Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Back to Creation

Mostly on this blog I've posted about consumptive experiences.  Video games, board games, movies, music… in short, "media."  I experience media, in whatever form, and then sometimes I post thoughts about it here.  However I do feel like part of life is adding to the conversation, not just being a consumer.  Writing is one form of contributing (given the sort of writing I'm doing is derivative, not purely creative, but it's something).  However there is a key way that I've been working on contributing over the past couple years that I haven't mentioned here at all.

I've always had some aptitude for committing visuals to the page.  But art is one of those things where in our youth we're all equals and over time the skill level spreads out dramatically.  Through school I drifted in that awkward middle space: expressive enough to be considered artistic by normal people, but not nearly good enough to actually be an artist.  That's it there, isn't it?  Artistic vs. artist.  Or maybe more appropriately: "artist-ish."

As I continued taking classes in school it both became clear that I had some knack for this, but also that I lacked the skill and inspiration to really do anything meaningful with it.  Skill is something you can work on, and the inability to understand the incremental improvements is something that most people see as a brick wall when it comes to art.  Inspiration is something else entirely, in that it's difficult to manufacture.  The short of this story is that I let art slip out of my life, much like I did for music.  And while I know that for a variety of reasons that I'm not cut out to be an artist, there is a great need in my life for creation and art is a fantastic way to satisfy that need.

So it is that about two years ago I did something about it.  With the help of a dear friend, I left my comfort zone of pencil and paper and picked up a paint brush.

I started with watercolors.  And I think this piece here is the first I was happy with.  Yes, it's Metroid fan art.  Remember what I said about inspiration being a problem?  Sometimes you need to borrow a spark.

Before too long I worked my way into acrylics.  I started on canvas paper, not wasting real canvas on my initial fumbling.  This piece here is one that I like.  Bats are adorable.

The next step in confidence was canvas board.  Still not real canvas, but a larger vote of confidence.  This one of a kraken attack is one that I like.

Painting is meditative; working with physical colors is a wonderful (if unforgiving) experience.  I also sit in front of a computer all day, so I wanted to keep my distance from digital painting.  But it has a place, especially as a means of experimentation.  This piece here is one of the digital paintings I've done.

I'm now at the point now where I feel like I can use real canvas and not be wasting it.  This guy here is a return to the subject matter of that original watercolor.  I like him for many reasons, but not least of them is how much growth the piece shows.

Waste a canvas?  Ha!  How about eight?  This project is a series of paintings, which I've failed to adequately photograph together.  I'm very happy with them.  The next step is to figure out how I'm going to hang them, because I'm now willing to hang my own art in my own home.  Progress.

With all this exploration in color and texture I felt like I earned the right to return to the cold hard world of pen and pencil.  I just completed a rather ambitious project in that space which you'll be hearing about here very soon.

That's been my journey so far.  I will try to comment on it more here as I feel is appropriate, but if you really want to track what I'm up to the best way is via my DeviantArt page.  You can get a feed on that, and I've also added that as a gallery widget to this blog on the right.

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