“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life… and not when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” — Henry David Thoreau
It’s amazing that anyone survives college. Life as a student can be a recipe for physical and psychological burnout and disaster. As a young student I was always pressed for time and money—I lived on a diet of rice, lentils and Mr. Noodle, worked midnight shifts at a shelter and wondered what I could do to stop the environmental crisis and help victims of human trafficking. I remember feeling overwhelmed much of the time and often wondered if anything I did mattered in the grand scheme of things. The Slow Movement coupled with Voluntary Simplicity seemed to provide a bit of rest while living in such psychologically and physically demanding circumstances.
Well I now eat balanced meals and sleep at night, but I find myself returning to the Slow Movement as a visual artist surrounded by a (seemingly) saturated visual culture. Everywhere I turn I find myself feeling lost in a world full of wonderful art and artists, but it can be very difficult to try and make out my own ideas and put my own voice out there with so many others. Where does my small contribution fit in the grand world of Art and Artists?
Applying the principles of the Slow Movement to how I approach my work as an artist gives me permission to not only work at my own pace, but to take time to listen to my thoughts and even return to the basics—those helpful exercises and methods that I so often rush passed in order to get somewhere.
So I have decided to devote some time to looking at “the basics” of visual art. And even before that I must discover what “the basics” are.
As a starting point I have made myself a basic shapes chart as a reference not only for the shapes but also for the four mediums I enjoy working in: pen, pencil, watercolour and chalk.
It is quite freeing to have permission to return to the basics.