Shame on me, being in the colour bomb month of green and St Patricks day and not posting something wildly, extravagantly, and opulently green. Shame, opprobium, and the fleas of a thousand camels, may pimples erupt weekly on my butt. And I didn't even have the good grace to take the time and thought to write anything interesting and/or useful.
So why post at all? Excellent question, I knew there was a good reason I liked you so much. It's like what that beautiful, crazy, shiny bright Mr van Gogh once wrote: I am convinced that there will be a time when, let us say, I will make something good every day, on a regular basis....I am doing my very best to make every effort because I am longing so much to make beautiful things. But beautiful things mean painstaking work, disappointment, and perseverance. I know I'm not much good at making any kind of 'art', and for sure I'm not the least bit original, and chances are I never will be. None of this matters, none of it is the point. Blending one colour into another is ice cold water on a stifling Summer's day and the more I drink from that cup the thirstier I get. It's grown into a deep and insatiable longing and I'm not interested any more in analysing or understanding it. I just want another drink.
To many metaphors, not enough sense. Um. I am longing so much to make beautiful things. That's pretty much it. And it will take a lot of time and a lot of mediocre shots of mediocre practicing to get there, if I ever get there at all. It helps to have someone to share the work, and the disappointment with, thank you.
I have just decided that watercolour pencils and me are the best of bestest friends, joined heart and soul for eternity. I didn't used to like them. At all. And I only have a few odd colours left over from buying and losing cheap versions of same from the supermarket, but it has been so relaxing and stimulating sitting on my couch with a watercolour pad and some pencils and scribbling away some quick practice exercises of other people's paintings. (People practice on the great master's paintings so I figure it is completely acceptable to practice on google image search). Fast and loose is my motto, except when it comes to morals because that would be entirely inappropriate.
The pencils solve a perpetual problem I have with no space to paint and getting flicks of watercolour and acrylic and lord-knows-what splashed all around my dining area (and wallpaper and clothes and kitchen sink). I use the pencils dry and when I'm happy (ish) with what I've done, I move my picture to the kitchen bench and flick a wet brush over everything. Happy Megan to be able to sort of paint everyday without wrecking her house entirely.
I've ordered myself a moleskine watercolour sketchbook and some proper artist pencils so I can make a picture (or 20) a day. Hark the herald angels sing.
They look even better as backgrounds for letters, do they not?
I can paint a lot better than I draw, which isn't saying much at all. I'm a bit rough on it, and highly impatient. I keep wanting to write inpatient, because it feels like I am one when I pick up a pencil to sketch. It takes so long! And looks so ugly. I get very cross. I don't like that feeling of incompetence which I always feel when trying to learn the technical side of anything at all, it's so far away from being my forte that I need a special visa in my passport to even visit it.
The only useful answer to all of that is, so what? To learn is to be eternally dissatisfied.
I took these pictures on a Saturday morning, maybe the first Saturday of Autumn, maybe I can't remember. I can remember that Warren asked me what I wanted to do that day and I said I wanted to do something that wasn't work. I picked up my proper camera and found myself some pieces of a sunny fading morning.
So many things are beautiful too.
Beauty by Tony Hoagland
When the medication she was taking
caused tiny vessels in her face to break,
leaving faint but permanent blue stitches in her cheeks,
my sister said she knew she would
never be beautiful again.
After all those years
of watching her reflection in the mirror,
sucking in her stomach and standing straight,
she said it was a relief,
being done with beauty,
but I could see her pause inside that moment
as the knowledge spread across her face
with a fine distress, sucking
the peach out of her lips,
making her cute nose seem, for the first time,
a little knobby.
I’m probably the only one in the whole world
who actually remembers the year in high school
she perfected the art
of being a dumb blond,
spending recess on the breezeway by the physics lab,
tossing her hair and laughing that canary trill
which was her specialty,
while some football player named Johnny
with a pained expression in his eyes
wrapped his thick finger over and over again
in the bedspring of one of those pale curls.
Or how she spent the next decade of her life
auditioning a series of tall men,
looking for just one with the kind
of attention span she could count on.
