A WELL DONE WOMAN – Carla Sonheim

We hope you enjoy and perhaps are even inspired by the series to celebrate women who, in our estimation, are “well done.  

What’s a “Well Done Women”?

  • She has weathered decades of life experience.
  • She’s navigated life changes – whether by choice, chance or necessity –  learns and continues to adapt.
  • She contributes to the world in diverse ways, small or large, sharing her values through social causes, charities, or caring for people, the planet & animals.
  • She is curious, creative and open to learning or having new experiences.

 Carla Sonheim, a WELL DONE WOMAN.

When her boys were young she taught art in their elementary school classrooms. Carla explained, “There I was tasked (happily!) with keeping the lessons both fun AND instructional, and when I began teaching adults a few years later, I continued this approach as I found that many people felt nervous about drawing especially… it helped to keep it FUN! From those two teaching experiences Drawing Lab was born.”

She and her husband Steve live in Seattle, Washington, just 10 minutes away from their three beautiful grandchildren.

Carla Sonheim helped jump-start my (judy) drawing.  Years ago, I took her on-line class “Silly” and have followed her on her blog and taken other classes since.

By Carla Sonheim

___________________

Here’s Carla’s response to the question of how she deals with feelings that “. . . art isn’t important and what the hell is art good for?”

” . . .My answer has three parts:

  1. The short answer, I think, is that the artwork I create isn’t really good for anything much at all. A few people might like it and enjoy it, but in the grand scheme of things, the artwork I make doesn’t matter all that much. Most of the time it just goes in drawers!
  2. On the other hand, it is ALL that matters.
  3. Or somewhere, anywhere, in between, depending on the moment and my mood.”

By Carla

* * *

Chinese writer and artist Gao Xingjian wrote (and this is from memory, so I might get it wrong): “An artist never changed the world; self-fulfillment is the best he can hope for.”

“I think this quote speaks to the first part of the above answer, where I feel that artwork I make — the actual drawings and paintings —  really aren’t that important.”

“It’s very likely that my work is never going to be collected by art galleries or museums, and most of the artwork I make is never going to be seen by more than a few people. So why do it?”

“BUT! We’re forgetting the PROCESS if we think that way.”

“The actual making of artwork provides me with three things:

1. “When I draw or paint, I feel better. I feel calmer, happier. I’m doing something I like to do, which makes me a happier person, which makes my husband and the rest of my family, happier people.”

2. “When I draw or paint, I am solving problems and challenging myself, and there is satisfaction in that… humans love to learn!! A side benefit… these problem-solving skills I can take into the rest of my world, such as running the business or navigating a friendship.”

3. “When I draw or paint, I either have something I like at the end of it that I can share or something that goes into the scrap drawer to be painted over later… a physical piece of work.”

“You can see that the artwork itself is just one of the three things above, just 1/3 of the benefits! The other two things are arguably ways that you would encourage anyone to spend their time doing — doing something they love and learning new things.”

* * *

“So that is what I mean when I say that making art is “ALL” that matters. It is something I love and it is the thing with which I choose to spend the bulk of my “learning” time. In other words, making artwork is my way of being in this world, interpreting it, trying to make sense of it.”

“Other people do it through sports or exercise, science, business, homemaking, cooking… we all have our things that we do that seem both frivolous at times (even cooking, does it matter in the grand scheme of things whether to use regular salt or sea salt?), but serve as the conduit through which we live our lives.”

“Therefore, it is “everything.”

“I learn from drawing and painting that life is full of paradox. There is duality in everything… we both love and hate, we both must be gentle and firm, etc.”

“For example, when I draw, I have to hold two seemingly contradictory things at the same time: I have to try and be gentle with myself and at the same time try and improve/get better (which means that at some level I know there is room for improvement, which is where the gentleness comes in).”

Collage Lady, by Carla

* * *

Finally, even though I know the above is true in my head, I get off track on a regular basis and feel dumb about all of the hundreds (thousands?) of drawings I have in drawers and what have I done with my life?!!

I find life wonderful, but I also find life very hard.

