Where does your artistic voice comes from? It’s your story – and your story could have anything, from memories, obstacles, truths and morals. It’s important to know yourself and listen to yourself – even though it hurts. And also, hours and hours of craft and expression so the craft becomes part of your body and your expression can break through. the journey to finding your voice comes with a lot of risks and failures – but trusting that you will always find the way to your voice.
A few years ago I was finding it very difficult to be on social media.
I’d always used social media as a kind of journal to some extent, but with different identities crafted for each network, it was no wonder that I was feeling stretched.
I felt a constant struggle of selves, between authenticity, and the carefully crafted brand images everyone seemed to have.
Ultimately I followed Steve Jobs’ strategy when he took over Apple the second time (hahaha) – to cut back and simplify, and focus on the fundamentals.
Curious though – have you felt this way? How did you deal with it?
…and while it does happen, there are also lots of days when it feels terribly laborious. My plan for those days is to just show up, sit and labor, and keep reminding myself that it’s not my job to like my drawings.
Here are some of those pages –
I was 8 when I copied my first Cezanne, in the drawing class we used to attend, held every Sunday in the parish hall at the local church. There was no looking back after that. I was mesmerized by the color palettes and the compositions, though I didn’t know all these terms then. I went on to copy the old masters for a decade, running through all of the teacher’s copies of Cezanne, Renoir and Van Gogh prints, and later from my uncle’s fabulous Great Masters’ collection at home. I’m not sure what I learnt, back then, but I became familiar with the artists, their colors and lines and brush strokes.
These onion studies are a far cry from those days. It’s been decades since I attempted any color studies but oh what joy!
Inspired by the this lovely poem by Harryette Mullen:
Title borrowed from the poet Lee Herrick
At the ends of long days what a pleasure it is to sit and draw…
Ever since we have been together the brown boy and I have spent a few hours a weekend with a ritual of drawing and drinking coffee.
One way to get through these new lifestyle changes has been to keep to our rituals and find sanity in those moments of calm and pleasure. Hope you’re having a restful weekend.
Looking back for the year-end post, this is what I discovered:
29 sketchbooks in 6 years! Not bad at all! And before 2014 I have about 98 more, shown here, over the years of 2002-2013.
I’m so proud of myself for persisting with keeping a drawing journal, despite challenges! When my son was born in 2015, I couldn’t draw for the first 2 years of being a parent…I also couldn’t draw when we got married and was jealous of the the brown boy‘s constant talent! And some other times I was just lazy….
It’s always such a struggle to make time for improving my drawing skills and the craft of storytelling through drawing.
Like most hobbies there are few overlaps with my professional skills, but it’s the need for creation and expression that has persisted throughout. Some wise person once said it’s almost like you are the channel through which the expression manifests…and it sometimes does feel like that.
As a creative individual this is the practice that has helped to hone my creative voice, and as a human being the journals have helped me make sense of daily life and the constant reinvention we go through over the years.
Here’s an excerpt from an older press story:
For Basu, journaling is a process of making life. She shared with us that through these “letters for her future self” she “often remember(s) forgotten wishes and goals or events” that shaped her. It’s delightful to stroll through the worries and victories of her daily life. One can trace the arc of the conversation the young designer has had with herself over the years and feel like a confidential encounter has taken place.
So here’s to more drawing, more feedback and commentary from friends and well-wishers who see me drawing in real life – and onwards to 2020!
[Hammers in my head. Such a temptation at these times to drown into meaningless virtual worlds for short term highs…]
[But the scourge of the blank page must be tamed, issues must be faced, demons must be encountered.]
[A great opportunity to be compassionate to yourself. And by the time you’re done, you have delivered yourself from the abyss.]
It’s common knowledge that to produce something truly creative, one must spend long stretches of time spent alone. Superficial layers of consciousness needs to be sifted through to uncover the truly good stuff. Sometimes there’s the relentless tussle to go on polishing the craft to satisfaction.
But I – with my day job – do not have the luxury of those long stretches of time to be spent on drawing and making stories. Sometimes a rare early morning before anyone is wake or a Sunday afternoon when the rest of the family take a nap are the times when I squeeze in time to draw!
Imagine my frustration then when Orin’s gang comes ringing the doorbell a thousand times to check if he can come to play…