Monday, August 10, 2015

Nana's Watercolour Card

I'm almost finished a second post on Travel and Independence and Getting On, and I'm also writing a long-ish post on my Reading Blog. But my right arm, fingers to shoulder, is getting cranky about the keyboard, so it's Short and Sweet for today. Probably best for a Monday morning anyway (if you're looking for more to read, though, be sure to check out the comments on the Travel and Independence post from last week. Such an interesting range!).

Today's Short and Sweet has a high Cute factor, but there's also a Self-Revealing Vulnerability factor. And a big dose of Joy, Nana and Grandkid style. Here goes:
Several weeks ago, one of my daughters posted this photo to her Instagram feed
I found it delightfully evocative of two-year-olds' friendships, but I was also caught by the effective, simple composition of the photo and how wonderfully the little boy's twisting torso works to add just enough interest, even tension.

The image stuck with me enough that I tried drawing it in my sketching journal and I was pleased enough with the results there that I decided to try a watercolour card for a certain little girl. 

When I lay it out here for you to look at, the flaws leap at me, clumsiness abounds in the shading, the colour missing, etc., etc. et nauseating cetera.

But I have to tell you that when Hattie got this in the mail, she and her Mom had to FaceTime me immediately because our little redhead was so thrilled. Nana, you painted it, you painted me and O. And H. You painted a picture of me in my blue dress with the flowers. 

Apparently, she recognized the image for what it was as soon as she pulled the card out of its snail-mail envelope. At the moment, it has pride of place on a shelf in the family's living-room. I'll admit I have hopes that someday it might take up a little bit of wall space in Harriet's room (I'll provide the frame). 

For now, though, I'm just very happy that I didn't let my lack of natural talent and/or skill stop me from trying something I realized I might enjoy. . . That's why I'm willing to post these occasional images of my sketches, not at all because I'm fishing for compliments on them, believe me. I do see them for what they are, but along with all the limitations, I'm determined to see what's good in them as well. This time, I got to see that worth through my granddaughter's eyes! (And she now has a quirky little bit of me, an "heirloom" she may someday show her own grandchild. Who can tell?)

So that post turned out not to be quite as Short as I'd planned, but I hope it was Sweet enough for you. Comments always welcome, but as I say, I'm honestly not fishing here. Wishing, though. Wishing your Monday starts off a very good week for you!





28 comments:

  1. Please delete if this appears twice - nlogger is acting up!
    This post brought a lump tou throat. Perhaps this is because I have just taken the boys home after six weeks of being Nana-who-can-do-anything. Your watercolour is a wee treasure. You must have such a feeling of sweet satisfaction - at having created something that was received with such joy, at a moment of Nana-brilliance, and in accepting and nurturing your own gift.

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    1. The typos!
      My only excuse is a bumpy ride to work!

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  2. What an enchanting photo and such a beautifu and meaningfull watercolour capture as a result.
    PS: when I have the time, I find that photographing my work helps me see aspects of it that aren't truly apparent in real life - some of which I hate, and others that surprise me with how amazing they look. Persevere and keep practising; keep a photographic log to see how your style develops. Enjoy as much as possible. And then check out this clip to see how far a watercolour obsession can go ..https://youtu.be/wj84tfS7ag4

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    1. Thanks, A. I should really start a log and organize the photos I take of my sketching and painting. I do find that it's a good way to get a slightly more objective eye. Haven't watched the video yet, but I have it lined up for right after I finished responding to the comments here. . .

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  3. Sweet, and charming. I for one am glad you share these treasured snippets of life and love with us. They touch on what is truly important, and no that is not talent and skill. As you describe your grand-daughter's reaction, one's heart sings.

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    1. Thanks, Mardel. I'm always a bit hesitant to share them, knowing how many do so much better work, but if you can catch a bit of the joy the process gives me. . .

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  4. This seems to me like one of the best reasons to have retired. You have time for both grandmotherly devotion and the practice of self-acceptance. Heart-warming all around. <3

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    1. It's true! Thank you. hearts back! ;-)

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  5. That's so sweet - I'm sure that Harriet will treasure that little artwork for a long time to come!

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    1. I wrote a little note inside for her older self, Patricia, so I hope she'll hang onto it long enough, at least, to read some of my wishes for her. . .

