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No Surrender!

Tonight’s project is a small oil painting, but before I get into that I want to be really honest here about my struggle today. I’m actually working on several projects, most of them have to do with refurbishing flea market finds. I’ve been putting those projects ahead of this one, thus the late night art work and posting. I’m fine with that because it isn’t about avoiding my art, it’s about earning a living. My struggle today was with the very same issues I addressed last night. I almost did it today, I almost walked away from this painting. Oil painting is my biggest obstacle. It is the art I am most drawn to, and the one I have the biggest issues with. To begin with I really am an “instant gratification” artist, when I want something done, I want it yesterday. I’m also a bit of a control freak, (A bit? I don’t like to fly, I hate it actually, but as I have told Dan repeatedly, if I could fly the plane there would be no issue) anyway, oil is not a medium for control freaks. It directs the time line. Things were not coming out the way I wanted and the canvas only had paint on half of it. I put it down and went in search of my watercolors. I decided what to paint, but then I stopped. I made myself go back to the oils. The struggle continued right on to the end. I won’t give in to it. I have to keep pushing. No Surrender!

Whew! Got that out. The painting…

Struggle Part Deux

My other problem, I have no style. Not personally of course, that is if you consider jeans and a shirt of some form roughly three hundred fifty days a year a style, but a painting style. Again the lack of lessons has left me clueless in the use of materials. Just before I started writing I told Dan that my paintings are flat. My Dad was a house painter by trade, it’s sort of how I used to paint. No dimension, like painting with a brush on a wall. When I go to art museums I am as close as legally allowed to paintings, always studying the strokes and texture of the paint. My paintings looked for the most part lifeless. The other issue (there’s more?), is that I can’t decide how I want to paint. Realism? Yes and no, too much precision. Impressionism? More yes than no, love Impressionism, first place we went to in Paris was the Musee d’Orsay, the Impressionist museum. It’s a difficult style for me because I’m still a little hung up on the “it has to look like it’s supposed to look” issue. I love Grant Wood, Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth. Particularly Hopper. I’m just not sure who I am as a painter. I just decided to post two pictures tonight. The one I did earlier this evening, and another older one. In my efforts to get over myself I figured out a little trick. I had put a soft focus filter on a photograph to blur the lines. It helped me get past the “has to” nonsense. I only needed to do it one or twice, but it really helped. Once I realized that my “not exactly as it really looks” paintings were something I liked, I was able to move past some of the crap in my head. (The older painting was actually in part a photo from Gourmet magazine. Just want to make sure I give credit.)

So tonight I was playing with style and texture. I didn’t work from my actual photograph, which was from a sunrise I photographed in Virginia Beach, but from what I saw in my mind from looking at it earlier in the day. Not entirely pleased with the results, but happy I didn’t give up.

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