The first three paintings are finished and with the photographer now. Here is the fourth, completely different, and very cute. This is a rainbow seahorse, an endangered species, and I thought it was a great way to finish off the series. I’ll post a picture when it’s finished.
I’m so close. I’m so close I’ve actually signed the paintings. I still can’t let them go. There was something about the third painting that just wasn’t quite right yet, and I didn’t know what it was.
This month, my focus, in general, has been on asking the right questions. It’s easy to ask something silly like, “Why do I always do this?” to which your brain will answer, “because you’re a schmuck!” It takes thought to ask the right questions, and the right questions are the ones that propel you forward in whatever you are doing. The movie I Robot was all about asking the right questions. Here was my dilemma. I have this set of paintings. They look awesome. However, the large one just isn’t up to the level of the other two. I looked at them on my phone. I turned them upside down. I went outside and looked at them through the window. I turned the easel around and didn’t look at them at all for days. I’ve been stewing in my own juices wondering what I’m missing. Yes, I’m stubborn. I wanted to figure it out for myself! Since my theme this month is about asking the right questions, the answer was, obviously, that I was asking the wrong ones!
How can I look at this differently? Since I’m focusing mostly on a drawing class right now, I decided to take my photograph and convert it to black and white to see what that showed me. The subtlety of shading is far more pronounced in a black and white picture because the distraction of color has been removed. Look what I found:
See how the smaller two paintings jump off the canvas? The third one in comparison looks flat. It is still gorgeous, it just isn’t there yet. This is what was missing, the delicate shading that brings the other two to life. Soon… I’m almost there!
I have had people ask me, what draws you to a subject? Why do you paint what you do? What inspires you?
As an introvert, I think on these questions often, and sometimes the answer changes. Sometimes it is a vision I’ve seen in my mind that needs to be expressed. Sometimes an image in real life when I’m shaking my head and saying, “No one would ever believe this is real if I painted it…”
Most often though, what I paint is an expression of the ephemeral qualities of life, a moment in time. The drawing above is a prime example. I sat on this photograph for years. I knew I wanted to draw him, and I also knew that I didn’t have the skills at that point in time. So what I did, is to draw my way through 4 drawing books, 3 by Andrew Loomis and another fellow (I’ll have to look it up since it isn’t coming to me at the moment) until I felt comfortable approaching this image.
To me, this photograph of a man was a window into his soul. I didn’t want to do the drawing until I knew I could do it justice, and express what I saw there. The most amazing thing to me about this whole thing is that I thought I could do it!
I often run across this issue, and I understand it so much better now that I am in my 50s. What do I want? Youth, happiness, time to paint, and various art supplies. Other than that, most of the things I want are things I can only give myself. What do I do for others who are in the same boat?
For Scott, I personalized a notebook. He is a huge fan of The Time Machine, a movie made in 1960, so I painted it on the cover. This was the first time I had used acrylics in a long time…
For Lili, I painted a bookmark on some leftover canvas that I had, and she used it for years. Regretfully, I don’t have a picture.
My sister is 5 years older than I am. She bore the brunt of my machinations through middle school. She bought a LOT of my clothes once she started working. She has always been there for me when I needed her. She more than anyone else has inherited little bits of me through the years. When I went through a stained-glass stage, I gave her a box. When I did pottery, she received a bowl. When I began painting, she received one of my first.
It is one of my first paintings so it was just on a piece of canvas. I didn’t think I was good enough to use a stretched canvas. Its still one of my favorites, as is she.
This year, I wanted to paint something new for a Christmas card, and this was the result. Oil on canvas, 16 x 20, and already sold! I will have prints available soon, and the Christmas card packs are popular at the farm stand. This painting was spoken for before even before I varnished it. I wanted to experiment with “mood” painting, and it turned out well!
I am just back from a 2-day painting workshop with Ed Kayton. Ed has been painting for 28 years now, and for many of those years he worked in the advertising field. He is mainly self-taught at this point although he studied art in college. Apparently at that point in time, they didn’t teach what he wanted to learn which is realism. So, he studied, and still studies the old masters to understand how they painted the incredible pieces of art that they did, and incorporates that knowledge into his own painting. Now, he takes some of his time to pass on what he has learned about art, and about painting. So, if you are in the neighborhood and are serious about painting, this is the opportunity of a career.
I am focused on becoming the best painter I can possibly be. I came to painting later, having started just over 4 years ago and I have a lot of catching up to do. I don’t kick myself about that any longer. I began painting when I was ready to do so, apparently I had some lessons to learn first. It’s called life. I’m painting now, (oh boy am I painting!) and the perfect teacher presented himself at the right time. What I can tell you is that I don’t take it for granted. Not one little bit. Painting is what I love, and I’m here to stay!
I never realized it until now. I love painting people. I did a self-portrait a couple of years ago and really enjoyed the experience. You look at your self critically: emotionally, physically, and finally, as a subject for a painting without the baggage. Painting myself, I finally understood why some artists paint themselves over and over again. Rembrandt painted between 50 and 60 self-portraits through out his life.
It wasn’t until I did my hula dancer last month that I remembered how much I enjoy painting people, so, I decided to do a series of hula dancers. I figure that once I finish 6 of these paintings, I’ll be able to paint anything!