The Benefit Of Shifting Focus & Rest
I have to admit. I've been feeling rotten for more than a month. I've thought that I was fighting a virus , but kept plugging away without much thought about it. The virus - or whatever it is- finally caught up with me last weekend and I have been home sick for a couple of days. I have so many things to do, finish up some loose ends (so to speak) on gifts, wrap them - and did I mention mail them! Late again I am! I have ATC's and PC's to make and mail. A lot of things I should be doing.
I've realized, as I've rested, that my life has been filled a lot with things that I have committed to and it isn't that those things aren't fun, but I have not done much of anything simply for my own pleasure in a long time. Over the weekend, through emails, my friend, Sarah Ann Smith, mentioned that she was taking an online Watercolor Lettering Class from Val Web. Hummmmm thought I .. now that sounds like it's right up my alley.
You've probably guessed already that I went ahead and signed up for this class. Did I have the money for it? No. Should I have signed up? Probably not. Am I relaxing into it? Yes! It's just what I needed . It's just for me - not for the other things I have committed to, or for anyone else who has expectations for me. This was a good 'dose of creative medicine' for me. The people in the class all appear to be rather advanced watercolorists - either that or I am more than woefully below par! It's great to be able to have people to admire and emulate! Classes are like stepping stones for me and, if I don't overdo them, they add to my creative tool box. I find the more I learn the more I have to bring to the table when I create something in mixed media or textile art.
I love watercolors and have been using them for some time; without any schooling and only 'book' learning, this will be the first 'class' I've taken & it pairs watercolors with letters/typography/calligraphy which are also things that I love.
I'm wayyyyy behind the class work, coming into this class that began in November, I am 5 lessons behind already! Access goes until March though, so I should be able to catch up.
I made my way through Lesson 1 yesterday, and one of the techniques that Val uses is draw these 'pebble' letters as shown above. The simple directions utilized a regular 8.5" X 11" but I used a 4" X 6" size (it fit onto the journal page I was using for practice). The lesson was about brush control, and I found that working in this format really did provide a great exercise in brush control and watercolor use. I used Daniel Smith Mayan Blue Dark and Mayan Yellow (I must have been thinking about this coming Friday when I selected the colors!) You can see where I overworked the watercolors, and I have not added any white to the letters or decorations that might have made it look somewhat nicer.
I am impressed thus far with Val's teaching style. Learning something valuable after one lesson is wonderful! I find the class format to be similar in presentation to the wonderful photography classes that I take from Kim Klassen. A combination of exercises and videos. If you like watercolor art do yourself a favor and have a look at Val Webb's class offerings - there's another class that I have my eye on about herbs!
I have decided that I may need to more carefully consider what things I commit to in the coming year so that I can build in some time for a project that is simply about fun and relaxation - just for me - and with no expectations. I may concentrate on watercolor use since it's something that I do really enjoy and I could use some more 'learning'! Lack of rest seems to be a big issue for me.
Exhaustion is a real enemy for those of us who are plagued with fibromyaliga (plus the other pesky issues that I have). We all develop health issues - I'm grateful that mine are what they are. It could be so very much worse! I tend to work and play with focus and determination, but I need to remember that down time, sleep, rest and playful art are not luxuries - but necessary if I am to remain healthy.