Art to heart…

“Creativity takes courage” – Henri Matisse

Quite possibly, but it also takes the availability of the right tools to be creative with.

I don’t profess to be an artist, I enjoy being creative and since using iPad I know that I’m a visual learner. I was not sure however that this qualified me to announce my artistic prowess. I’ve dabbled in using the colouring in app Lake especially as it has a setting that lets you colour over the lines but makes it look perfect. A digital substitute for the endless sheets of geometric patterns that I completed for hours on end as a child. Now firmly under the banner of mindfulness.
Lake: De-Stress Therapy with Art Colouring Pages by Lake Colouring

Whether the end product is ‘perfect’ or not, I think the answer lies in recognising the value of visual communication. “A picture is a poem without words” – Horace. So armed with my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, I downloaded Procreate
Procreate – Sketch, paint, create. by Savage Interactive Pty Ltd

My first challenge was to discover how to get started. I chose an A4 canvas from the many offered and remembered about the layers option, the “creative” in the Apple Store Covent Garden had shown me. My first attempt was a few dots that resembled an image I had in my head of fennel.

Encouraged by these marks, I painted a real flower picked from my garden, a cactus dahlia, I lost myself in experimenting with the textures, colours and lines made so precisely (and technically) but effortlessly with the Apple Pencil. I did also use my finger and a secondary stylus too to prove to myself that it was the process rather than the what I used which made the difference. Procreate has a built in facility for your work to be played back as a video, every mark made recorded and captured. A remarkable way for teachers to either assess and coach their protégés.

The end result resembled the flower in front of me, so with this in mind, I turned to portraiture. How hard can this be? Yes, hard. By this I mean it was a different type of challenge category. My dahlia could have been any one of hundreds but a face is unique, and recognisable so I was determined to set myself the task of copying the image of someone famous…and holding up my fragile skills by asking the risky Photofit question of ‘do you recognise this person?’ . Ok so I cheated by choosing someone who was really, really famous…( hint the chosen one, famous wizard who defeats he who cannot be named…) but sneakily left off the glasses!

Although this was relatively well received, ( I was pleased) I still had the nagging voice in my head saying that to be an artist you’re work needed originality. If I could actually draw the portrait of someone not famous…and capturing their likeness the essence of them, that would signal that perhaps being an artist is within my capabilities. Or at least supported and revealed by my digital paint set. The result was pleasing as those who knew the ‘sitter’ recognised him (…those who did not thought he could have been a bad attempt at Ed Sheeran as the quintessential ‘ginger’) I’m not sure whether the lack of hair or the beard was a factor in the mistaken identity.

Henri Matisse was right, creativity does take courage, especially if you are willing to hold up your brush marks for approval. Our students do this every day, we as teachers glance at their efforts and offer our judgement. Rightly or wrongly, from a position of knowledge or complete ignorance, an assessment is made. I felt proud of my work and shared it with a few friends who were kind enough to give me some positive feedback…so much so that I’m off to try my hand at a landscape!

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