Wednesday, February 15, 2012

In the Zone

The skill I've used most in my life is probably writing. Journals, business writing, curricula, grants, fiction, poetry, resumes and cover letters, publicity, journalism, letters, now blogs. There may even be more examples that have slipped my mind. But writing is arduous. For the most part, it is a slow process to create the first draft, and sometimes the editing borders on painful. Creating art is not like that. I suppose it's a left brain-right brain thing. When I move away from my to-do list and out of my chattering mind, I can play with the myriad of tools and materials and collected ephemera in my craft studio. When I approach my old art table with a "let's see what happens" today attitude, that's when I lose my self in "the zone."

On the weekend I took a three hour watercolor workshop with Susan Lingg through the North Carolina Arboretum's Adult Education Fine Arts Program. She was an inspirational role model ("remember to breathe, get excited about your chance to play with color...."), an experienced technician ("drag the paint away from the dab, soak it in the puddle, scoop the water like a duck going down for a fish...."), and an enthusiastic coach ("that's good, see what you've got there?"). 

While there, I was uncertain about what I was doing. I had always shied away from watercolor, acrylic being so much more forgiving as you can hide your mistakes by layering on more paint. But Susan made it fun and I allowed myself to experiment. It was an exercise of left brain student meets right brain artist. Jangling, but do-able.

Yesterday I played at my own table. I finished the two cards we began at the workshop and dabbled a little on my own. Hmm, not terrible and definitely more freeing than I expected. I may even buy a few tubes of professional grade paint.


  1. So enjoyed your post Sharon!
    I love to paint, and disappear into the feelings of color.
    I only like watercolors...and only CARAN d'ACHE OF SWITZERLAND's extra fine gouache.
    I have tried so many brands.
    And the only gold and silver I use is one that is from Germany called Schminke.
    And hot pressed paper...oh...let me know if you want to know more information!
    I really like your paintings!

    1. Thanks for the recommendations, Sadhvi - I will check out these brands. Susan Lingg, my instructor, told us to begin with the three primary colors, perhaps two blues, two reds and two yellows, and work with them for a while before considering the "more exotic" blends. Doing watercolor is almost as soothing as silk painting, which I had to give up when the fumes of the resists began to twist my brain.