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  6. So cute and sweet! Memories like that are invaluable,no place for critics!
    And I really like it :-)
    Dottoressa

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    1. Thanks, D. It's hard to stop the critic -- my inner editor can be quite stern -- but I'm working on it!

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  7. Spontaneous art - the best kind! So sweet that Harriet recognized herself, her friends and her dress! Nana did good! No criticism here, just pure enjoyment!

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    1. Thanks, Cherie. It's really a gift to be able to follow that spontaneous impulse and see what I could do with pen and brushes. Having her recognize herself was the icing on the cake!

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  8. Appreciative audiences are the best kind! Like the photo the watercolor packs a big emotional wallop!

    And watercolor is such a difficult medium to choose.

    ceci

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    1. There's something about watercolour, though, that seems more sensitive to the emotions -- or that the emotions are more susceptible to? But, yes, it demands a delicacy I don't command yet. . . . luckily I have a two-year-old who applauds anyway ;-)

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  9. I love the photo, the watercolor, and the reaction! Such a sweet story! Thank you for posting it.

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    1. Oh, you're very welcome, Marie. And thank you!

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  10. She will keep this little watercolour forever. How wonderful is that?

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    1. I must admit it really pleases me to think that little watercolour might be on a wall in her first apartment somewhere. . . .and perhaps even in her child's room, some day, long after I'm no longer painting. . .

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  11. I love the watercolour. I'd like to be able to make art. I have friends who have become quite accomplished artists since they retired. One, a retired accountant, travels all over the world now to attend workshops. In fact she's going to Spain in September to study for a week with a famous water-colourist. She just sees these workshops advertised in art magazines and signs up. How fun is that.
    P.S. Recognized Hattie's lovely red hair right away.

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    1. Susan, before I went back to school for my lit. degrees, I taught piano/music theory (RCMT) for years, and I so often heard adults tell me they'd always wanted to learn to play. Of course, they'd been saying that for ten years, and with ten years of lessons, there was a vast repertoire they'd have been able to play, no matter what innate level of talent. I was inspired by Diane Athill's memoir to apply that recognition to my own conviction that I wasn't artistic. Luckily, I had a really supportive teacher to start me out -- she's a good friend, one of several I have who are accomplished, some even professional, artists, and it's very tempting to compare myself and give up. But instead I've decided to focus on the enjoyment I do get, at my level, in the process. . .
      I highly recommend taking the plunge! ;-)

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  12. "For now, though, I'm just very happy that I didn't let my lack of natural talent and/or skill stop me from trying something I realized I might enjoy. "

    Absolutely! That self-censure chokes off so much discovery and pleasure. Wonderufl post, wonderful painting.

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    1. Yes!! See my response to HHW above, although I know you've already read about my journey into journal sketching and I know you've added drawing and painting to your retirement activities and accomplishments. So many things are available to us in this time -- what a shame if we miss out because we're sticking to a script we think we were handed long, long ago.

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  13. I love your little painting and I am also very struck by your approach. I am taking the same line with my singing. I know I don't have a particularly good voice but my weekly time at the choir is giving me so much pleasure since I decided to just go with it and enjoy it and to drop the self censure, as Duchesse so pithily calls it.

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    1. Exactly, Elizabeth! And joining a choir is on my list for down the road a bit. My voice is not great either, but I do at least have an ability to sight-read, and I love making music with others. There's really nothing quite like that resonance you get in your body with all those soundwaves rolling around and through you!

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  14. I don't understand why you say you lack talent and skill. Really. Why say that when this is obviously a very charming piece of art. Thank you for sharing it. Have confidence in your abilities!

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    1. Thanks so much, Susan! And let me quickly say that I don't mention my "lack" out of false modesty. It's just that I don't lack the discernment to notice the technical flaws, which are many. I mean, if it were someone else's work and for sale at a local bazaar, I might be captured by the charm of its subject matter and I might even think that it caught something emotionally evocative, but I certainly wouldn't pay for it or put it up on my wall. . . Unless I loved it for its roughness, I guess, as naive or folk art.
      And yet, drawing and painting it and having the scene be recognizable after a wasted 55-ish years telling myself I wasn't artistic?? Such a magical gift! So I'm following your advice and building that confidence.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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