Monday, March 26, 2018

Contemplating Art and Guidelines

An opening reception to the latest art show and busy work weekend are behind me. I am ready to get back into the studio.
I’m a person who makes lists and collects sayings. These days I have to write everything down. (Do I blame age or just too much on my mind?) I get distracted and forget things easily. I’m not complaining. I like my life – except when I get overwhelmed.

Today I was back to thinking about my list of tips to pay attention to when I’m painting. (I mentioned this in the last blog.) I debated about typing them up on a sheet of paper (right now they are handwritten on various scraps) or make them up as labels where I can put around the easels to remind me as I’m working.

Just typing them on a sheet or having them on the computer will mean I’ll seldom read them. So, I can either type them on 2x4 inch label paper or handwrite them on colored index cards. (I’m all about the color!) Big dilemma and sometimes I’m not good about decisions. I often end up putting off the decision and not doing any of it.

Why do I feel I have to do this? Because, as I mentioned last time, the minute I pick up a pastel or brush, I dive right into painting and “forget” the rules. My friend, Nan, who’s an awesome photorealist painter says I am intuitive in my art. And I definitely agree. BUT …

There are those times of self-doubt, and it’s these times when I can also look at the notes and realize that, yes, I did follow most the guidelines. There will always be that aspect, though, in which I follow my own path. There are times when it’s like the painting is moving me to do what it wants. My hand just moves.

I enjoy what I do, even through the “ugly” stages. I know eventually I will pull together a painting that pleases me. Sometimes I’ll pull it from the easel and set it aside. I know I’ll go back to it some day because there’s a reason I was drawn to do that scene. I currently have six of these in the back room and every time I go in there and see one, I want to put it back on the easel and finish it. As of yet, I haven’t because I’m working on the new ones … but I’m tempted …

What I do makes me happy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Losing perspective

How many years have I been painting? I have my lists of reminders: tips, techniques, what to look for, experience, and all that. I even have reminder labels on the wall in front of me. (‘Course, I’d have to look up to read them.) I keep promising myself that this time, I’ll pay attention to the rules.

However, the minute I pick up the pencil, pastel, or brush, all those self-promises fly out the window. I’ll look at the photograph I’m using for a guideline, but once I turn to the easel, and my hand starts moving, everything else disappears from my mind. I work for 10-15 minutes, glancing at the photo every so often. 

Work in process
Then I step back. The perspective of the reflections is off and they’re all leaning to the right. The colors are too dark. The shape is wrong. What was I thinking? Where does my mind go while I’m painting? 

It’s not that I’m not thinking as I paint. I am conscious of blending, shadow, light, colors, and lines. So, where do I go wrong? Somehow, somewhere, I lose myself. But really, is that a problem? I often feel the painting wants to help paint itself, and I let it.

I’m happy with the end results, and that’s what counts!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Finding the Right Descriptive Words

Descriptions are always hard for me. So often I’m in a situation and I don’t know the correct terminology for what I’m seeing, or I don’t know how to make it sound more interesting. How many times can you say, “rolling hills” or “mountainous terrain?” And, when I’m traveling, is what I’d call a rolling hill in New Hampshire, the same as the rolling, hilly farmlands in New York?

And what about buildings and architecture? Even in watching a lot of HGTV with the home renovation shows, I’m still not sure what the difference is between modern, contemporary, and more. What about cities, road structures, and bridges?

I do quite a bit of research before, during and after my travels (mostly after) because I like to provide a little history or information on areas I visit. However, I’m wondering about the amount of time I spend in research. It always sounds like a quick thing. Oh, it’ll just take a moment to look this up online, and next thing I know, an hour or two has gone by. It’s not like writing is all I have to do, ha ha.

One of my goals is to make a general list of types of terrain, architecture, roads, bridges, and more. That way when the time comes, I can choose a word from the list then elaborate more if it’s needed. I’ve already researched types of clouds. But again, here is a time-consuming project that takes me away from writing the actual book. 

Oh, these dilemmas.