I feel like I haven’t done much of any art for quite a while–buying a house that needed a fair amount of updating has taken a lot of work and energy. But I realized that while I have done very little color pencil art, I have not neglected my creativity.
First, the painting of a great many rooms . . . one bathroom and a stairwell/entry still remain (and desperately need it–once I finish scraping the peeling paint in one and priming the patchwork in the other), but I spent several weeks painting pretty much the entire rest of the house, thankfully with the help of some family and friends. Decorating has been rather fun as well, figuring out what to put where in lovely arrangements that will hopefully discourage me from piling papers on every flat surface . . .
After we moved in, I wanted to improve my wicker chair that was incredibly uncomfortable to sit on (the cushion was near non-existent). Some of you know that before drawing sort of took over my life, I primarily did seamstress work–costuming, alterations . . . a bit of upholstery. So it was fun to go fabric shopping again and create something both pretty and comfortable.
With the extra fabric from the cushions (I bought a lot, since I really liked it and the price was very reasonable for upholstery jacquard), I decided to go creative on the 100-year-old, beat-up piano: brighten it up a bit, since it is very dark and no longer the rich mahogany it once was*. Painting pianos is a major commitment in both time and effort, and I didn’t want to do anything irreversible, so instead I upholstered the large wood panels on the top and bottom. Easily removed should I so choose, but I am enjoying it right now.
*The outside may be darkened from severe alligatoring of the finish, but inside the piano, where it is protected from the elements and most human beings and their subsequent chaos, the beauty of the original mahogany finish can still be appreciated.
Another creative pursuit that captured my attention in December was music transcription (there’s a great online program called Noteflight that makes it super easy to write music). My grandpa died shortly before Christmas (no, not COVID; lymph cancer), and before I realized there wouldn’t be a funeral until spring at least, I was thinking of music that he would like played for his funeral (and as the only pianist in the family, it’s a position I volunteered for). He was a huge fan of westerns, John Wayne films in particular, so I spent many hours listening to film scores that I couldn’t readily find sheet music to, plunking along with them on the piano and transcribing them into a medley. Regardless if I ever play it again, it was an extremely cathartic exercise.
Now, glancing back up at the picture of our dining room at the beginning of this post, you can see a small nook above the buffet; not a convenient place for hanging let alone viewing art, and I don’t collect vases or plates to display up there. But for fun these last couple weeks (and while I still had a full can of Wedgewood Grey to repaint should my imaginings not translate well to reality), I decided to paint a MURAL. It’s not something I’ve ever actually done before, and the thought of painting something so large (though admittedly, this is still a quite small mural) was rather intimidating. But I am quite pleased with how it turned out! I used the leftover wall paint from the kitchen and bedroom (Woodlawn Blue, White Heron, and Newburg Green, all Benjamin Moore colors), and painted lady slippers above the buffet, using photos I’ve taken of small white lady slippers, Cypripedium candidum, as inspiration.
A friend encouraged me to take a 5-day (though over the course of two weeks) online class on becoming a thriving Christian artist (thriving being something that artists in general are not necessarily known for, never mind Christian artists). There has been some homework involved, all along the lines of “create a piece of art in response to today’s message,” so I have been faithful to complete the homework, as unspectacular as it might be (I’m not generally a swift artist, so it’s all things I can do in a couple hours). And none of it have I done with colored pencils–calligraphy pens, brush pens (a Christmas gift a year ago I finally had a chance to try out), and oil pastels, but nothing of my usual medium. So here are a couple examples of my homework:
So my conclusion is that while I have not been very active in color pencil art, I have not been lazy or lacking in creativity–it’s just that in this past season, I’ve had a chance to do all sorts of things I don’t normally have time for and even things that I’ve never done, which has been fun. But it’s also a bit comforting to know that I’ll be back to my more regular artistic endeavors soon–I’ve received a manuscript for Isaac Book #3 (title to come) by Angela Henderson! So stay tuned as we hammer out the illustration schedule and publishing date!