Hands On

Hands On section header 2
It’s my way to creative learning – hands on!

I’m hoping that this will be a place where I can draw together all the creative strands that fill my days. Drawing, pastel painting, and now watercolours. And the years of photography, that are now intertwining with painting.

I’m a ‘hands on’ kind of person – it’s how I learn, and how I feel most creative. It’s taken me a lifetime to really understand this simple fact … I must be the world’s slowest learner! Only now, as I embark on my latest ‘hands on’ adventure, can I look back and understand how that thread has remained running through my life. If I am to understand something I need to DO it. Learning to cook, or how to read a map – it is the doing that will stay with me, not the recipe books or manuals. Give me a camera and I want to learn Manual Mode, not let the computer do all the work!

My artistic ‘adventure’ began when I was struck down with PVS (Post Viral Syndrome) the 1980s version of Long Covid. I had to find a way to handle being bed-bound and barely able to stagger to the bathroom.
Learning to draw – I decided it was an opportunity to learn to draw – something I could do while confined to bed.
Learning pastel painting – From drawing the next step was to add colour, and so pastels were added (still no water to mess up the bed)

Then after a bad relapse I decided I needed to learn computers – so the art work took a back seat. I started a website, learned emailing, and built up a really big community website all about small hand-held computers (the kind I could use in bed!)
Through being a webmaster and running a website I found myself using a camera … and it evolved into using photography to express the creativity I longed for. As I became more able to move about the house, and even walk outside a little, I found it was easier to shoot rather than paint – I could accomplish more with my limited energy!

Talking Digital Photography – I’ve spent several years with my cameras, learning what different lenses can do, and how they can help me create images that I love. And of course I need to use a desktop computer too, just as the original photographers used a dark room to process their negatives.
And that is where I find myself increasingly uneasy. I can run my images through all manner of programs or iPad/smartphone ‘apps’ and they will tranform my images into magical alternative worlds. How do they do it? I want to do it myself, to understand the process, to be ‘hands on’ with my images. Some of the simplest apps will ‘render’ my images as an oil painting or a watercolour.

Learning Watercolour painting – I’ve resisted, but finally I confess that I want to be ‘hands on’ and paint those images myself, with real paints, paintbrushes and paper. And so I have started the next step in my ongoing artistic education that I never had at school! I have so many photographs, so many images in my graphics archives … can I find the skills to make them into the images I see in my imagination? And the medium that draws me in is watercolour.
Learning from Cezanne I want to learn from Cezanne, but what is it that makes me choose him out of all the painters? What is so special about his watercolours?
Copying Cezanne – the age-old way of learning from the masters! Taking selected watercolours and finding out how they were painted
In the style of Cezanne How can I apply the lessons I’ve learned from copying, to my own painting?

Flickr holds my online Photo Gallery
© 2021 Elisa Liddell