I have an Art Book which I bought for each student in a class I am teaching this year. It supplements the curriculum. There is a particular assignment for each day of the year. These are short and develop a pattern of daily practice. Mixed mediums are used on each page. Gel pens, pencils, markers, fine lined, highlighters, crayons, colored pencils, water color, colored paper, glue, tape and scissors are all used in some form or fashion weekly, if one works daily at the task of such a practice. Some students wait and do many exercises at one sitting and others work on them daily. Those keeping up with the daily practice show growth and creativity with ease. Those, including myself, who start and stop and try to catch up quickly, miss out on the peaceful meditative benefits of daily practicing a creative outlet such as this and experience stress and a bit of adrenaline rush to beat the deadline. I’ve taken up this assignment also to chronicle and track with my students to learn the nuances and pitfalls of this project.
The picture above quickly drew me in and reminded me of my book when I first started the project at the beginning of the school year and shows contrast to where I am today in the book. It was clean and pristine and organized and linear at first. But now, it is a mixture of creativity, messes, total spills, smudges, proud moments to total failures to cleaver interpretations which I all call “mine.”
Just this morning I looked down at the palm of my hand to surprisingly find yellow highlighter from last nights assignment where I hurriedly and awkwardly had held more than one writing utensil during a tense episode of Fargo where the suspense had built and tension caused me to forget what I was juggling. The yellow reminder made me smile. And, isn’t that what art is about, producing an emotional response? Even if it is our own.
This exercise is also teaching that life is tied to what we have to say, but also to “how” we say it. Some days I take my time and contemplate the best use of colors and form and medium and … other days I am clever and find a way to do the assignment in record time with a fine line or single word. Life is much like this book. We sometimes rush and make messes and get angry and throw things or my personal favorite, slam doors. Other days we are clear headed and creativity flows.
So, if your book looks clean and pristine and linear where maybe you are at the beginning of a project or a special time in your life then, great! And, if you are the later pic of mix, blend and splashes, that is great too! For whichever resonates with you is the process not the end result. It is the journey we take. My dad has said often, “… life goes on with or without us.” Take the journey. Try the daily lessons, look for the different layers, textures, mediums, alternate realities, angles, puzzles and know that life will always offer a mix, blend or a splash. Find a way to experience them all.
Reminds me of Bobby Darin’s song… “A-well-a, splish splash, I forgot about the bath
I went and put my dancing shoes on, yeah!”