I do have clinical depression and, though it is mostly managed, it kicks my butt some days.  So sometimes I don’t do well at all with the feeling; I cast about.

Other days, when I’m feeling better, I can reach out to a friend and they can help remind me that I am okay just as I am, whatever I do with my time is my own business (as long as I’m not hurting people) and that taking an hour to draw a silly animal today is really okay.

Sometimes I read books by other creatives on the “why of creativity”… “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield and “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron are two that have helped me…

Mostly I try to remember that the feeling that I suck, my artwork sucks, life sucks… will pass. It always does (with the help of medicine and people around me… and drawing and painting).

And I’m pretty sure that the fact that I feel bad about all the art sitting in drawers is just a substitute for feeling bad about myself IN GENERAL, and that if I can continue to work on that (paradoxically, THROUGH making my artwork), the rest will take care of itself.

Collage Bird, by Carla

Sneak Peak – Lumps and Bump Shadows

The geeeeeeeorgeous model we had last life drawing class came back AND her body still did not have the lumps and bumps to match the drawings. So I focused on shadows.  

These are all 5 minute charcoal sketches.

Unfinished but good enough . . charcoal

 

Sneak Peek – Be Careful what I ask for . . .

My last life drawing post Nude No More I complained that the models were wearing clothes.  WELL!  This last model was nude AND geeeeeeeorgeous:  Tall, long, lean limbs, beautiful body, beautiful face, long blond hair and she was really nice . . .  I was soooooooo jealous.

2 minute warm-up, charcoal

10 minute pose, charcoal on back of cereal box

10 minute pose, charcoal on back of cereal box

Some of the models never talk to the students.  During their breaks they retreat to the dressing place or focus on their cell phones.  This model was personable, looked at the drawings and chatted.  

I was soooooooo jealous and told her not to come back until her body matched the lumps and bumps on our drawings.

Back in the art saddle again . . . bare-back

Haven’t drawn for months as I stopped going to art class when I fractured my ankle (couldn’t drive).  The fall semester of classes just started and I was curious to see if I’d lost all the progress I’d made.  

I was even more curious to see how my energy held up since the fractured triggered the worst of all my fibromyalgia symptoms.  My arms hurt during the 1 minute poses – probably because I was drawing furiously, holding tight to the charcoal, trying to stay in the saddle.  

During these 5 -10 minute poses I slowed myself down to a trot. 

Charcoal

Charcoal (The model isn’t as volumptuous as I drew her)

Charcoal (See? She’s quite svelte)

With this chronic condition I’m continually weighing the pain & pleasure ratio, trying to decide if the pleasure I get from activities is worth the ensuing pain.

Today, I’m sore and exhausted . . .

Sneak Peek into my Sketchy Life

Hadn’t been to life drawing class in over a month and now with my “foot in a sling” there are no nudes – other than Freddie –  in my immediate future.  These are the last few quickies.

Here are 10-minute sketches that are “printable”.

The next is what a typical one-minute warm-up looks like.  

The aim is to get the “attitude” or the “gesture” as there’s no time for details.

Sneak a Peek into my Sketchy Life – Venus

The first international Women’s day was celebrated in 1908.  A group of 15,000 women marched on New York streets, demanding their rights. Every year on 8th March the world joins in to support, raise, inspire and motivate women across all fields of work. The purpose of this day is to focus on themes such as innovation, portrayal of women in the media, or the importance of education and career opportunities. 

The official logo of International Women’s Day is the symbol of Venus.  

My “Venus”.

Charcoal, 20 minute sketch

Charcoal 10 minute sketch each figure

Here’s to the Venus in all of us

#MakeItHappen
#womensday
#IWD2015
#internationalwomensday
#PaintItPurple

Sneek a Peek into my Sketchy Life – with a Capital V

My head has stopped throbbing, my nose has stopped running, my bronchials have stopped bronchialing, and I’m no longer contagious.  Finally got back to life drawing classes just in time for my favorite model.  She’s VOLUPTUOUS has long red disheveled hair and fun to draw.

These are all 20-minute poses done with conte crayon.  The first and last drawings are my favorites.

And I thought I was her favorite?