Guiding Lights

"Guiding Lights" Coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle. November 2016. 20 x 26 cm.

“Guiding Lights”
Coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle. November 2016. 20 x 26 cm.

Electricity powers lights which, in turn, empower people to walk around (usually safely) after dark.  Rue Quincampoix, a medieval street in the Temple area of Paris, never looked like this in any time other than our own.  This long narrow street is radiant at night.  Lamps and neon flood surrounding stone with pools of coloured light.

This drawing was difficult and I struggled.  Yesterday I wrote in my art journal, “The thing has happened where I can – one minute – see it as a success and the next minute, see it as a failure.  I cannot tell what’s going on.  Maybe I’m nearly there, or there already, or buggered.”

How timely to read last night a quote from “The Private Lives of the Impressionists” by Sue Roe.  (page 54).  “Cornélie [Berthe Morisot’s mother] observed that Manet was behaving like a madman, one minute convinced the painting was a masterpiece, the next, plunged into despair“.    (I call this state of mind Art Hell.)

This is the second time I have drawn rue Quincampoix.  If you compare it to the first drawing, below, you can see I’m revisiting Paris with a different mindset now, an impressionistic one.

Conversations at Dusk 2012

Conversations at Dusk

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9 thoughts on “Guiding Lights

  1. sharonsskow

    Lovely to read your thoughts on the process of this. I believe most artists share the same sentiment on how we see our own work. It is the devil inside us that causes the havoc but it can be a good thing at times. The struggles pushes us to really test our limit.
    Again, stunning work as usual Julie.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Other words for the devil, Sharon, are critical and analytical thinking. As you rightly say, we can be made extremely uncomfortable by our inner critics but they are necessary for growth.

  2. anna warren portfolio

    When changing tack, moving out of a comfort zone, then it is hardest to assess one’s own work. Over time we get our eye in, and learn what is right or wrong. But that sense of being completely at sea is actually a good thing, something that spurs us on, makes us do something original. In my eyes, this drawing is a great success – great composition, atmosphere, use of vibrant colour, but it also has a uniqueness, something that is entirely YOURS.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Thanks for your supportive comments. Yes, I guess you are right. It is frustrating when one is pushing boundaries but it ISN’T boring. I spent a lot of this drawing in a not-in-comfort-zone state…as I did with the last one, “Somewhere”. I’m extremely relieved I pulled it off because my self-confidence (to go forward) would be a mess if I hadn’t.

  3. nick shiroma

    At first I was not in a comfort zone because I was fascinated by your past drawings and your current ones are so different, but now I really like how you create air that you can feel as well as contemplate. It’s great to appreciate in different ways. Thanks

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Nick, I very much appreciate that you took the time to write me this comment. Yes, when artists change tack or evolve it can be hard for the audience. I especially think of musicians when I say this; David Bowie and Bob Dylan are two who immediately come to mind who led their listeners on a merry dance as they wove their art through various stages. The audience had to catch up.
      If an artist wants to stay fresh he/she has to keep moving. Otherwise, its same old same old and eventually everyone gets bored.
      I got tired of too much small detail. I wanted to loosen up. Tight control is fine sometimes but its good to be able to let go as well.


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