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  • Danielle Pioli

Slow Living Artist? My LARGEST painting so far

Oof, it's been a minute!

I had to sacrifice YouTube (click here or scroll down to only watch video) and other creative/communication outlets for a few reasons this past couple of months. One of them was my mental health as I approached a deadline, another one was the actual deadline.

So yeah, I couldn't do both. I wish I didn't have this big of a pause because it's very bad for my algorithms and all, but what can I do? Work has to come first. They are actually paying me! hahaha

Alright. Big canvas! Scary!

It's not even that big. I know. But it is a big deal for me, who got used to micro drawings and was terrified of making anything bigger than a thumb.

For years all my drawings weren't bigger than a thumbnail. And that isn't the best habit for an artist.

I know why I did that. It was easier to control, I could easily see the whole picture, and I could draw with my wrists. BAD DECISION.

If you can, you should spare your wrists. Because we use it so much, it is a good idea to find other ways of working your arm in the drawing process, and the smaller you draw, the more wrist you're using.

But if you scale up to a bigger drawing, you can begin to incorporate your elbow and even your shoulder in the process. It also makes your drawing look more loose and relaxed instead of the hyper-controlled, tense strokes of a wrist-drawing artist.

So for years I've been wanting to draw bigger - and feel comfortable doing that.

It makes me anxious because I feel like I can't get the proportions right, the shapes right, anything right really. And even though I'm proud of myself for making this painting, I still look at it and see a whole lot of things that are just.. off.

And that's okay. That's part of the process. I'm learning, I'm improving, I'm getting better. And it's the same for all of us, with anything. We don't become great on the first try.

More than making a painting, this was an opportunity to remind me that I'm not in a race. I can take my time. I can practice slowly. I don't have to rush through anything. We are all practicing, we are all learning. No one really considers themselves a master. Because we know how much ground we still have to cover. And we will always have more.

More than making a painting, this was a reminder that I can try new things. I can still be curious, experiment, and have fun. I can still look for new ways to create or just have fun and clear my head. Not everything has to be portfolio-worthy. Not everything has to be monetized. Not everything has to become a product. Not everything has to be productive.

We can, and should, make time to just embark on adventures. To try a new sport. To do another art form. To just do nothing and stare out the window.

And this year, 2022, I decided that this is what I'm doing. I'm doing things I always wanted to do but never dared. Or never made time for. I decided I'm taking one minute at a time. One breath at a time. And do my best to pay attention to my life, to the moments I find myself in. Actually, I don't want to "find myself" in a moment, but take myself there and pay attention to the way that got me there.

I'm not getting any younger. No one is. Pause for a Benjamin Button joke you will make in your head. And life is passing. Time is passing. And we just have to live.

I know, there's work, there are bills, there are obligations we all have. But are we here just for that? Are we here for that at all? Are we here to try so hard to be the best that we forget to enjoy the ride? I don't think so.

So from time to time, I like to remind myself that I am a mortal being and I will die. It may sound morbid, but it is the one truth nobody can debate. It is an absolute truth. Whatever you consider death to be, our bodies will cease to exist. Our lives will no longer be.

And our fears won't matter. If we made a fool of ourselves won't matter. What we didn't do won't matter because they never had a chance to become something. Maybe our whole life won't matter, but maybe, just maybe, we will leave behind something good. Or at least our stay here will have been pleasant. And well lived.

I don't want this to become some sort of philosophical, with absolutely no answers, post. But in order to explain where I come from and why I'm choosing to do my best to just LIVE through every second and through every brushstroke, being present, then I have to go back to where I started. And all these thoughts have been in my mind.

So painting the largest canvas I've ever painted is one step in that direction. And even though it is hard to gather the energy to do it sometimes, I have to find a way to do it, because no one else is going to live my life for me. And the clock is ticking. Whether time is an opportunity to live or to let life pass you by, it won't stop for you.

It will not stop for you.

But I am not saying that to rush you. Like I said before, I want to be present in every moment. So what I'm saying is basically to be aware of the time passing and not waste any of it. Whatever you do - work, travel, workout, rest, breathe, ENJOY IT! Pay attention to it.

It is not an easy task. It doesn't seem complicated at all, but it is not an easy task. Daily life begins to sweep us under that routine of rushing and hurrying and worrying. And when that happens, we need to remind ourselves of our goal - well, it is MY goal anyway - and do our best to go back to that place.

Slowing down could be the best practice. Slowing down will help me achieve the things I couldn't because I have been looking too far ahead and feeling overwhelmed. So I hope this year I get to do the things I plan, little by little, taking one step at a time. Being able to remain calm and keeping anxiety low.

I've been overwhelmed for too long. And that was a waste of my time. I like to define what I've been feeling as being inside jello, where everything is dense and you have to try super hard to move just to end up at the same place, in the same position, square one. It takes a lot of energy for no improvement at all. And for some reason, I've been feeling this year will be a little lighter. It started lighter. Even though I'm swamped at work, I feel secure, optimistic, and capable of actually doing things. Something I haven't felt in a couple of years, probably more.

All of that just to explain why making this painting was so important to me. Why painting this portrait had so many different, and hidden, meanings. It is a metaphor, it is a sign, it is progress, it is a new mindset growing, it is a new lifestyle coming to life, it is so many things and that's why I make a big deal out of this not that big painting.

And I hope I get to make more of these. Bigger, smaller, more elaborated, abstract, whatever I feel called to do. I also hope I don't run out of money doing it because art materials sure are expensive as fuck!!

Thank you for reading this. This was a weird reflection on the meaning behind making a painting this size, and it turned into something I don't even know how to define, so let's say this video is a chaotic stream of consciousness. Just to make it fancy.

I hope you like watching the painting process, even though I really need to level up my game here. I don't have a lot of room behind me - or in front of me for that matter - well, I don't have a lot of room to place the camera at an angle that flatters the painting process and makes it more enjoyable to watch. Tips anyone?

Also, not a lot of room for good lighting either. I keep struggling with that.

Even though the video is chaotic, I hope you get something from it. Maybe this stream of consciousness made sense to you, maybe it didn't and that's okay. But I want to hear from you, I want to hear your input on the topic. Also, do you have resolutions for 2022? Let me know in the comments!

If this was interesting to you, leave it a Like, you know it helps a whole lot. Thank you!

See you in the next one!


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