Diving Into Water Art

May 13th, 2009

work in progress, dive deep

One of my favorite natural elements is water. It soothes and calms me in a way that I can't quite explain, but just know deep down. I can sit by a lake, river, or the ocean and immediately feel this rush of peace fill me up. I was inspired earlier this week to begin a painting with water in it, which made me think of the nature theme going on this month for the Creative Every Day Challenge.

I hadn't been thinking of nature in terms of the elements, there are so many ways to interpret the theme, but it could be fun in the future to divide the month up, so that each week focused on a different element. Maybe another year!

I mentioned on Twitter that I had to put aside something I was working on to begin this painting which was just itching to get out. Sometimes a bit of inspiration will come tapping on your shoulder and if you put it off, it will start tapping softly, then more vigorously, and then it will practically beat you senseless until you do something about it. So, yesterday, I began by laying down a collaged background on a tall, skinny wooden panel that I'd gessoed up first. I collaged layers of maps, architecture plans, textures, patterns, graph paper, and other bits. I chose the items intuitively based on the idea that is already in my head for this piece, which is diving deep. I've still got more to do with this piece, but I thought you might like to see it in progress.

In a bit of synchronicity, while on a walk today, I came upon a gorgeous lake that I didn't know about. There was on old stone bench in the cool shade where I was able to sit and watch the little windswept waves lap at the shoreline where two dogs displayed their Spring wildness and their owners picnicked in the grass nearby.

So lovely, so peaceful.

I felt surrounded by the elements then: the fierce hotness of the sun, the wind blowing my hair around, the tree branches shading me above while little bell shaped flowers played near my feet, and the sparkling water stretching out ahead. What could be better? How do the elements inspire you? Are you drawn to one more than another? Why do you think that is?

Perhaps you can play a bit with you favorite element in a bit of art or journal about the elements. Perhaps a poem will come tripping out or a short story. Keep your eye out for the elements this week and see what they might have to share with you.

20 Responses

Water is around me today – rain on the grass & gently falling. & in the playschool classroom, an octopus for the kids to explore, (dead), a pile of sand & shells, making play dough sea creatures . . .

Back & forth, rain, cool; getting sunny in fits & spurts; spring flowers, gardens sprouting.

Oh, I love water! Water comes up a lot in my poetry, particularly rivers, as it’s my favorite element. This painting is beautiful!

Gorgeous work in progress, Leah. Love the depths and layers. I got my fill of water today – went for a dip in the pool and still have water stuck in my ear ;) .

I have felt drawn to stones lately and find myself photographing them. normally, I’m a water girl myself-drawn to blues and greens and lakes and rives and trickles of streams. But now, it’s those rocks on the riverbed that I love.

lovely post-I hadn’t consciously thought about it but now that you mention it, I see how I am being drawn to a nature element that soothes and grounds me now.

This is wonderful! I did sign up a while back, but I haven’t really participated. I am going to try to participate this month. Natural elements are wonderful. I love the water. Water is the source of life. Thank you for sharing!

As I read this, rainy season is beginning here in Thailand and I hear water gushing off the edge of the balcony… going to sleep listening to blankets of rain is beautiful, too.

I love this collage and the depth it makes me feel… great to see the work in progress!

Fire. And Water. my astrological (cusp) elements. They make steam, I’m told. =]

I just found out my element is water through a book on Feng Shui. I live on a lake and cannot express how soothing it is to me. I love your new painting. It feels like me and what I’m doing in my life. Diving into life is far better than standing on the side lines.

I added the CED link to my blog. I have my sassy pants on now cuz I figured out how to do it! But I’d still like your OK that it’s how you’d like it. Thanks, Leah.

Leah! I can’t WAIT to see the finished piece because this is already so rockin’ awesome. Totally reminds me of Adrienne Rich’s Diving into the Wreck, one of my absolute favorite poems. :)

I love the water, too. There is a reservoir about 40 minutes from here with bike/walking trails running along one side taking you through forest and prairie, near & far from the lake. We have a favorite section to walk that takes us right next to a beach that can only be accessed by bike, foot or boat. It makes a wonderful afternoon retreat.
I love the colors in your piece. I’m getting ready for a guest to arrive next week, so I’m refraining from making any paint “messes” but I did assemble a necklace last night that was all about water colors.
Thanks for your inspiration!

I like this “work in progress” and the inspiration it gives me to think about adding elements to my art work.

I like the layers with bits of music here and there. Interesting what you say about the elements. I’m drawn to fire. On a physical level, I think it’s the positive ions ;) A deeper level than that? I’m not sure.

Yes, water will give that tranquillity…

Like the way you used the paper in the picture, looking forward to seeing the final resoult.

I’ll take the idea of doing the elements, or one of them with me in my art journal this week…


me, too! i feel the exact same way about water. love it!

What a magnificent piece! Seems so complete to me (in the way its voice resonates). I look forward to seeing the finished work.

love your diving in the water art Leah! i love to just look at the ocean. so calming and when i can swim, i feel so free! i like all the layers of words and content, much like what we go through as we go through they day!

This is gorgeous so far – and extremely inspiring, as usual.

I think my birds and moon painting was directly inspired by the spirit and images on your blog.

leah, this piece is so beautiful and inspiring! please keep us posted if you’re ever going to sell prints of it!!!

HUGS, kelly

I’m a lot of air and fire. Guess I’m full of hot air (har d har har). But seriously these are the two elements that speak to me the most, though I work with metal and love stones, which are pretty hard core earth type things. Oh yeah, and I love the washing away that water can do. It’s such a powerful cleansing meditation device. Of course, fire is even more powerful as a forceful, complete cleanser!

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