I know it’s a little early in my bee blogging career to be doing an ongoing series post. Usually series posts are done during the period of waiting for professional photos to come in, when the wedding planning is over but the recaps can’t begin yet. But I promise, there is a wedding planning related story in here somewhere (sort of), so just bear with me.
So what’s my secret? I like to draw naked people. And just so you don’t think I’m a complete perv, I also paint still lives and landscapes. Buuuuut, I am a little bit pervy because naked people are still my favorite, natch.
It all started when I was 16 and was accepted to a summer art program at The Cooper Union in NYC. The whole experience was eye opening for me: commuting to the city every day and taking the subway alone for the first time, interacting with “real” artists with tie dyed hair and facial piercings,http://www.47492.info/47492_com/201503/16.html, crouching on the nasty NYC sidewalk for hours to draw the cityscape in front of me while homeless people hovered over my shoulder critiquing my work. I loved every minute of it.
The Cooper Union at Astor Place. | Image via NYC Loves NYC
The varied curriculum at the Cooper Union included a life drawing class where we drew from live nude models. After I got over the initial shock of male genitalia—live and in the flesh—in the classroom, I came to really enjoy capturing the human figure on paper. There’s a certain rhythm and fluidity to drawing the human body that doesn’t happen for me when rendering inanimate objects. After my summer program in NYC, returning to my high school art class and drawing from magazine clippings just didn’t compare.
Five minute gesture drawing, charcoal on newsprint
Fast forward 13 years, and I still draw naked people* once in a while, but my main focus has transitioned to oil painting. I was going through a particularly rough patch at my number-crunching day job, questioning the meaning of life and all that, when I decided I needed to get my creative juices flowing again if only to maintain my sanity. I started taking evening adult art classes almost three years ago at the Educational Alliance to familiarize myself with oil paints and the bit of chemistry that goes into using them. I’m at the point where my instructor lets me pick my own projects,** but in the beginning I was assigned to complete master studies of paintings done by famous artists. The idea is that you learn by doing, performing the same techniques the old masters used by trying to re-create their work. I selected Frederic Edwin Church’s The Icebergs*** for my first landscape master study.
Image via Wikpedia
My instructor gave me a brief history on Church—turns out he is one of the definitive artists of the Hudson River School, a mid-19th century movement in American landscape painting. Church also went on to be one of the founding fathers of the Metropolitan Museum in NYC.
Image via The Metropolitan Museum
I was instantly enamored by Church and his fellow Hudson River School artists: Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran, etc. Their styles are similar to what I aspired to create—realistic images, vibrant colors, not too much thinking required to understand what is going on. (One day, I will take a modern art appreciation class. Until then, I continue to scratch my head.)
I just…don’t…get it. | The White Tubular Glyph by Carol Bove | Image via MoMA
For some people, their Zen moment comes to them during yoga or running long distances. For me, my mind is most quiet when I’m drawing or painting. The constant buzzing going on in my brain is suddenly silent, focused only on the one task in front of me. For a Type A personality with too many mental to-do lists, that calm serenity is precious and rare.
Fifty hours later (over the course of five weeks),http://www.47492.info/www_47492_info/201503/15.html, my master study was complete. It wasn’t without some huffing and puffing, but those 50 hours were so relaxing and carefree, and a much needed life line during a time when I was so crazy-stressed at work that my hair was literally falling out in clumps. Even when I look at my painting now,http://www.456116.info/www_456116_info/201503/27.html,http://www.47492.info/47492_com/201503/14.html,http://www.198888.info/liuhekaijiangxianchang/201503/25.html,www.597788.com, I feel at peace.
I digitally tweaked the colors in my reference photo, hence the “louder” colors in my version.
Alright, so I’m sure all of you are like, “Where’s the wedding planning story, Squid? You gonna have naked people running around your reception?” I wish,http://www.7084.info/xianggangliuhecaikaijiang/201503/12.html, but no. Postage stamps for our RSVP envelopes were one of my recent mundane wedding checklist items and when I went onto the USPS website to scope out the options,http://www.88829.info/xianggangzuizaokaijiangjieguo/201503/13.html,黄大仙救世心水坛, I found these:
Image via USPS
Limited edition Hudson River School stamps! It is fate, I tell you! I don’t think I have ever been so ecstatic about stamps. Granted, none of these landscapes are ones that I have tried to re-create, but the familiar names still bring a smile to my face. While my approach to stamps started out as, “Ehh, whatever,http://www.77759.info/www_77759_info/201503/25.html, just get ‘er done,” these postage stamps just got a little more love and appreciation from yours truly.
Apparently not all post offices carry limited edition stamps and I went to two different post offices before finding them at the one in Grand Central. (Of course,http://www.39809.info/39809_com/201503/24.html, they’re also available online.)
What do you do to relieve stress and relax? Who else is absurdly excited about postage stamps?
* My favorite life drawing studio in NYC is Spring Street Studio in Soho,http://www.988959.info/shiershengxiaoxiangchongliuhebiao/201503/27.html, where you can draw or paint from live models three times a day, seven days a week.
** In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve taken a hiatus from painting classes while planning this wedding. I figured I had to make some sacrifices in order to save up some extra money this past year. It’s a bit ironic because I probably need my Zen time now more than ever, but it turns out planning and especially blogging about our wedding has introduced me to a new creative outlet that has been just as rewarding.
*** The Icebergs are part of the permanent collection at the Dallas Museum of Art, but last summer it was part of a temporary exhibit at the Met and I actually got to see it in person. So friggin’ amazing.Tags: brooklynfeaturedFeaturessecret-life-of-bees BLOGGER Mrs. Squid Birthday: November 06 Location: NYC / Brooklyn Occupation: Assistant Controller Wedding Date: December 2014 Venue: St. Charles Borromeo / The Liberty Warehouse --> PREVIOUS POSTAnnual Appreciation NEXT POSTThe Goose Migration: The Geese At Sea Part One Related Posts Squid Invitations: Made with Love (aka My Blood,六合同彩, Sweat, and Tears)10/20/14 @ 5:31 am The Secret Life of Bees: Goose Edition!09/25/14 @ 6:21 am Mr. & Mrs. Squid in Tulum: What We Did12/29/14 @ 6:08 am Hair Trials and Tribulations10/14/14 @ 7:32 am