Call a calla

I was startled by calla lilies once. Not real callas, but a painting of calla lilies. I saw it in a local art gallery and the lilies spiraled up soft and loose, but powerful and, you know, vital or something, out of an intensely dark and colorful background. They didn’t look at all like the puny snail-nibbled, bedraggled flowers growing crowded alongside the house I lived in then.

I go back and forth on my infatuation with callas, but they are calling to me again. I’m not sure why. Today I cut the one calla in my yard that is starting to bloom from the one plant I own. I plan to make some sketches (at least one, I hope) every day as it opens. If it opens. Sometimes after cutting, they don’t. I planned to pull up a chair and sketch it outside, but it rained all day so, oh, darn, I had to bring it inside to the warm, dry house.

This little critter hitched a ride into the warm, dry house under the petal curl, and got sent back out right after it was photographed.

I have some avoidance issues with sketching. At least once a month I resolve : “Every day I will do at least one sketch” or ” I will do one sketch of Gertidog every day,” or that tree, or the view of . . . . whatever. I follow through for a day or two and then it just slips my mind – possibly on purpose. (Why is that? Now I start rambling so if you are in a hurry you might want to skip to the end parenthesis. It’s my “I wish I was perfect” model. Some of my drawings are OK and some of them just aren’t. I want my sketches to be good if they are going in a sketchbook that I will go back and look at, or yikes, someone else would look at, and see all of my mistakes. So I start drawing in a too controlled way that I hate, but can’t seem to get past, but that I know, if I sketched more, I would get past. Maybe I should just draw on scraps of paper that I could easily cull at will because you know you shouldn’t tear too many pages out of a sketchbook because it looks really silly with a big spiral and 10 or 20 pages inbetween the covers.) So it’s a battle with myself, but now I really, really promise myself I will sketch this calla lily every day till it completely opens. If it does.

I did a few pages of sketches and then there were these little bowls just sitting there and I guess I’d rather do my sketching on hard clay. And then trying out some color

but I kind of chickened out on the one with the white background. I think I will wait and see how the blue one comes out before I start piling up the color. I’m not exactly sure how much I color I can put on before it gets muddy or just what color(s) I want to use.

What I really should do is a color sketch every day. If I can make it for a week doing one sketch a day, next week I will add some color to every sketch. Um, I promise.


4 responses to “Call a calla

  1. There’s a great series of articles on Roz Stendahl’s blog about journaling superstitions that you might enjoy here: (she’s up to #13 now and those posts address many of those sketchbook/sketching worries. Also I have a fun book I’d be happy to loan you by Danny Gregory, “The Creative License” that is an antidote to any kind of sketching avoidance. It got me started with sketching again a few years ago and you know how much I love sketching. I like the idea of sketchbook abuse–carry it everywhere, and fill that puppy with everything, from thoughts to paintings, to sparkly stuff found on the street and glued in, to drawings, scribblings, color tests, and everything in between. The more you put in there and the more you fill the less precious they become.

    You could also save a page after sketches that you use to make ceramic art to paste a photo of the finished piece and any details about the firing or glazes.
    P.S. Love those sketches on clay and the lines of those callas.

  2. i love calla lilies too… the sketches on the plates came out great! looking forward to the fired results.

  3. Your callas are beautiful. I remember we had them growing in our yard when I lived in Vallejo as a kid and I just loved them. We also had some naked ladies, which I also loved. For the past several years I saw the nurseries had calla lilies in different colors. Can’t wait to see how your callas turn out, just beautiful.

  4. they are so light and airy they look like they are still growing!
    Love them!

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