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Lynne Hurd Bryant Art Blog

Asking for trouble and finding it

by lynnehurdbryant , October 14, 2011—01:21 AM

Topics: art, in, relationships

I don't know if being 50 has given me more wisdom about my shortcomings or merely a stronger desire to try to bend myself in new ways. Sometimes, as when I dove into oil painting this summer, I am successful, while in others ways I am not quite so successful.

Enter a tempting offer to illustrate a book for an Australian author. Am I game? Sure...knowing full well that I am not an illustrator, that I was taught to paint what I see and to leave imagination out of the equation. Illustrating a children's book requires an imagination and a skill I don't believe I possess. My imagination, artistically speaking, has been painstakingly subdued in favor of a "clean eye." As for the skill of drawing anthropomorphized animals from angles I can only see in my mind's eye, it is not subdued, as it is not a skill I have felt I ever I had, or would need.

Add into this something that never crossed my mind: The animals in question are ordinary for an Australian child, but quite exotic for this middle-aged Western artist...echidnas, emus, wombats, platypuses and kangaroos. Like most of Americans of my generation, the closet we got to a kangaroo was a zoo or Mister Greenjeans. An emu is an easier prospect as they are raised, with ostriches, in my part of eastern Wyoming. I see these foreigners frequently, but I had never even seen a photograph of a wombat!

To top off my anxiety about this project is an embarrassing factoid: I have not made any art since the end of May owing to job scheduling, financial stress and illness. Graphite pencils have always felt strange to me, because I am so much more comfortable with color than pure value. I don't see life's issues in shades of gray, and likewise I can't see lifeforms in shades of gray either. The preliminary work has to be done in graphite.

I am out of my comfort zone on every level here. If the publisher moves ahead, all this work will need to be done again, but this time in colorful watercolor where I am much happier to work. Time will tell if this was wisdom or a desire to bend in a way I am incapable of bending.




  Mary Ann Kitchell

10/14/2011 * 12:58:22

Think good thoughts, Lynne. The emu you've shown here is wonderful and your work is better than you may be feeling it is at this time in your life.

After a death in my family, I came across an article about the ups and downs in life:

"Everything passes in cycles. A high wave comes, a crushing wave comes, a gentle swell follows. Whatever comes, stay in your boat. And enjoy the ride. And row."

Good advice? Sure. Hard to follow? Sometimes. We all just do the best we can. Good luck; keep us posted on this project!

Mary Ann

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