Friday, March 12, 2010

Art Therapy

This week I completed one of Laure Ferlita’s Imaginary Trips—this one to the beach. Imaginary Trips are online video watercolor sketch classes, with such destinations as Paris and England, as well as the beach class, and one called “Autumn.” You can read more about them here.

I took this class for fun, but also so I could learn skills I’d need to do something I’ve wanted to do for a long time: keep an illustrated journal. I’ve kept a written journal for years, and I take lots of pictures, too, especially when we travel. Now I want to learn how to draw what I see, either here in my neighborhood or while we’re on a trip. I think I really begin to see a thing when I attempt to draw or paint it. To sketch something, I have to slow down and pause in the hectic pace of my daily life. (Learning to draw using pencil, pen and ink and my waterbrushes is also on my Six-Year Calendar of Happiness.)

The class was great, and my classmates were even better. What I learned from it (and them) went beyond adding pigment to paper or learning to sketch quickly and confidently. I learned not to give up on an assignment even when I felt it was turning out poorly. I learned to make adjustments to a sketch to make it more personal, instead of just copying the instructor. I learned not to panic when I made a mistake—most mistakes are fixable, even in watercolor. I learned that art is therapeutic, even if you have an emotional meltdown in the middle of a picture. And I learned that there’s always something you can like in a sketch, even when it doesn’t turn out like you wanted it to. Here are three of my assignments:



Is there something new you’d like to try? What are you waiting for? Do you want to learn to knit? Play a new sport? Explore a new place? I urge you to do it—open up to something you haven’t tried before, and see where it takes you. And come back here and share your experiences with me!

Share/Bookmark

10 comments:

Meredith said...

Amazing, Kathy! You are very talented. I love the flamingo especially. Congratulations on developing your skills in this area and taking the risk. As for me, what I want to do is... get my darned manuscript finished. Life always seems to be too hectic and intent upon interfering, but perhaps that's self-sabotage rearing its ugly head...

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Thanks, Meredith! Life does have a habit of getting in the way: this past week my car, blender and washing machine all had "issues." What kind of manuscript are you working on?

Claire M said...

So glad to find your reflections on our Trip to the Beach class. It was a joy to have you along for the journey and watch as you posted your images. I enjoyed seeing your artwork and sharing with the others as well. Hope to see you again on one of Laure's art adventures. I'm headed to England next!!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

It was such fun to go to the beach with you, Laure and all the rest of our class. I learned a lot and enjoyed it very much. I'll be watching your blog for "postcards from England"! Hope you have a great trip.

Elizabeth Smith said...

Thank you for reminding us that the journey itself is important! So often we're caught up in the illusion of producing some great image that we forget the lessons we take from the process. When I read your list of "lessons learned" I suddenly realized that these are life skills, not just art skills! I love my art therapy!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

You're right...and I wasn't even thinking about these being life skills! Thank you for the reminder.

freebird said...

Well I am glad you posted what you learned. I'm not good at putting words to my feelings but this is what I felt from the class exactly! And what Elizabeth says is true also. I was just telling my husband it's too bad they don't teach a class like this in high school art. The lessons the kids would learn for the future if they did. I felt it; I just couldn't say it. One of my goals is to write poetry - imagine a person of no words writing words down. Oh well, I have to try. I didn't think I could put watercolor to paper and come up with a picture either!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Isn't it amazing what we can do when we actually try? And what we learn in our creative endeavors certainly can be applied to the rest of our lives. You certainly were able to make lovely watercolor pictures, so go ahead and put those words down on paper! You might surprise yourself again.

Elizabeth Patch said...

These are wonderful and "Hooray!" for being brave enough to take up painting, and push through all of the doubts and panic that comes when you put something down on the page. Keep going, its a life-long (and quite addicting!) pleasure!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Thank you, Elizabeth! I plan to keep pushing forward even when I think my sketch or painting is a "failure," simply because the process (usually) is so enjoyable. And I plan to keep at it for life, too!