Saturday, May 17, 2008

Painting to Let Off Steam

Storm Clouds
11" x 8"
watercolor pencils on paper*
Stacy L. Rowan

I painted the above sketch the other day. It was created solely from my imagination without any thought to technical accuracy. And it was exactly what I needed at the time.

I had a couple of frustrating days this week dealing with situations which are out my control to change at this time. I was feeling more than a little ticked off by it all. I also had to go to a meeting on a different topic later in the day. And I knew the meeting would be more productive if I behaved in a calm, diplomatic manner.

Have you ever tried to be diplomatic when you feel really ticked off??? Not easy, let me tell you.

So that was my problem. I was ticked off and I had to get it out of my system in short order. I considered punching my pillow or finding something to destroy, but that's not really my style. Venting to my husband wasn't working either and I was running out of time.

That's when I decided I needed a little art therapy. Creating art makes me relax. I lose myself in painting or drawing and escape from the everyday annoyances and worries. Hours slide by as if they are minutes, and when I finally return to the real world, I can look at my troubles with fresh eyes and a better attitude.

Most of the art projects I had in the works on this day were near the finishing stage - not a good stage to work on when I'm feeling agitated. Instead I decided to create something new. I was surprised how quickly the idea for an image came to me. I'll allow you to analyze the imagery on your own, but I feel it fit the situation pretty well.

Since I was ticked off, I wanted to be able to scribble and be a little reckless. That's why I chose to use watercolor pencils instead of my regular tube watercolors. No need to take my aggression out on my helpless brushes.

I found a piece of 90lb watercolor paper and taped it to a piece of stiff cardboard then started literally scribbling in the colors I wanted. I couldn't even tell you which colors I used. I wet down the colors several times with a large brush, and smoothed out the lower portions. I used the same brush with less water for the dark, upper portion to give it a rougher look.

At the end of the process, I was pretty pleased with the painting, even though there are some technical inaccuracies. I never paint from my imagination. I'm a literal girl. I paint what I see. The emotions arise from the imagery and what it means to me. This is the first time I had the feelings first and then an image popped into my head. It was an interesting experience.

Plus, when I was done, I felt like I had let off some steam. My emotions were under control and I was able to participate in my meeting with a cool head. Not bad for less than an hours worth of work.

*I had a hard time adjusting the scan of this painting. In reality, the transition from the blues to the red/oranges is smoother and there is not so much pink.


Jeanette said...

Art is always a relaxer for me too. This painting is very pleasing. I love the colours in it and can see how creating it soothed you.

I hope the coming week is less stressful for you.

Jennifer Rose said...

Love the colours :) Art can be such a good way to release anger and stress. Hope your next week is better :)

Robyn said...

Beautiful outcome from released steam, Stacy. You paint a great word picture of being ticked off too, I could see you storming around. I hope the sun has set on the problem now and you are as calm as your gorgeous sunset.

Stacy said...

Thanks Jeanette and Jennifer! Art is the best therapy, but it's even better when you do it just for pleasure. I'm looking forward to a better week.

Thanks Robyn! The sun has set on my anger and I have realized that the problems will resolve themselves one way or another. Hubby gets a chuckle when I'm venting because my sarcasm gene reveals itself in full glory. Unless I am ticked off at him of course. Then my sarcasm is surprisingly less funny. ;)