Lost and Found

"Spirit of the Street" a drawing which didn't work out the way I wanted it to.

“Spirit of the Street” a drawing which didn’t work out the way I wanted it to.

Notes from my art journal:

1st October 2015:  “Today I am lost in limbo.  I have all this new material [from a recent trip to Japan] but in my current state it seems old and ‘done’.  I’m tired and grumpy and spent hours this morning looking at my photos trying to think of an angle for a blog post but I gave up and did some gardening instead.”

6th October 2015:  “I’ve found my way back into drawing today.  It is with an urban-scape of Pontocho lights which I photographed around 3 a.m. on 29th June 2014.  At 260 x 260 mm it is quite small; perfect for getting back into drawing.  Yesterday I found a large composition to do but I realised I’m not in the right mental state to go straight into something big.  I need to warm up small first.”

12th October 2015:  “Alone in Kyoto” is done.  It was no fun to do and yet it has worked beautifully – just like drawings on Rives paper tend to do.  I have been feeling absolutely dreadful as if my energy level has plunged.  But this drawing is reassuring and gives me a sense of optimism.  All is not lost.  The beautiful result of my miserable labours has revitalised me.”

13th October 2015:  “Just now I changed the name of my new drawing to “Spirit of the Street”.  I had an interesting dream:  I was on a beach, on the sand, with a group of “believing” women.   They were very serene.  The sea was above us – suspended in the sky.  From below we could see fish and other marine creatures in the waves.  How could this be?  Why didn’t gravity pull the sea down and engulf us?  The answer was because of the pure belief of the women that all was as it should be.  The sea was hanging up there while we, underneath it, were dry.  But I couldn’t believe it.  I wanted to, but my thoughts could not believe the sea should be up there.  So doubt crept in.  And my doubt infected the women.  One of them said the ground felt “soft” and we started to run.  But the sea came down and we were engulfed in dark water and we all drowned.”

14th October 2015:  “Still in pretty bad shape mentally.  I can’t come to any decision about what to draw.  I need to reach into my head and RECLAIM the reason I draw.”

15th October 2015:  “That drawing really wasn’t good.  I chucked it out just now. Oblivion.  I’ve been pretty much IN an art nervous breakdown these last few days and this morning I was questioning my sanity.  I couldn’t move.  I was mentally gridlocked. Whatever I thought to draw, I’d change my mind – racked by indecision.  Finally I chose a fabulous pose of Katsutomo which I will draw on Arches Aquarelle.  This will be a whole new experience.”

23rd October 2015:   “The Katsutomo drawing on the Aquarelle is going along so well.  I have managed to get rid of my anxiety and I feel quite normal again.  I’m completely enjoying art once more.  Found!”

Current state of the drawing I am working on. Still much work to do at this stage.

Current state of the drawing I am working on. Still much work to do at this stage…as I begin to build up colours on the kimono.

Postscript: Well, wouldn’t you know it?  Now when I look at that drawing, I quite like it. I’m back in balance again, so I don’t mind about its loss.  Plus, its demise led me to the wonderful new paper, Arches Aquarelle 300 gsm, hot press.

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13 thoughts on “Lost and Found

  1. artandmoondreams

    Your ‘Spirit of the Street’ had a wonderful dreamy energy about it. Love your current piece. Thank you for the peek inside the process, the struggle, the fascinating dream, the journey. Very inspiring.

  2. sherrytelle

    I wish I had known you were feeling that way, I would have bolstered your spirits! I am so drawn to your street scenes and mourn the loss of this one! I find myself transported into the world you create with them, and travel vicariously through your vision. I find each of them has such a calm alone at night feeling that I love.

    1. juliepodstolski

      Well, Cousin, I don’t like to put something like this mood “out there” while I’m IN it. It is okay once it is over; in hindsight.
      How dumb to chuck a drawing out when one is feeling down as one is not seeing straight. Next time I will hold off with the chucking. But then I’m known in my family as a chucker. Once a chucker, always a chucker.

  3. occasionalartist

    Oh Julie, what a dark place to visit, glad you are back to your art again. When I get that blue, I dive into pattern, there is something so reassuring and soothing about the repetition and I don’t have to worry if it is worthy. We all find our own ways, but it is the continuing on with art no matter the form that helps with the healing I find. Karen

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Karen, I like to share these moments now and then on the blog because I think they are all just part of being an artist so it is good to air-and-share them. I also think that it is my nature NOT to experiment with new materials therefore I have to get really desperate before I plunge into something new ie. this new watercolour paper. Matthew (husband) says growth is painful. So perhaps I could call last week “growing pains”.

  4. anna warren portfolio

    That feeling is awful isn’t it? Very hard when you are in it to feel it will ever be different. Your journal entries are very eloquent, not sure I can be analytical at all when I have lost confidence in everything I do! Gradually I am realising these times pass, but getting through is not easy. I’m so glad you have found your optimism again! The Arches is a very nice paper, but as I mentioned on Facebook, the pads are different from the sheets, with a textured pattern on one side that I really don’t like. I use the 300gsm (not sure what you got) but it takes punishment! I find it hard to get the detail I need in miniatures, but it’s not a problem for larger works. I do like the gentle light of your chucked drawing, but I’m sure you will revisit it. The new drawing is looking magnificent, great composition, texture, all the things that magically gel for a really good piece.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Eloquent journal entries; that’s nice. I believe I had half an eye out to using that rotten old time for a blog even when I was in that mood. After all, why waste something like that? I didn’t know if I would write a post on it or not but when I thought about it on blog-writing day, it seemed logical to look back at the journal. During that time I cleaned kitchen cupboards out, gardened and posted several blogs of photos – so it wasn’t like I was incapacitated for everything.
      Drats! I wish I hadn’t bought those pads of paper now. I may try to swap them tomorrow for the loose sheets. I noticed they had some in stock. Or maybe I’ll just keep them. Uh oh – there’s that indecision again!!!

      1. anna warren portfolio

        Sometimes you just need to do simple domestic tasks, they can be satisfying in a non-brain draining way. I often prepare little cutouts that may one day inspire a painting. Maybe you should return the large pad of paper but buy a smaller one and just experiment on it for now. It’s not dramatically different from the sheets but I find a noticeable difference.

      2. juliepodstolski Post author

        I thought about returning the pads but I decided to keep them.
        Domestic tasks are a good antidote to creative thinking. It was satisfying to thoroughly clean out cupboards which had been ignored for too long. Many is the time I have gone into the supermarket feeling depressed and suddenly found, somewhere in the aisles, a return to equilibrium.

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