Another Difficult Assignment

As an art student, I try to put myself in places where I might get inspiration for my work. If I am stuck in my classroom seat in the midst of an assignment, I have to rely on my imagination. Fortunately I have the gift of recall so I can muster up some imagery if I have some previous experience with a subject, or even if I have just seen pictures online or in books. My brain is a storehouse for artwork production.  This is how it all works. I do have another idiosyncrasy. I tend to turn everything into a cartoon in my mind or on paper. It pleases me but not always my art professor. You never know when this bent will make an appearance.

Today I have to draw a beach scene with normal people and for some reason I am struggling with concentration and it isn’t coming out just right. I have been to the shore a million times over the years so that isn’t the problem. It is such a generic subject and should not be difficult to execute. Why I am overworking the beach umbrellas, I have no idea. I can’t decide on the colors, sizes and placement. I want the composition to show a rhythmic play of these circular shapes. I believe this is a good approach, but somehow these utilitarian objects look strange.

After starting this post to vent my frustration, I sit back and think clearly about my last trip to the beach. Sure, there were umbrellas galore. On hot sunny days they pop up everywhere to shelter people from the intense rays of the sun. Mothers put their children underneath their shelter as they apply sunscreen in globs. Food in coolers is protected from the heat. Besides doing their job helping sunbathers and swimmers enjoy their day, the beach umbrellas from Just Beach Things look so cool, like colorful giant lollypops poking out from the sand.

Now that I have spewed a few words, I am more relaxed and ready to try again. I start over with the umbrellas and now the shape looks right. The professor peeks over my shoulder and nods with approval. This causes other students to come and take a look. Suddenly we are all up and exchanging opinions of each other’s work. It became a critique session and while helpful it stopped the creativity from flowing as we assessed the responses. Mine were favorable so I jumped back in and finished the assignment. Time was almost up. It wasn’t mean to be a big deal but it became one for some odd reason. I was pleased with the results and super happy with the beach umbrellas. I had modeled them on the many I had seen when on vacation. I did include one odd ball version with a really funny decoration. Cartoon figures danced around the edge of the central umbrella, proclaiming their existence with glee. Did anyone notice?