practice

Tools & Talismans #78 — Maria Pace-Wynters

I use many different tools for mark making and papers for patterns and textures.

I have had my horse hair brush for over thirty years. I use it to brush away all the the grit, chalk dust, and paper scraps off my work place.  It is functional but I love how it looks and I love that I have had it for such a long time.  I use my dragon brush occasionally but it is less functional. Mostly, I just like to have it around to look at.  I love surrounding myself with beautiful things. I find such pleasure in that.

My cup and saucer were given to me by my mother decades ago. It is rare that any dish that I use daily would last that long so that in itself makes it special to me. The colours used to be bright, fruit on a green background, but they are now faded. I find that comforting somehow. My husband makes me a latte in a flask and I take my cup and flask to my studio every day. It’s the perfect size. I pour out small amounts from the flask so it stays hot. I often forget about my coffee when I get into a painting so this stretches it out longer and I am not left with a large cup of cold coffee.

My necklace is always around my neck. I love the large circle. It represents the circle of life to me. My mother in law gave it to me and it is handmade by a jeweller from Alberta.

My nib pen and black ink play a huge part in my mixed media paintings. I love the many mark making tools that I have but my favourite tool is my nib pen.

Maria Pace-Wynters is a mixed media artist.

Tools & Talismans — The Beginnings

I’m taking a little break from the guest paintings this week, to share with you the very first one — some tools and talismans from my drawing table, and the very first painting I made, long before I was calling this series anything more than: “I’ll Try This”.

Perspective is a lovely thing to have for anything really, but it’s particularly helpful when you’re embarking on any kind of regular practice. To be able to see it from the beginning — to see how my skill has progressed, to also see the places where I could still improve, to feel how much more at ease I am with the medium, and to be able to look back from where I am now and still love this very first piece — if only because it’s where I started.

When starting something new, doesn’t some part of us long to be expert from the very first step, to be gifted and sure on our first expedition, to make no mistakes, take no wrong turns, essentially to already be where we’re going before we’ve even left the station?

It reminds me of my piano teacher in middle school and how she said to me at my third or fourth lesson: You can’t come to your lesson, practice here and hope that you’re ever going to be any better than you were the day you started playing.

Somehow I thought she’d never know that I wasn’t practicing in between the lessons, but I went home that day and started the practice of practicing. In terms of playing piano, I wanted to feel my fingers move on the keys with ease and with joy, just like I want to feel joy in this new medium of watercolor.

The thing is, if every endeavor began with ease and dexterity, we’d never get to experience the journey, we wouldn’t get to see ourselves go from “eh” to awesome, we wouldn’t get all the bits and pieces we get to gather along the way, and we wouldn’t get the chance to celebrate the progress. Practice has its own special place in all my journeys, and in this one in particular — because practice found me in the midst of 100 women and their Tools & Talismans.

What have you been practicing lately?