After having felt such a lack in the creativity department for the past many months, I think the magic has returned! All of a sudden, I can't wait to capture what I see in paint (and stitching too!)
I first took up oil painting back when my children were all quite young. I realized after just a short while that I could either be a good painter OR a good mother, but not both as the urge to paint consumed nearly all my time. So I set it aside. Then when I was in nursing school in Iowa, the urge to start painting again hit hard. Every moment that I wasn't studying, I was painting and sketching. For three years I painted steadily. I sold a few, gave some as gifts, tucked some away as "learning exercises" and framed a few others to hang on my own walls.
Once I moved to Flagstaff, I struggled with the poor light in my apartment and not enough space. Though I continued to paint for a time, it became very frustrating. So instead, I turned my creative eye towards stitching and photography, both of which I deeply enjoy. All the while, I still yearned to paint. For the time being, I contented myself with watercolor and ink sketches. I love doing them and how portable they are, the fact that I can take it anywhere. But it was oil painting I was longing to do.
Jump forward to this past autumn when we moved into this house. How wonderful to now have the space ~ though not huge, it's enough ~ and good light ~ though it isn't the coveted north light that most painters crave, it is still bright enough to paint throughout the day. I set up my easels and got the paint and palettes ready. But nothing came. Each time I tried to paint ~ all I got was total junk. It felt like I was trying to force something that wasn't there. It was terribly discouraging.
So I decided to just settle for a while. I spent the time reading about painting, taking photos, visiting museums and exhibits ~ learning and getting my mind back in a painting mindset. And now, after nearly 6 years of not painting, the muse seems to be back ~ each day I get up ready and anxious to put brush to canvas and capture the lovely small scenes around me! The paint flows almost effortlessly and I am not longer fighting for mere scrawls and scribbles.
I love being able to capture the small moments that delight ~ glimpses of sunlight on my neighbor's roses and the play of sunlight and shadow on their cottage and the canoe peeking out from behind the shed, the dappled play of sunlight on leaves. It's these small things that make my heart sing!
In August, I am blessed to be taking a workshop with Marc Hanson, a painter I have admired for many years. He is featured in the July/August issue of Plein Air Magazine! Though I have had a few art classes over the years, I consider myself primarily a self-taught painter ~ learning by copying the work of masters, working exercises in various painting books and by participating in online groups such as WetCanvas. I really look forward to a bit more formal instruction and am eager to see where it takes my painting!