Time For New Growth Artist drawing iPad

A Time For New Growth

& Behind-the-Scenes Peek

I spotted crocuses and snowdrops poking their heads up through the melting snow and now my forsythia and magnolias are starting to bud. Soon I'll see my fiddlehead ferns forcing their way through the soil and violets will be blooming in my yard. We are surrounded by new growth all the time, but none more noticeable than in the spring of each year.

 

As I have emerged from this winter, I have seen new growth in my life as well. I've always drawn my designs on a computer with my mouse and straight lines. Clean, straight, and easily fixable should a line go astray. It was actually a big step for me when I started drawing and finally after a few years I allowed myself to say that I am an artist. But it always felt like cheating. I mean, I'm not a fine artist. With paint and a canvas.

Worried About Making Mistakes

I've dabbled with painting over the years and tried different mediums. First I had a class in acrylics (eaier to control for this control freak) and later watercolors (I love the look, but hard for me to let go and embrace the many imperfections). In between, I had an instructor for an oil class laugh at my tiny brushes and minuscule strokes. "You need to paint vhat you zee!" "Beeg strokes, beeger!" she would admonish me in her strong accent and make me paint with her giant brushes. I was painting and thinking too small and was too worried about making a mistake.

Trying Something New

This past year as we all had extra time we didn't expect, I sat down with my daughter and started painting. Oil paints again. And it was a nice afternoon activity, but it didn't pull me in and make me crave painting like I know some are prone. But then this fall I heard of a technique for the first time. Gouache (pronounced guwash) is like watercolor but with more pigment. I loved the look and the way the edges of painted objects had texture. I love color and the bold colors of gouache weren't washed out at all. Could I do it?

 

I had an idea percolating in my mind and it gave me a starting point of what to paint. My brand has always been about celebrating, especially our states and towns - where we love to live and visit. So I started with my home state of Michigan and the branches and cones of our state tree the White Pine. Then I added in our state fruits - apples and for this side of the state, blueberries and cherries. And I thought of our state wildflower the trillium which we should be seeing in the woods shortly this time of year.

Always Time For New Growth

I started playing and blending and arranging. I was pretty happy with the results but it still felt pretty uptight and would take me waaay too long to actually paint all 50 states as I had in mind. I had to relax and not worry about imperfections and just paint. So I finally did. And with each state I am seeing progress instead of perfection. No matter what age or stage we are at in life, there is always time for new growth.
Jennifer Smelker

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