Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Zone

My favorite art teacher didn't walk, she glided gracefully through the classroom.  She was a strong, confident woman, but sweet and soft-spoken at the same time.  She never tore people down, but instead made all of us feel special.  She made us want to be better.  She taught us to use the right side of our brains, the creative side, and how to get in "The Zone".  When you're in "The Zone", you are creating freely, without inhibitions, without worry of "doing it right".  You lose track of time and place.  Your body and your mind is peaceful, caught up in the joy of being creative.

I used to be The Queen of "The Zone".  I had an art class right before dinner, and I would meet my roommate, and some of our other friends at the cafeteria.  When someone would talk to me, my roommate would say, "Don't even try to talk to Jen for at least 15 minutes.  She's still in The Zone".

My junior year of college I transferred to the college where my dad taught (where I should have gone all along).  At that college, juniors went to The Art Institute of Pittsburgh for a year, and completed a Visual Communications/Graphics program.  This was a bit of a struggle for me.  Previously my art was very loose, very free, and very messy.  Suddenly the focus was on precision, design, and execution.

These days, when I try to draw, or paint, or do anything creative, I struggle to balance the two sides of myself - the free and the precise.  I probably lean more towards the graphic side.  The free, loose part of myself is harder to reach.  It's hard to get in "The Zone" when your 3 year old is saying, "Are you done NOW?... How about NOW?"  That is why I love what I did last week for the Spring prompt (I'm a week late).

I started out drawing the picture in pencil, then colored it in marker.  Then, I got out the watercolors, and the precise side of myself tried to paint "inside the lines" (I'll discuss that some other day).  But, that's the great thing about watercolors.  They bleed.  They run.  They do what they want.  They force you to be free.  I won't say I reached "The Zone", but I could almost feel it on the horizon.

(If you don't know by now, Simply Feather, is the ringleader of this Paint With Me weekly challenge.  If you are creative, or long to be, head over and find out how to participate.)


blue china studio said...

I know what you are talking about when struggling with the free and the precise. I have that problem too and that is why I like this paint with me experience. It is making me step out of my box a bit.

I like what you've done here. What a sunny cheerful image!

thanks for stopping by my blog.

Jana said...

I love that you have lines to make it definite and then the paint sort of spills over and adds a glow around the images, I never went to school for this kind of art but envy those who did!

Feather said...

i enjoyed the history of jen story. i, too, struggle between being free and being perfect. my mind wants to be perfect. my soul longs to spread wings. that's why i started the paint with i could explore with others.
your watercolor method is one i've used often, for similar reasons. i can't control watercolors by themselves, but i love them outside the lines of markered drawings. it makes me LOOK haphazard!
on this rainy, dreary, idaho day, your bright spring painting cheered up my eyes!

Anonymous said...

I get this! With 3 kids pulling for my attention, I can't seem to ever get in "The Zone" - and for that reason shy away from taking on any sort-of creative project (or a project in general, as of late.) I think that the more you do these exercises and the more you allow yourself to create something without boundaries, the more likely you are to be able to settle right into your current zone.

Steph said...

I love your post about being in the zone. I like learning about other people and your writing is engaging. Your flowers are wonderful. I love the uniqueness of each one and the bright colors and the outlines and places where the paint chose to bleed. Lovely.

Mary said...

The's been so long since I've been there! I use to make quilts and sometimes it took a while but I would totally get "in the zone" and get sucked into it! It's a wonderful feeling!

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

I remember the zone very well and I also remember that I haven't been there in a long time. And having a three year old really does make it much more difficult. But you got a nice piece out of all of it so I think it worked out OK!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I envy you artists. Art classes are truly on my someday list.

That really evokes spring.