Saturday, November 7, 2009

Slogging through the Muck, and a new painting is born

This is a field sketch (6"x8" oil on canvas board) of the larger piece I am working on now. I love the rusted tin, the cracks in the walls, and the patina on the limestone. Good stuff. I used the sketch as a model for the larger piece, as far as proportions go, which I am not sure is always such a good idea... There were some discrepancies, which I found when I took the larger piece to work on location (hurray for the french easel!). Had to change the roof line and some others a bit. I prefer to work wet on wet, but things dry faster here than in Washington... I wasn't sure of what to think of today's work, but by the time I got back to the studio, I was feeling better about my progress. I'll post more pics later.

My mind has been a terrible mess for the past few weeks(take a look in the back of my car, and you will see what my noggin innerts looked like). But here is what I have gathered from looking back on similar experiences:

Chaos ensues just before I have a breakthrough of some sort.

Whether the breakthrough is personal or related to my work- it always has the same effect. (...but then, "personal" and "my work" kind of go hand-in-hand, don't they?) This happens often, it is cyclical. I happily paint for a while and then all of a sudden it feels like my creativity has dried up. I stew on it for a bit, until the ideas and methods begin to boil and the next thing I know I am sailing through another fresh season of painting bliss!

An example of the method in my madness: My paintings generally looks shoddy right up until the last few touches are placed. Especially the cloud paintings- they are this huge jumble of oddly shaped color masses, not quite connecting, certainly not related, and as the final brushstroke go down -BOOM! we have clouds.

I feel like I have been in a funk for a little while and I realized today that part of my problem was just not letting each painting be what it was going to be. I have had the most success with a painting when I sit back and watch it develop. No expectations. No forcing it to unfold before it is ready. That can be frustrating. Its like getting to know people. I find it difficult sometimes to step back and let things happen at their own pace. Sometimes both people and paintings have to be allowed to unfold at their own pace. The outcome can be uncertain, but more often than not well worth the wait (some of my friendships have taken over a decade to ripen, but oh how sweet they are! Love-em.). Egad! Imagine working on the same painting for a decade plus! Ccchhhkk! The thought is bitter in my throat.

Summing up! It is all about letting go of the outcome. All I can do is know what I want and let it happen. (Now if I can just remember that when I get into the studio tomorrow morning... I need fifty sticky notes and a sharpie- STAT!!!)

Oh! My ad is out in Fine Art Connoisseur for November and December- check it out! I love it. Lee, you might recognize the painting...