Shauna would like the members of the class to shed their prejudices of what, say, a head should be shaped like, and instead, depict whatever shape we see, regardless of our knowledge that it may be a head.
To that end, she's having us work from a small copy of a painting by her favorite artist, Joaquin Soralla, a Spanish painter who lived from 1863 to 1923. http://www.joaquin-sorolla-y-bastida.org/
Copying the painting upside down, still using pastels, I came up with this:
Which one do you think is closer to the original? I guess I have to say the second one. Drawing it upside down was like putting together a puzzle, let me tell you.
As I was working on it, I was thinking of the 10,000 hour rule theory put forth by author Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers. In the book, he describes the Beatles performing live in Hamburg, Germany, on over 1200 days from 1960 to 1964, thus reaching 10,000 hours of performance time. That's the level of practice, Gladwell says, to get really good at something.
Shauna, our teacher, says, "I'm better than you. But I've been painting eight hours a day for years."
Sometimes people tell me I'm a talented art quilter, and I'm very happy to hear that, but really, to me, the products of my labors, which appear to some people to be the result of talent, are instead the result of dogged determination and persistence and continuous continuing effort, which includes the willingness to fall flat sometimes. I'm working on my 10,000 hours as an art quilter.
As a pastels artist, I have a lot farther to go. But I'm enjoying the experience and the experiment. I hope Shauna will eventually lead us to working with images of landscapes. I'm coming to realize that they're my favorite subject matter for art quilts. I've made quite a few of them. Here are some examples:
God knows I'm tryin'. I'm hoping that these lessons with shapes and pastels will translate into a vision I can use for my art quilts. Or maybe pastels will become a new, separate medium for me. If there's one thing I learned from the Artist's Way, it's just go ahead and do it, and be willing to be bad before you can get good.