspect you set a pretty high bar for yourself, Bill, and don’t bullshit your way through much. I do think, though, that sometimes being too self-conscious or too self-critical can get in the way of expressing yourself artistically. I hope that as you ease into retirement and perhaps can dabble in creative pursuits without having to be concerned about their commercial viability, that you’ll let loose that creative spirit pent up inside. As anyone who has ever attended an art crawl can attests, there are plenty of people out there who don’t seem to expose themselves or their work to much scrutiny. You are certainly not one of them.

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      1. I am not, and have not been concerned about commercial viability. That’s not what this is about. I am concerned about finding an avenue that engages me beyond a surface level, regardless of its broader appeal.

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        1. I sure hope you find that avenue, Bill. I’d love to see more of your work. Have you ever exhibited any of it? I also hope that you at least get some satisfaction out of the process of looking for that avenue. I believe you when you say that broader appeal is not what you’re after, but I’m curious as to how you’d know when you have found what you’re looking for?

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        2. The research I do on literary and historical subjects just keeps unfolding with new questions and new perspectives. I would like my art to do likewise.

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        1. How large of a canvas is this, Bill? It vaguely hints at inspiration from Georgia O’Keeffe. I was surprised that many of her paintings were much smaller than I had expected from seeing photos of them.

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        2. It’s a small painting- about 2′ x 2′. I anticipated the Georgia O’Keefe comparison, but hers are, I think, more about femaleness and less concerned with the details of mass and light and texture. None of my other paintings are remotely O’Keefian.

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        3. I love this cabbage head, and clicked on the image to see Bill’s three other images posted to flickr, and I’m blown away by the peony. Beautiful work, Bill.

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  6. I belive it was tim who several years ago suggested crayons as christmas presents. I did that for my family and they all enjoyed it. And that was before the big fad of ‘coloring books for adults’ came about. There we go again; tim leading the way!

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  7. It sure sounds like you and Nonny are having a good time together, vs.

    Art therapy for me would be something more tactile than drawing or painting, perhaps weaving or pottery. I have attempted drawing, many years ago, but I simply have ZERO talent for it. I’ve dabbled in painting as well, also many years ago, and could possibly enjoy doing more of it, although I probably lack the prerequisite discipline. Like with so many other art forms, I lack the skills or talent to produce it. I DO have a great appreciation for art though, so my participation is mostly as a spectator or a patron.

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    1. I too am a great appreciator, PJ. I have no artistic or musical or any other creative talent, but I can appreciate the talents of others with the best of them. I think it’s an important “skill.”

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  8. Painting will never be therapeutic for me. Regular painting (walls) was a source of major arguments between the ex and myself. Even Bob Ross’ little trees won’t calm me.

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  9. I used to do a lot of drawing and sketching when I was young, but not painting. I’ve done a little adult mandala coloring of late, but I don’t have time or patience to keep at it. Jim has bought the 100 colors of Crayola colored pencils so he can color the Mandalas. His actually turn out quite pretty.

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  10. I would love to be able to draw and sketch. I don’t feel I have any capacity for visual art. I think I could do fiber art, though. Husband is good at drawing snd water color, and I will encourage him to do more when he really and truly retires.

    I will be away and busy until Monday, and then I will have lots of things to post about. I am doing a 6 hour presentation on Saturday on family therapy for a division of tbe SD Counselling Association, and the I will be a free agent and ready to jump back onto the Trail.

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  11. I don’t draw very well. I find mosaic rather therapeutic, though. I signed up for a class this past week and did a little mirror piece, which is mostly finished but not grouted yet. It’s on my never-ending list of things I intend to get to real soon.

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