Winter Light

Winter Light Coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle paper. December 2015

Winter Light
Coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle paper.
December 2015

Anxiety went into this drawing.  As I have written in past posts, some drawings just glide to the finish line with ease.  Not this one.  It was a real struggle. Colours were pushed and pulled, added to, subtracted, and modified ad infinitum in the quest for balance and desired temperature.  I wanted muted winter colours but I didn’t want any mute to turn into either murk or muck.

Yesterday it became kill-or-cure time; the final push.   The result is that while I like “Winter Light”, I’m still a little wary of it.  I need to put it away in a folder for a while before seeing it again with totally fresh eyes.

The setting is Hanamikoji-dori (Flower-viewing Street) in Gion.  It was a dull and drizzling February day.  I had just arrived from Australia and the source photo for this was the very first photo taken after two planes, a train and a taxi deposited me in Gion.  Such a subtle scene was calming after several months of Western Australian summer glare.  (Sunglasses could remain in hotel room.)

I saw on social media the other day that art is a good replacement for meditation. Is that so?  Perhaps, thought I, rather cynically.  When one is struggling with a piece and using all one’s powers of problem-solving and analysis to pull it together (not necessarily with success), it is blooming hard work and anything but meditative.

After much reflection, I am bound to admit that this drawing did not work out.  It has some good points but compositionally, it is flawed.  I think the main problem is the area dividing the main lantern with the second lantern.  The picture has this great divide which results in two separate halves as opposed to one cohesive whole.

POSTSCRIPT:  Written on Christmas Day 2015.  Yesterday I figured out what I hadn’t liked about the drawing and I managed to fix it.  I had misread information on the source photo so of course I wasn’t able to draw it in correctly.  Once I realised my mistake I corrected it on the drawing.  I now believe the drawing works perfectly.

15 thoughts on “Winter Light

  1. Sue Donze

    Lovely. The drizzle and muted color really communicates without a hint of your struggles. And LOOKING at your paintings certainly does the meditation trick for me 🙂

  2. Ann Kullberg

    Meditation??? Nothing makes me more anxious than drawing. I think coloring books are soothing – and they are currently all the rage – and coloring in coloring books is being as meditative and I imagine it is. But fine art?? Love the piece, Julie. Can’t imagine what you aren’t sure of!

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Yes, Ann, I was thinking that the article might have been referring to colouring-in books. I walked past my local art supply shop the other day and the front window display was entirely made up of adult colouring-in books and painting-by-number sets. I was rather put out! I wouldn’t have been in the least put out if it had been the window display of a toy shop – but art supplies for heavens sake. Still, I guess Christmas is coming.

  3. anna warren portfolio

    Please don’t do anything rash with this one till you have some space from it – the more I look at it, the more I like it – even more so than the previous lantern drawing. The eye goes calmly from the main lantern towards the more distant ones, inviting the viewer to move down the street. It has a sense of joy to it. You will make your final decision as to its fate by your own instincts, but for me it is a success. And it has that elusive meditative quality! Maybe there is more value in looking at other people’s art than doing it oneself!

  4. kathansen9

    I really love this piece…one of my favorites! I think it’s very interesting with the background being blurred and the touches of orange making it just pop!

    I’m not sure meditation is the right word but when I am working hard on a piece, like you did with this one, I totally tune out the world…and that’s sometimes a very nice retreat!

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Kath, I agree that the art process can be meditative – when everything is going well. It is when it isn’t going so well that meditation is firmly replaced by anxiety and sometimes (as in this case) desperation.

  5. Jeannie

    Dear Julie, please don’t destroy this one, don’t don’t!! I think it’s worked out beautifully. The composition is fine, in my view, and I love the colours. I liked it as soon as I saw it, before reading the blog. It would be tragic to kill this.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Gosh, thanks Jeannie. I have destroyed pictures in the past and much later when I’ve seen photos of those wrecked works I have thought that I had acted in haste. So even yesterday when I felt rotten, I knew not to be rash. The drawing is safe. I’m glad you like it!

  6. Tina Walsh

    Beautiful drawing as always Julie. Please NEVER throw any of your art away !!! If you feel tempted to throw any piece away, ring me and I will be at your house in minutes to rescue it for my walls.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Okay, Tina. I’ll remember that. I get comments from round the world, but you live so close by that it would be very easy to trot over with a drawing if I didn’t feel happy with it and you did.


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