Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sage advice from the Squeen of Silly

It's now May and I can look back on the life changing events in April with different eyes.
On the 1 to 10 scale, Larkin's easy birth and the joy of spending time with Lila who continually makes me laugh with glee was a 10. Rod's fall on the other end of the scale was a 1. So sad that with a little thought on my part it would never have happened.
Now he's put in the position of being disabled for 6 months. The bright spot is feeling the support of his sister Kathleen, who drove over from AZ to be nurse extraordinaire, the professional advice of another sister, Rosie, and the numerous friends who immediately reached out. Willie, the ice machine was a god-send. Neil, Diane, Pam, Paula, Rose, your food sustained the soul, as well as the body. Dennis and Derek, your books provided much needed escape. Countless cards from others broke the monotony of the days.

Because of these events I put on hold the online class, The Art of Silliness, I had signed up for.

Taught by Carla Sonheim snowballjournals it was meant to be an exercise to free the inner child in you and make drawing fun. It began on April Fool's Day and
each succeeding day in April Carla sent an email with lots of funny jokes, sayings and a drawing assignment that encouraged sillyness.
I think I completed day 1, then got caught up in babies and knees. I have each one downloaded and am so looking forward to silly days in May.

Carla concluded with some sage advice which I would like to share.

A week or so ago fellow silleur Louise D. emailed me with a question, and I asked her if I could share our exchange with you. She graciously agreed. Thank you Louise!!!

From Louise
Miss Squeen...I have a wee frustration on one of my silly assignments. It's the one about drawing a picture about the poem with the granny apple. Well, my imagination worked FINE when I figured out what I wanted to do, but when I tried to draw what was in my imagination, that' when things got ugly!!! My Eiffel tower didn't look like anything remotely close to an Eiffel tower and I tried to put little silly people all over the place, but they don't look like people at all because I don't know how to draw a face in profile. I couldn't make them dance because I couldn't figure out how to draw people from different angles....and everyone's hands look like scribbles. I believe I was doing better at drawing a picture such as this when I was in 2nd grade!!! I feel frustrated because it doesn't look like my imagination was doesn't look silly and nothing resembles what it should. Do you want to see? Can you give me some advice? Thank you, oh royal Squeen bee. Louise

From Carla
I would love to see it... can you email me a copy?

I'm pretty sure I can speak to your frustrations even without looking at it, though! I think it might be a case of expecting too much from yourself!!

But send me the drawing and I will be able to speak more intelligently.

(Louise sends drawing the next day, and you can go to the Sillyblog and see it there)

I got it... I'm "down" today with allergies and so not up to responding intelligently... however, at first glance, your drawing is delightfully "childlike" -- in that wonderful, good way Picasso talks about.

From Louise
Child-like yes, but out of whack too because I can't figure out how to do more realistic hands, profiles, a group of dancing fruit people, etc. It would be great if I wanted it that way...I guess the problem arises when that's the BEST I CAN do... it's rather embarrassing actually :)

From Carla
egarding your drawing and frustration with it... I totally hear what you're saying and hope that I can help in some way....

I'm assuming that you did this drawing completely from your imagination, correct? In other words, you didn't have a photo of the Eiffel Tower in front of you? Or a person in profile?

For some reason with drawing many of us assume that we "should" be able to draw these things completely from our heads. The truth is, all these are very complicated shapes and forms, and until we've drawn the Eiffel Tower or a human face in profile (or dancing people or hands) many many times, even the "best" artists need a reminder of how these things actually look (and would go online or to the library to get photo references). (PS... I think your hands are WONDERFUL just how they are!)

I wonder a lot about how and why we have such high expectations for ourselves when it comes to drawing. It could be a generational thing.... many of us who are older than 40 were "taught" that only those who could draw like Norman Rockwell, for example, were "artists." Then many of us stopped drawing at all in 3rd or 4th grade and labeled ourselves as someone who "can't draw."

The truth is, drawing is a journey, a process, and a skill to be developed and enjoyed over time... Try to think of it like learning a language... you start taking a Spanish class, for example, and learn a few words or phrases. You struggle with the accent. Every once in awhile you come out with a sentence that is both grammatically correct AND the proper accent... yay! But if you've only been trying to learn Spanish for a few weeks, you would hardly expect yourself to be fluent... it's the same with drawing... it is totally like learning a language.... think of the Eiffel Tower as a "word" or the profile of a human face as another "word." Pretty soon, when you have said it/drawn it enough times, it will start to be part of your "vocabulary" and will flow out more effortlessly. In the beginning, though, you have to keep looking it up in the dictionary!!

If you can think of your drawing here as a "sketch" or a "note" just to jot down your (fabulous) ideas, you might not be so hard on yourself!


Please, PLEASE don't be so hard on yourself with your drawing! Like anything, the more you do it, the "better" you will get.

But also, like anything -- playing tennis, learning a language, learning to dance the salsa, etc. -- you will have "good days" and "bad days." No matter how proficient you get at any of these things, some days you just won't have the energy or patience to do them very well. But it's okay!! It's all part of the bigger picture that is life. (Good and bad... pretty and not-so-pretty... happy and sad...)

Thank you again!

Carla Sonheim

I'm especially looking forward to Carla's book being released in July

and just discovered she illustrated another book, which looks like it's right up my God/dog alley.

Thank you, Carla!!!

and on another note, have no idea how that photobucket square arrived, nor do i know how to get rid of it... any suggestions would be much appreciated.

1 comment:

Derek said...

It looks like the photobucket box is coming from your background image provider "the cutest blog on the block" trying to display this image that doesn't exist anymore:

Just pick another background and it should go away. Hope that helps!