Then one day her time of prettiness
was over, done, finito,
and all those other beautiful women
in the magazines and on the streets
just kept on being beautiful
everywhere you looked,
walking in that kind of elegant, disinterested trance
in which you sense they always seem to have one hand
I'm so desperate to paint something but no time to do it. I offer instead a copyright free vintage botanical image of a fern. I have a thing for ferns, they always seem so lush and vibrant and alive to me. The koru, that curly section of newly growing leaf, is a potent symbol of growth and renewal in my country, as is the fern itself. A lot of our sports teams wear it, it's an icon really, so I suppose having a thing for the fern is my patriotic duty. We had a lot of ponga, or silver fern, growing on the hill behind my childhood home, and I thought they were beautiful. Their thick and hairy black trunks especially. You can chop down a ponga trunk and use it to build a fence or a garden - even a house - and as dead and barren as they seem, they'll still sometime pop out a new frond. I always think that's a bit magic. My siblings told stories of jumping off the rope swing they had tied on to the branch of a large tree and landing on the leaves of a tree fern, sliding down from one to other all the way home. In the way of childhood, I knew it wasn't true and also believed it could be true. They did look like you could slide on them, those big fat tree ferns standing en masse and overlapping their fronds one to the other.
My second week of sitting in a classroom listening to lectures 8 hours a day is coming to an end, yes and amen, and surely there will be time for paintbrush to meet paper soon. Surely.
*A phrase lifted from an unrelated and irrelevant quotation by Frederick Beuchner.
I spent the entire week sitting in a classroom listening to lectures on the metatheoretical assumptions of research design. It was necessary, important, and about as fun as it sounds. I am no good to anyone, and so I offer you some Rilke, for your reading pleasure:
Who says that all must vanish? Who knows, perhaps the flight of the bird you wound remains, and perhaps flowers survive caresses in us, in their ground.
It isn't the gesture that lasts, but it dresses you again in gold armor --from breast to knees-- and the battle was so pure an Angel wears it after you.
Green is my favourite. Green is calm and vibrant and soothing. It reminds me of the feeling I used to have swimming in the rivers of my childhood, the freedom and the peace of it, the happy privilege of just being alive. If contentment had a colour, I think it would be green.
Oh lord, March already. Lordy, lord, lord. What have I been doing during my unexplained and inexplicable absence these last few weeks? Nothing. Seriously and hand-on-heart-edly, absolutely nothing. It felt like I was bowling along just fine and dandy, being all productive and shiny happy, and Wham! Bash! Kapow! Everything just slammed to a stop. This (usually) means I am taking a wrong turn somewhere in my life and my mind and body shut down until I fix it. This is mildly useful and invariably humiliating. Anyway. Course corrected! Onward!
Also, hey there, how are things with you?
Tomorrow: a colour for March. March needs a colour.
I keep going to put all my materials away, and keep making just one more. The thing (a thing) about collage is that it can take as long or as short as you like, use as many or as few materials as you have, and adjust to whatever your current skill level is. The other thing (another thing) is that very few people show their processes. The tutorials I found didn't suit the type of collage I am attracted to, so I took a few pics of my process this morning to document what I do. For what it's worth. Which isn't much.
The basics for collage are paper and glue and a background to put them on. Here I've used the back of a muesli packet I was just about to put in the recycling before I thoroughly distracted myself from any and all household chores. Because it is just cardboard, I used a glue stick for the paper. If you want to use something like gel medium or liquid glue, you'll need a stronger background to stop it drying warped. Ask me how I know. Paper doesn't like to get wet. Them's just the facts.
You can gesso to build a stronger base, especially if you're using paint, but I didn't this time. I just used a small amount of white acrylic to blur the background (which was a page ripped out of an old and not very good book. I don't mind ripping up books when they are old and not very good). Usually I use my fingers, but usually I also get paint over the wall and floor and my clothes and the pet cat, if I had a pet cat.
You can use anything that'll stick. This one was mostly leftover bits I happened to have lying around, plus a gratuitous cupcake wrapper. I did use a used tea-bag, gross, Pinterest made me do it. I washed the tea-leaves out first, promise.
I was going to look up nice lovely words in a nice new page of my nice old and not very good book, but I forced myself to use the three lines left over from the one page I had already used. My usual process is to just cut out a few dozen phrases and play around with them, so it was a good challenge to limit myself to so few.
I also originally glued on a few words from this discarded yarn wrapping, but I didn't like it.
So I painted over it. I had planned to use white paint but also had some black handy and my impulse fairy, who is alert to opportunity at all times, quickly chose the black before I had a chance to think about it. She's not interested in what looks best, I can't even tell you what she's interested in, all I know is she can be every bit as much miss as she is hit.
Lucky in this case it was hit. The black worked much better.
And voila. I stopped there because I most often keep going until everything is ruined, and unlike my paintings I never get through the other side and unruin them again. I like it just like this, simple as it is.
The point of them? I can't tell you. But they look good in a big white box frame, which is point enough for me.