I don’t know about everyone else, but in between following the news on the Ukraine war (something that hits close to home as the child of a war refugee), I’m trying to keep myself busy by doing things that are simple, grounding and creative: gardening, making things, cooking, and now, a return to something I haven’t done in many years: drawing and painting.
I “warmed up” by doing some drawing with crayon – to – ink color sticks. This isn’t finished; just a sketch, to get myself back into the habit of being at the easel, so to speak.
However, what I quickly realized doing this was that I really want to be working in my old medium: oil on paper. So I ordered a few supplies (first photos) and learned along the way that there have been some technological developments for oil on paper painting that didn’t exist back when I was in art school, namely odorless mineral spirits, some really wonderful old school oil and wax mediums made in the traditional ways, some new pigments, and most of all a new Arches paper for oil that does not have to be primed and comes in my favorite size, 22×30.
Drawing and painting on paper have always been things I’ve done since I was a small kid, and I actually attained a full bachelor’s degree in art. During my time at UT Austin I studied mostly installation sculpture with Thana Lauhaikaikul and drawing and painting with Vincent Mariani, both of whom have since passed on.
Before COVID I was in the early stage of planning an onsite installation to be created and entered into the Austin Studio Tour. Recently I pulled out that design and went over it. It’s still something I want to do, whether it be for a larger studio tour or just for my own pleasure. Installations take a long time to plan and create, so I really enjoy the process of being able to work on paper to develop ideas and play and get lost in the physical act of doing the work.
It feels good to return “home” in this way, but with new eyes on the world I live in, who I am, and what sustains me in these times. At this point it looks and feels to me like we are going to be in an ongoing COVID and geopolitical turbulence zone for quite a while to come, so I’m just re-upping my mask order and finding my way into visual art again.
Music is next, but let’s let this one unfold for a while first.