Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I've been through a bit of a rough patch with my work over the past week. Am I the only painter out there who panics if things don't go well for a week or two? Am I the only one who starts to think, "I'll never do anything any good ever again. My best days are behind me. I might as well give up and get a full time job" ?
Today things went better- I feel optimistic again. Whew!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
An old friend who has collected my work for years (and years) took photos of some pieces of mine he owns and just sent them to me. The landscape wash drawings are from the mid 1980s, when I used to haunt a lot of industrial areas looking for interesting subject matter. I've gotten older and more cautious since then, and probably wouldn't risk hanging out in these sorts of places now. Experience will do that to you!
Some of my more potentially dangerous experiences:
Once I was drawing in a wooded area and a man walked along the trail and asked me if I'd "seen any cops." He proceeded to take off all his clothes and then spread out a towel and lay down. There was a nude swimming beach a quarter mile away, but this was just too weird for me!
Once I was painting in a thicket of trees and a man began circling the area on his motorcycle, around and around and around. I was totally absorbed in what I was doing and ignored him. Then I realized he had parked his bike and was thrashing through the woods towards me. I fled.
Once I was painting under a cliff and someone heaved a rock the size of a basketball at me, which missed me but smashed the leg of my easel. I could have been killed, obviously.
There's more, but I'll spare you!
Working inside is so nice and cozy and safe, but honestly it can get really dull too.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
oil on masonite
Yesterday morning I went out to buy some gourds and some Chrysanthemum plants for the front porch. My intention was to paint the gourds, and so I spent three hours trying to put together a good composition of the absurdly shaped and grotesquely warted things. I finally gave up, since I felt totally uninspired. If I'm uninspired, I just can't make my brush move.
Then last night in bed I realized that the generous pot of yellow mums are what I really wanted to paint. So here they are.
Friday, March 7, 2008
watercolor on paper
At our local library there is a paper displayed with rules for proper behavior. One of the rules is "no leering". This black cloth seems to be leering, or at least lurking in a rather dangerous fashion.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Friday, February 29, 2008
White Flowers and Blue Glass
oil on masonite
I've never been a big fan of flower paintings. I usually think it's too popular and pleasing of a subject, and therefore an easy grab for attention. That being said, I have to also confess that I find flowers a difficult subject. The teeny details can bring out my worst perfectionist tendencies, and usually the flowers wilt long before I am finished.
But having to get this done in one sitting really had me on a roll! I loved every minute of working on this painting. I had to stay loose and general, and had so much fun that I'm ready to paint more flower arrangements. I guess flower paintings are popular for a reason- flowers are beautiful things.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Lime and Egg
oil on masonite
I started this painting yesterday, and wanted to complete it in one sitting. The skies were so dark towards the end that there was no resonance in the subject at all, and I stopped painting out of frustration. This morning I finished it in a couple more hours. So it is still a daily painting, but a daily painting that was put on hold- overnight.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Friday, February 8, 2008
Oil on board
This view of afternoon light filling my bathroom seen from the dark hallway has always made me stop in my tracks. I finally decided to make an oil sketch, toilet plainly in view. My daughter Julia came home from school and found me set up in the hallway, looked at the painting and said, "That's nice, but shouldn't you paint things people will want to look at?"
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
oil on mat board
This is a study I painted one lovely afternoon in the Charlottesville, Virginia area a while back. The overcast skies brought out the full beauty of the different qualities of green in the landscape.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
oil on masonite
This is a study of some of my studio objects placed on the generous windowsills. I'm happy with the composition and would like to be able to use this as a study for a larger painting.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Oil on Mat Board
I'm not used to finishing a painting in one sitting, that's for sure. Yesterday I started an 8"x 10" painting of an interior scene, and realized after a few hours that I was trying to grab a hold of too much. So today I just painted one very small subject, on a 5"x7" surface. I was able to feel a sense of completion, which is always pleasant.
I plan on doing a lot more of these quick paintings. They're fun, and they leave me wanting to do it all over again.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Oil on Masonite
I want to start a blog devoted to my quest for the perfect small painting. I'm using the word perfection wryly, since aiming for perfection has not always been beneficial for my work all these years. My usual habit is to spend two- or even three months- on one painting, trying to create an image without flaws. I've begun to realize that painting is not about the absence of flaws- painting is about being fully awake, and fully aware of a larger world outside yourself. At best it is an act of spiritual renewal.
By making a commitment to producing several small paintings each week rather than each year, I am hoping to bring about a sea-change in my soul. I want to find perfection in the act of painting itself, in the soulful awakening that happens when a new subject is seized and explored. If some of my small pieces turn out to be pretty darn good, that will be because I've been able to forget myself, and my usual plans for being in charge of just how good my work will be.