I painted today. This always makes me smile–in spite of all the wankers who try so hard to ruin my day. Some people jog to clear their heads, I get my hands dirty. Funny enough, my grandmother liked to paint with her hands too but I never once saw her paint. I saw the art on the walls but she never shared that with me…I wonder why? Sharing your art is a gift.
So, back to the fun. I have been thinking about my triptych project and although I’ve been thinking about horizons, I don’t want all 3 pieces to look the same or for the horizons to look uneven or forcibly random (is that a thing?). This is why I practice with small canvases.
Here’s today’s attempt. I created my horizon first and worked from there. I appreciate the layering process so I began by painting the canvas with 2 colors on opposite ends of the color wheel–my favorite combo of red and blue.
Next, I decided to play around with 6 different colors that made me think of a sunset at the ocean. From the bottom up I mixed black, blues, purple, more blue and transitioned to warm yellow hues and back to black/blue. I applied these colors with a small brush and then dabbed a small, round sponge over each color.
While the paint was still wet (but drying fast) I took a wet paper towel and cleaned up the silver line and then pulled the paint from the silver line down to give it some movement. I also took the wet paper towel and dragged it across in a horizontal and vertical pattern to make the “sky” feel more natural but still abstract. Voila! I have my little sample!
What do I like about this? The colors are gorgeous. I like the pull you see in the blues and the gradual fade of the oranges into the black. The texture isn’t captured well here but it is very textural–another thing I enjoy. What do I want to do differently next time? Move the horizontal line away from center–it’s too balanced. I don’t like the 50/50 look here. It’s much more interesting when you view things in thirds vs halves. Next time I will consider elongating the sky and minimizing the sea. Another thing to make your art amazing is to share a story or at least create a head-scratching name for your piece. I call this my sample (because it’s a practice piece) but I could call a final version something much more abstract like “poets dream” or “sadness” or “through the lens.” You get the idea. 🙂 It’s a journey you want to take your viewers on with you or at least make them think you are deep and artsy.
Does a blank canvas motivate or paralyze you? I used to be paralyzed until I began painting and repainting and another coat of gesso and more paint…and now, I love them. I keep small, cheap canvases on hand for practice and inspiration. I’ve painted over this one at least 3 times in the past month–it’s a 5×7 canvas and I have 3 of them that I’m using for practice. My plan is to paint a large triptych when I finally figure out what I want to look at for a while (because once I ask the hub to frame them and hang them–they will be on the wall at least a year). I tried a few Rothko style paintings and they felt heavy and clunky. Then I tried Bob Ross style fan brush tree and it was too light and practically flew off the canvas. My next attempt will be a variety of brush strokes and sponge work with a little horizontal line to center the eyes…we’ll see what happens! I was inspired by my photo of the ocean yesterday and want to capture it in paint.
Grab a canvas or a piece of paper and some colored pencils and join me, or, like my daughter, grab your tablet and stylus. It’s blank canvas week!
I am the queen of excuses and the master of procrastination. I watched a TED talk about procrastination once (see below) and the whole time I was shouting to my hub, “Check this out, I’m not the only one!” Procrastination has rarely failed me…ok, it has recently when I missed a deadline for a grant application (insert lots of anguish here) but honestly, I usually ROCK under pressure. Timelines are my friend. I have learned one very valuable lesson though (which was reinforced when I read the book Outliers) you have to have your spaghetti ready when the time comes, you can’t just wing it and succeed. LOTS of practice prepares you for success when you’re under the gun. Case in point, my latest piece, “Life Force.”
Over a month ago I picked up my 12×12 wood block from the art gallery knowing it was due on August 4th for the upcoming fund raiser show. I honestly had no idea what I was going to do with this piece–I wanted to do something new, something different and creatively satisfying. So, I took some of my hub’s scrap wood and played around with different techniques. In the meantime, I’d been playing with a new technique where you add silicone to acrylic paint, thin it out and use a palate knife to paint designs on canvas. I created at least 25 pieces until I felt like I was mastering this particular technique and then I walked away for a while. Until last night…2 nights before my piece is due to the gallery. Paralyzed with indecision, I leaned on what I’d been practicing and felt confident I could execute and went for it. The result is this piece and I’m thrilled with it because it shows the movement of the waves I love so much. Water symbolizes life and to watch it move with such force makes me feel so small and my problems insignificant. I love the ocean and I’m happy to offer this piece to my local gallery–I hope it sells!
The secret to becoming is to first be…it’s time to nurture my creative self and see what can happen. I’m starting this 365-day project on my birthday in an effort to see how much I can creatively grow in a year. I want to learn what I’m capable of by doing instead of thinking about doing. My day began with the hub giving me a gift card to my favorite, local art shop. This is the start of something exciting–I can feel it! Join me if you’ve been wanting to create more too.
My first project is to paint a 12×12 wood block for a non-profit, artist run, art gallery fund raiser. Let’s see how it goes!