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Oct 21, 2007

How This All Started

I have never had any formal training in Art. My undergraduate degree is actually in Counselling. My love for Art has existed since I was a child, but it wasn't until I had taken my first trip abroad to London, that I realized Art defined me. By that time, I had completed 3 years toward my major and was not willing to change majors. When we moved to Japan, I had time and a new beginning but no real direction. I knew I wanted to paint and draw but where to begin was a constant struggle.

I moved to Japan the first time just after getting married and graduating from University. I was 21 at that time. We stayed for two years and then flew directly to Mexico to backpack through Northern Mexico. We finally settled in Southern California. After several years of working, we missed Japan and once again moved and settled in Sapporo.

While living in Sapporo, I studied Sumi-E (Japanese/Chinese Ink Painting) for 16 months at the Sapporo NHK Bunka Center. The traditional and controlled form of Sumi-E had an important impact on my art, as well as my development as an artist.

I am very stubborn when it comes to learning. I like to discover for myself how to do something. So when I joined the Sumi-E class, I was very resistant to all the rules that had to be followed when painting. I thought, "How can anyone be creative with all these restrictions?" Everything was repetitive and had to be done a certain way.

As time passed, and my understanding of that Art form took shape. I began to see the benefit of practicing the same brush strokes, in a particular order, time and time again. Through this discipline, I learned that the brush strokes become a part of me -- instinctual -- and the picture soon becomes itself with little effort, allowing creativity to lead. I realized that the hand works from memory: creativity is discipline in disguise.

Toward the end of my studies, I started exploring painting the figure. I developed my own style using what I had learned in my Sumi-E class. We moved again and settled in Zacatecas, Mexico. I was able to work on my Art full-time and fully develop my own style of painting the figure.

Fast forwarding to the present, we came back to Japan five years ago. This being our third time to live in Japan.


Bobbie said...

Juana, I love your work and this story of how you arrived at your art form is very interesting. I am following your blog via google reader .

Gallery Juana said...

You are so kind bobbie. I had to update the layout of the post, so I hope that didn't give you too many notices.

dianeclancy said...

Hi Juana,

Your story is very interesting! Actually pretty amazing ... it is great you could teach yourself.

~ Diane Clancy

Gallery Juana said...

I think travelling gave me that chance.

Neda said...

Fascinating. I dream of going to Japan... You describe my feelings exactly about resisting instruction. I am self-taught too and it's hard to get "disciplined." Your work is amazing though!

Gallery Juana said...

Wow, Neda, I didn't realize that you are self=taught as well. Your work is impressive!

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