Lockdown Lessons…

 In Arty Heaven, Encaustic Wax, Life's Journey

Last week I should have been hosting an Art Retreat Week…. I’d created a beautiful intimate space to teach all things encaustic, with a good dollop of space to dream, think, inspire and create….

Here are the details of  what we SHOULD have been doing…! 

Then of course, Corona hit, and all of our best laid plans changed completely.

I was sad and uneasy, on many levels, for many reasons, which I won’t go into here… But, when I get to that place, I go in.  I batten down the hatches, and go underground to process everything.

I had been doing daily live videos, keeping all upbeat, and getting great feedback, but the truth is, something wasn’t gelling, and I needed to work out exactly what that was.

My art mentors told me to just STOP EVERYTHING and give myself a break… I think they could see I was about to implode!  Of course, I replied with the three trillion reasons of why I couldn’t stop everything right now… but I knew deep down that I needed to.

Everything had gotten out of proportion, and if I came down to one more sink full of dirty dishes, I was likely to lynch someone!   I hadn’t been to my studio in weeks, and the experience of living with hubby and our two boys, pumped full of testosterone and frustration 24 / 7, alongside everything else going on in the world, was as much as I could manage some days.

After a few days of laying low, being kind to myself, painting my nails, watching Netflix, and not playing the role of ‘the magic fairy who clears everything away’ I slowly came back to being me.

I had a total digital detox… 

I didn’t open my computer, or pick up my phone more than once or twice a day.  

Whilst it’s fabulous to keep in touch with friends and family, and essential for everybody’s wellbeing; the constant WhatsApp messages pinging at you, e-mails flying in, notifications of being tagged, please share this amongst all your friends…. do this… don’t do that… on top of digesting all that’s been going on in the world… it was like Tavistock Goosey Fair, I just wanted to get off the waltzer ride, it was going waaay too fast… 

Give me a break….!

 

I’d set up a temporary work space in the spare room, so I didn’t need to travel to the studio every day, and sat there one night, just me…. chilled glass of prosecco… peace and quiet… and started mark making…. 

I wasn’t thinking about what I should create for the camera to upload to social media… the quiet pressure to always ‘be visible’…. 

I wasn’t deciding the next easy project to share, one that will come across on video, but not be too scary to put out there in case it doesn’t go quite right… 

**spoiler alert** not every piece artists create are successful straight away…  how terrifying would that be to have a complete basket case failure, broadcast live on social media…?!   

No… Far safer to stick with the simpler stuff….!

 

Anyhow, I digress… chilled glass of prosecco… spare room… I started a portrait… actually, I started two… of my art mentors, Leigh and Paula, they had given me permission to paint them if I needed a subject…

The next four hours flew by in a flash… base layers and outlines created… I improvised with the materials I had, and discovered a far more exciting way to get the base layer down than I had been using previously…  

I found myself humming to myself, happy, totally lost in the joy of working out those contours and expressions.  

The warm evening breeze was wafting in through the window, and I suddenly realised I was back to being me… All it needed was a bit of peace and quiet, and some art materials.

 

I loved painting these portraits SO MUCH… it was something I hadn’t done for ages… and couldn’t work out why. 

I’d been getting my online courses into shape, and other smaller projects, but avoiding the portraits…. WHY….?

Something important was digging at me, and needed a bit of closer investigation.

I went back, and read the blog I wrote when I took Lora Murphy’s masterclass in London a few years ago….

And then it hit me…

I looked at the first portrait I did… (full photos in the blog above)

I had hated it at the time… I’d found the process interesting, but as for my piece, I could see EVERYTHING that was wrong with it… the face was too long, and too narrow… I didn’t like the greens I’d used… the colour of the blue and purple on her cheek looked like a huge bruise… I couldn’t see past all those faults. 

I think I remember ripping it up and put it in the bin during one of my studio clear outs, I was so frustrated with its imperfections, but will have to check…!

However, during this recent period of introspection, I looked at it again… I zoomed in, and I saw the nose…. the eyes… the lips… they are freaking awesome…  Did I really paint those on my first attempt..?!!!

The shapes, shadows and textures of that wax… there is something other worldly about them…

But, I had missed all of that…. 

 

I was so focused on what wasn’t right, and that I hadn’t captured it perfectly, straight off the bat…

It hit me like a ton of bricks…

 

FFS Julie, it was your first ever attempt at a wax portrait… cut yourself some blooming SLACK…!!!!

 

I have seen it repeated in many areas of my work… not sharing, because something wasn’t quite right… 

So, this has been my biggest lock down lesson… 

Time to stop looking at what’s NOT right… instead to focus on what IS right. 

Screw the rest…. Let go of the perfectionism…  Done is better than perfect, and share it anyway…  If something isn’t clear, the right person will ask for clarification… 

I’m not aiming for photo realistic portraits, more to capture the essence of somebody… to allow the wax to do the talking… it will rest into it’s perfect place, with or without my fear or perfectionism, as long as I allow it.

So, whilst I am sad that the art retreat weeks couldn’t go ahead, I’m sure we would have had an amazing time…

I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned during this enforced reflection.   I’ve received a whole new layer of understanding, and confidence in my work…

There will be more portraits, and more of what makes me happy. 

Warm summer evenings, prosecco, and paint…. well, wax…  my kind of paint…

Here are the portraits I created…

What have your biggest lock down lessons been?   Are you letting fear and perfectionism get in the way?

See my other portraits here:  https://artyheaven.com/original-wax-art-portrait/

Or contact me to commission your own.

Recommended Posts
Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt
0

Start typing and press Enter to search