5-Day Artist Challenge, Day 3: Visual Art

It’s Visual Art for Day 3 of the Artist Challenge!

I’m going to bend the art-as-bread metaphor a bit, and say that visual art… is a sandwich. Because it has to be. You take your deliciously blank bread/canvas/hunk of rock, add your ideas and effort, colour and texture, and make it something totally new that’s your own. It might be savoury or sweet, hot or cold, crunchy or sloppy, humble or huge, traditional or bizarre. It might be multimedia. The result might cause observers to say, “Ooh! Yum!” or perhaps “WTF is that??”

vegetarian sandwich 5-day artist challenge
Artistic Vegetarian Sandwich via amuse-your-bouche.com.

I love visual art. (You might be thinking: Um, Dilovely, you also said you loved the first two strands of art. Are you ever gonna spice things up and NOT love one? The answer is no. Nope, I love them all. I’m allowed to be wholeheartedly predictable if I want.) Especially since university, when I got a wee bit obsessed with Impressionists – as many French majors do – I have loved to contemplate art. I visited all the museums I could while in Europe – and Barcelona blew my mind. I love letting a painting or sculpture sink into my eyes and take over my brain.

I also love, when possible, watching people make art. Since we’re talking about art AND sandwiches, I’m going to confess that a person with knee-jerk shyness (such as me) might, instead of choosing to have lunch with any famous person in history, want to go back in time and just watch Monet or Seurat paint.

I am in awe of visual artists, including the many I know personally and/or am related to. I’m amazed by the ability to shed reality, see things in new ways, envision things that never were, grab your tools and just… make new beauty. This is how I know I am not a true visual artist: I’m not enough of a risk-taker. Or a reality-shedder.

Here’s my art sandwich:

peanut butter and jam sandwich whole wheat 5-day artist challenge
Conventional PB&J via livestrong.com.

It might be decently executed, it’s appealing enough, but it’s entirely unoriginal.

When I was a kid, I drew lots of pictures. Usually ladies in pretty dresses. Other kids often said I was a “good draw-er.” (I was also the queen of colouring contests.) I figured this was normal. My mom was such a good draw-er that she could just whip up a drawing for me to colour, upon request. (Mostly ballerinas.) My dad could create graphic-art fonts by hand as if he’d trained his whole life. I just assumed all grown-ups could do art.

I enjoyed art class in Grade 9, and was proud of some of what I came up with, especially my big still-life project. However, I was beginning to understand that I didn’t have the innovative soul of a true visual artist, and I took instrumental music instead, thereafter.

Around the time I graduated from university, I took up drawing again for a bit, having remembered what I’m good at, namely: copying. I can draw from a photograph pretty accurately.

marilyn monroe drawing 5-day artist challenge
Here’s Marilyn, with only a slightly wonky nose.
anne frank drawing 5-day artist challenge visual art
Here’s Anne Frank, with whom I was also obsessed for several years.
woman in pain drawing 5-day artist challenge
Here’s a woman from a Midol ad. I related to her posture at the time I drew her.

This was my most in-depth drawing, rendered from a photo I found in the book The Family of Man (from the MOMA). I was happy I’d managed to retain that which moved me about the original – the tenderness, the light. But the real beauty, the real art, was in the photo itself.

IMG_0459

For a brief moment as I prepared to leave for France, I imagined reinventing myself on a foreign continent as An Artist. But it didn’t last, because I knew I didn’t have the true artist’s soul. I wasn’t risky or imaginative or experimental. I liked to be safe. Even as a kid, I didn’t take paint and just go “Sploosh!” to see what happened. I didn’t try new things much, or let art take shape on its own. I wanted things to be just so. That’s why I so loved my coloured pencils: the colour went only exactly where I put it. Even now, paint scares me in its uncontrollableness.

Most of the drawing I do nowadays is on the blackboard (or whiteboard) at school. The kids love it when I draw things to illustrate a point, especially when they turn out terrible. They still sometimes tell me I’m a good draw-er, which makes me smile. And I enjoy watching my own children do art, with their natural creativity.

homemade Pokemon
These are a few of E’s homemade Pokémon. He makes up their names and powers.
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And here is a mixed-media piece AB made with, paper, wood, glitter, stickers, re-directed mail, plastic packaging, and utmost confidence.

For those readers with the visual art gift: could I come watch you make art sometime?

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P.S. If you noticed that Day 3 didn’t occur on the third day, here’s an oh-so-artistic meme I created to represent my feelings just prior to midnight last night:

deleted-a-whole-post-by-accident-but-im-totally-fine-with-it-said-no-blogger-ever-892ec

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7 thoughts on “5-Day Artist Challenge, Day 3: Visual Art

  1. Skye says:

    Where do Subway sandwich artists fall into this metaphor? ? Also, it’s time I said good work getting back into the blogging routine.

    • dilovelyadmin says:

      Great question, Skye. Let’s see… Subway sandwich artists make oddly-shaped, speedy sandwiches for customers… I guess they have to be those caricaturists working at tourist sites. They get the job done – and you wonder what kind of art they’d choose to make for themselves in their free time. 😉

      And thanks for the encouragement!

  2. Mama says:

    Seriously??? Deleted a whole blog post?? Sincere condolences.

    Aside from that, well, you certainly gave me a better review than I would ever give myself. When you were a little kid, my drawing probably looked pretty good and original, but I think now as an adult you’re about where I was — and still am — as an adult: able to impress small children in a single bound. Or picture of a ballerina (my favourite subject as a kid draw-er, too). I feel, like you, that I don’t have the originality or risk-taking tendency of a real visual artist. Not like Beth, for sure.

    • dilovelyadmin says:

      Thanks for the condolences. I was very mad… mostly at myself, because I know better than to press that damn back arrow when my internet freezes without first copying the post… Sigh.

      I certainly learned from you almost all of what I know about the proportions of the human form, as well as a lot about perspective, ruffly skirts, etc.. Since you were my only art teacher for my formative years. A solid education, I feel. But regarding your originality… What about your doodles??

  3. Mama says:

    Oh, my doodles! (Strange but inoffensive oath…?) Well, trust a dear daughter to give me points in originality for doodles. They are kinda fun. And nowadays, if I did them 3 or 4 metres across, I might get them into an art museum somewhere.

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