Its Okay Not to Be Okay

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The final Piece

This piece is more than just an artwork. I lost count how many months I have been working on it, I believe it was sometime around May, that I just started this piece, and now in November, its finally done. but it was a struggle, and honestly thats okay.

I struggled, I really struggled, I stopped working for days, weeks at a time. refusing to start a new piece. I kept it on the aisle, refusing to remove it. It wasn’t going anyway. My usually self would have hidden the piece half finished waiting to be recycled. This time however I refused, breaking old habits is very hard. I wanted to face my self. That sometimes its okay, not to be okay.

This is what this painting means to me, I wasn’t okay, I don’t know why. I was just not okay. Family and friends were all good. Work was progressing, usual stress nothing out of the ordinary. But I just wasn’t okay. I couldn’t paint. I couldn’t make something, I guess it was some sort of an artist’s block. I am not sure. I spent hours just staring at this canvas. It didn’t come naturally to me as it usually did. I was facing a wall I never knew existed.

I am not sure why the wall was there, maybe subconsciously I wasn’t okay and this was my method of coping. Which is horrible, because it only made things worse. I felt useless as an artist. I wasn’t an artist. I couldn’t paint something so simple. I felt broken. That may by an exaggeration, lets not take it literally, but thats what it felt like. Broken.

During this time I was participating in Ink October, I could draw or sketch. But I couldn’t paint. So I felt broken, like a part of my body just stopped functioning or my brain just couldn’t comprehend. At moments I would just get angry, and yell at the canvas, that for obvious reasons didn’t solve anything but it made me feel better, momentarily at least.

I cried, yes, I did, because I booked a time to paint, got everything ready, then for 3 hours staring into the painting, the paints drying out on the palette. I did nothing. I packed everything up, ‘I hate this’ and I cried. Might seem utterly and completely foolish or silly. But It was me accepting momentary defeat.

I persevered though. Because I finished the piece. I would like to say I am over joyed and screaming from the roof tops, but no I am just content. I am sure there is something that I could have done better, but right now. Its good. and I am good. 

I am not sure if over came my block or If I am better. I honestly don’t know. Because I don’t know what caused it. All I do know is that I didn’t give up. I fought to break my old habits and faced myself without inspiration or bursts of creativity. I fought myself through it, by realizing that sometimes you are not okay, for no reason at all, and thats Okay. Just keep fighting.


Below are my trials

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Ink October

What is ink October?

Ink October was an initiative started by Jake Parker, he started back in 2009 and wanted to improve his skills in drawing so every October he creates 31 ink drawing for the 31 one days of October – you can read more about this work here mrjakeparker.com/inktober –

I had no idea what Ink October was, My co-worker fresh from her return from study leave informed me about it. She an amazing artist herself encouraged me to participate. And so I did. Albite I didn’t create 31 drawings.. .I created 9 * Avoiding eye contact*  BUT I am actually very proud of the drawings that I did. I was so hesitant when I first started, I wasn’t sure what do to. I took so much time, a little too much time.

The second piece, I dreaded doing I was thinking – great! now how the hell do I top myself –  about And I decided to do something wacky and weird. Like my brain, and me in general. When I was done was so hesitant of positing it and publishing it for the world to see. HOWEVER! To my surprise I got the most feedback on my wacky – random drawings.

It opened up eyes to see that sometimes putting yourself out there can be a little frighting but you can so much back. The amount of love and encouragement I received really helped my achieve one of my mini goals for Ink October, which was to draw directly in pen and not sketch it out. And I did – Happy monkey dance – 

 

To see all my Ink October drawings, please go to the artwork tab for Ink October.

 

PS. I am not afflicted with MR.Jack Parker or mrjakeparker.com/inktober

 

The Beginning

I never really had any formal training in painting before. I did have the privilege of taking art in school but we focused mostly on, the color theory, different periods of arts and still life drawings. It wasn’t until my final year, taking AS Level art did I have the opportunity to explore concept development and mixing my own style. However, I never really painted. I was always to afraid, and would stick to what I knew; which was Pencils and pattern designs.

At University I didn’t really have the time to practice my art, I majored in Strategic Communication. Apart of my course was advertising, here I had the opportunity to learn Digital Design; Creating layouts, logos, and concepts. I loved learning how to re-create my hand drawn designs into logo’s or patterns.  I explored into a field which was new to me, and helps me today at work. However, I promised myself that I’ll learn how to paint. What ever it takes to learn.

After Graduating University, I signed up for one – on – one art classes, it was the best thing I did for myself. My instructor was amazing, she was extremely talented and she was constantly pushing me to do better. I explained to her that I wanted to paint like the greats; like Degas, referencing his  The Ballet Class,  I wanted to learn how to create paintings from the post impression and impression periods.

We began by painting “The one” referencing a painting from an Italian Artist’ that was being sold at the store. We focused on one section of the artists’ painting.

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Mapping out the drawing, I did go into much detail, something I had to learn not do while painting. I had to adapt to do fast sketching and relay on my painting to fill in the blanks.

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The mountains, painting them was an eye opening experience, I was so afraid of mixing colors on the canvas and not per-mixing the colors. I gained confidence in painting straight from the tube.

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The sky! The Sky! The sky, it did it for me, I couldn’t believe it. How simple yet effective painting was. How to angle your brush to get the effect. Painting the sky reflected into painting the Sea. I loved reflected the mountains into the Sea. That really gave it the realistic feel.

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The Railing, this by far was the most difficult for me to paint. I have an issue with perspective, I just couldn’t see it. I had to struggle to see the perspective. Honestly this was the first time during the classes that I was struggling. I found it very frustration to focus and using the right colors. I remember being very annoyed with myself that I just couldn’t seem to figure it out. But with the help if my instructor I learned. Today I do avoid elements with perspective as I am not that confident, but it doesn’t stop me from trying.

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All most there. Having the shrubs and tree there really brought the piece together.

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‘The One’
I called The One, because it is the painting that started it all for me, I began to believe in myself. This painting took almost 10 hours in total, one hour sessions.

The journey of this paint was transformative. I realized that I do have a talent I just needed to work on it. Writing this now its been almost year since I painted it. I never realized how much emotion it brings to me. I was a fresh graduate, just started at my job. This painting has a piece of my heart because it made me believe in myself.

I was always told art was a hobby and I shouldn’t waste time on it, painting this piece was the moment I said to myself its no longer a hobby, it is who I am. I am an artist. And art is what I shall make.