Last month as I reached for my glasses that had, of course, been placed who knows where, I found myself becoming agitated that I needed glasses. Yes, the time has arrived that I need glasses for close up, not just far away. Sure I could solve this perceived issue with progressive lenses, but instead I chose to battle and be grumpy until I “saw” a lesson. The lesson. . .well, let’s just say that for artists, perspective is everything. From the tiniest of details to the largest of imaginations, how I see the canvas, my paint palette, and my subject blend together to create the final piece. I was so busy fussing about looking for the right pair of glasses to see the details, I was missing the larger picture. . .but perhaps even more troubling is that I was pushing my imagination and creativity to the side. I was relying on exact details of my reference and suggesting my imagination take a backseat. In my daily living, I strive to release myself from expectations. So I’m letting go of the expectation that my art piece is going to be a replication of the reference; for that type of creation there is a copy machine or laser printer. Rather, my art piece will reflect the experience, the joy, and the whimsy of the reference and me! So yes, I no longer need to panic if I am not wearing the “right” pair of glasses for the task before me. . .my perspective is perfect. —Nicki
Negative Space as Positive?
Like everyone else, my routine has shifted–no Friday night markets, no art festivals. With this shift, has come more studio time. Rather than rushing to ready everything for the markets, and trying to creatively pack my MiniCountryman, I have been graced with the time to fulfill commissions. One such commission was a portrait of a customer’s granddaughter. Human subjects make me a bit nervous, especially when I need to capture the likeness and essence of the person. Doing “Fridas” for my own basic amusement is a lot different than a portrait of someone’s beloved granddaughter so I was enormously relieved when after several days of careful work I discovered this strong and beautiful young woman looking back at me from the canvas on my art table.
But, the space behind her–that negative space–oh my! I can hear art teachers from my distant past pointing out my lack of attention paid to the negative space. It’s a thing, I can assure you! So, as usual for me, I wrestled with how to fill that space in a fun light-hearted way and it made me think about the lack of negative space my day planner use to have… because after all, hasn’t life taught us to fill every moment, every space on our calendar, with a scheduled activity? Don’t we wear our completely booked calendars as badges of honor? How then could I leave the space behind this beautiful young woman blank? And then it hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks: life with COVID has taught us that indeed we can survive without old routines, old expectations that every moment of every day be completely booked. Life circumstances has forced negative space on my calendar pages. Ironically, however, this void or blankness has not been void at all but rather has become filled with creativity in the studio. So, what did I end up painting in the negative space of the granddaughter? Beautiful, whimsical patterns. . .patterns that suggest wind, motion, and fun because what else would a creative young soccer player wish for? The negative is positive.