There are times during my creative journey that things seem to stagnate. What I usually do is walk away or change from graphite to watercolor or from watercolor to oils. That strategy does work most of the time but this time I decided to try something else.
I remember years ago I used charcoal pencils exclusively as my sketching medium and so I had a slew of them on hand. What I’d also purchased many years ago and never used was this set of charcoal sticks in varying values from white to black. This set sat in a drawer largely ignored unless I was reorganizing and then I would pick up the set and think, “I’ve got to try these someday.”
Well, someday began a few months ago when I moved from my country home into a little village in Upstate New York. Everything had changed having moved from a very secluded and isolated place into a little village with lots of activity around. I was ready for the change and actually welcomed seeing people around me living their lives. I might not know who they are or where they are going but I am now here in a place where life is happening.
This location change has sparked other changes… cutting my long hair for example, engaging my friends more often and trying new creative things like this charcoal set on tinted paper. I decided to try first a subject I’m familiar with in other mediums. I love winter scenes and have painted many in watercolor so I felt comfortable with the subject. I always try to “stack the deck” in my favor when trying something new like this because a favorable outcome the first time will plant seeds for the next attempt.
And happily what I discovered was an old friend – charcoal – with a new twist (tinted paper with white and gray charcoal sticks). Drawing this piece was just plain fun. If you can focus on the process as an artist instead of the outcome I believe you will discover that the creative process by itself brings peace, joy and self-satisfaction. For me it’s a way to connect with God and since my creative gifts are from Him it’s a way to honor Him. I’m looking forward to trying the next to see what will happen but mostly to feel good and joyful and peace filled. Stay tuned…