I ended last semester wishing to practice drawing and painting more regularly. As such, I got a box easel to work indoors and outdoors once it gets warmer. The weekly life drawing classes will also be an opportunity to improve my drawing skills throughout the semester.
Thematically, I would like to focus on the idea of connection and disconnection. I have chronic depression and anxiety, which cause me to dissociate most of the time. That being said, my mental health struggles have also led me to focus on mindfulness and to some extent be more appreciative of how beautiful the world is.
I like seeing my work as a form of meditation. For one, the process of painting is extremely calming and helps me stay concentrated. But painting is also form of mindfulness, since you are increasing your awareness of the world around you. This semester I would like my painting to be a medium to feel more anchored in the outside world, but also to reflect on my inner world and represent those feelings of dissociation.
As such, connection/disconnection is not an opposition but rather in duality, interweaving, complementing and very often contradicting itself. Here’s a long but non-exhaustive list of what I mean.
My relation to my surroundings, which is both extremely hazy but also what allows me to ground myself
Focusing one one element, causing the rest to blur
Harsh weather that both makes me close in on myself but also feel intensely alive
Taking a step back to enjoy the scenery as a whole
Feeling great love for my friends, but having a hard time tapping into those emotions because of my mental illness (the self doubt this causes is absolutely horrible)
Greatly relating to someone, all the while knowing that their words can never fully express how they feel
Close friendships that mostly exist online (or ones with people you only get to talk to every so often)
I am the person I know the most, yet so much feels mysterious about my psyche
I want to keep being kinder to myself, but part of that involves being strict and using my time more effectively
The deep connection I feel to many non-human animals
Having ancestral connections to Scotland and Italy, but growing up in another country
Feeling disconnected from France, even though I lived there for most of my life
The Internet allows me to know more about the world at large, but it can also isolate me from that very world
My relation to politics, society and climate change: how much do I want to focus on these things, so as to be critical but not cynical?
Disliking someone but also acknowledging our shared humanity
How to be humble but also assertive
Loving how things are but also accepting that everything changes
Love as the acceptance of death
Painting as a truer representation of what we see, but also an abstraction from reality
Looking at this list, some subjects I can focus on are (I might add to this list as I go along):
Textural studies (focusing on details)
Portraits of myself
Portraits of my friends
Here’s a landscape I did this week. I’m still waiting for my watercolour paper to arrive so I did it in one of my sketchbooks. The reference photo was take non Thursday, when the day was covered in fog, but not Dundee. It was really impressive to look at. I find that the fog is quite a good subject to work with as it illustrates the haziness in my head well. Next week, I will try working on other pieces from that shoot.