Thursday, March 25, 2010

Movie of Food, Life of Art

What does it mean if you never finish anything you've started?

This is something I've been thinking about lately, mostly because I was watching the literally delicious (well maybe not literally, but I had to use that word to show the maximum amount of deliciousness that the movie has :) ) movie called Julie & Julia, in which Julie Powell complains to her husband in the beginning about how she never finishes anything, when she doubted she could make all 524 of Julia Child's recipes come to life in 365 days (yes, I actually remember the number of recipes, and it's because I watched the movie three times). When she said this, a pang of the feeling of anxiety and near hopelessness hit me, reminding me of the experiences in the past where I'd start a seemingly exciting, door-opening project for myself, and end up letting it go a few weeks or months later because I've become lazy or doubtful of the possibility of accomplishing it completely. Such projects or ideas have included: knitting a blanket (I still have the stack of twenty-something squares that I haven't laid a finger on in years), cooking dinner for me and my family every night, and playing the piano every so often after I stopped taking classes a year and a half ago.

During these past few months, I've become so lazy about doing anything besides studying, eating, sleeping, and watching TV. Usually, when I come home from every late afternoon from college, I am exhausted--mentally, from studying almost constantly while I'm on campus, and physically, from the daily task of walking to my bus stop and taking the bus both to and from home. And when I'm exhausted and at home, the free-time activity I have in my mind is to watch TV, and only watch TV. I would think of it as the only human activity I have energy to take part in. This is very unfortunate because as much as I try to avoid it, a small voice resides in the back of my mind that tells me I should take on the countless opportunities of revisiting my creative side, which was what I used to do in my life up until my freshman year (in college) began.

Mostly because it was required in art class, but also of course because I enjoyed it with all my heart, I would spend my middle school and high school days sketching, painting, dabbing with a towel, scratching, inscribing, taping, printing, and doing other strange but fun things on the pages of my sketchbook. By the end of my senior year, I had come up with the simple yet exciting ritual of going online, exploring the wide world of portait photos, printing out the one that had struck me the most, eagerly grabbing my sketchbook and pencil/charcoal piece, and reinventing the image I had chosen. Then, I would take my watercolor paints, brush, and my grandfather's old palette, and swish on various colors that would accentuate the parts of the portrait that I was the most proud of.
Every time I was finished with each of these portraits, I always felt a sense of pride, warmth, and familiarity with my creativity that I thought could stretch around the world in endless circles. Besides having been part of me since I was 12, art has been part of my family too (specifically on my mom's side), and that has made me feel like something whole, that being my family itself. I not only felt connected to myself and my inner voice, but even more to the strong ties I've had with my closest family members. But don't get me wrong, I don't depend fully on art to feel connected with my family, it's just something that makes me think more about it.

However, I haven't exactly felt this way since last July, more specifically since the day after I came back from my vacation in California, where I stayed with my aunt (my mom's sister ;) ). I had created a piece out of charcoal and acrylic paint, of a woman in a vibrant red dress holding a glowing umbrella that rests on one shoulder, as she gazes to the side, revealing her attractive feminine features in profile view. Although I wasn't most connected to this art work, I still felt some string of hope that I was getting, how do you say it, my "groove back"?

But since then, I barely have even used the charcoal to make something just as in depth as the pieces I made in high school. There have been times where I've taken my sketchbook in hand, but in those times I only felt the capacity to just casually leave a few swipes of pen or color on the page, with no real color implemented into it.

But this is the part of my blog entry where I will bring back the subject of Julie & Julia. Watching this movie reminded me of how it feels to rediscover oneself by some form of art; in the movie it was food, in my life it is the visual arts--the act of painting, drawing, or even just taking pictures of things I had wished to gain different perspective of. With this reminder, I was also given hope. I now know that really it is easier to get all my creativity out on paper that I have imagined; I seem to have expected too much in the beginning and therefore been disapponted in myself for not giving as much as I used to; but it just takes a little more time, more time to get accustomed to the time I've lost and more to the future time of making the most of my days. Most likely later today or early tomorrow, I will start taking my daily routines more seriously by encouraging myself to draw something, anything, even if it is just a tree branch I saw in the park a few days ago (that was just a random example, I don't actually remember sticks I see for that long, but I do care to remember the parts of nature that strike me and use that inspiration to create my art).

Wish me luck!.

Bean out.

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