Letting The Canvas Speak

Sorry fellow pyromaniacs, no burnt paper or cardboard tonight. I had an overwhelming urge to paint this afternoon. This was more difficult than you might imagine due to the fact that my studio looks as though Blick (Art Supplies) has imploded. I decided last week to completely reorganize my space, and why wouldn’t I with Christmas right around the corner? It’s not enough that crafting had put me behind in my normal Christmas cleaning, Christmas decorating, Christmas shopping, essentially everything. I went upstairs today to work and there wasn’t an empty spot to be had, well except for one, and that was the floor. Not that the floor isn’t covered too, but a little bit of pushing piles around with my foot did the trick. I grabbed a few brushes, a canvas, some acrylics, and sat on the floor in the midst of my disaster. I really had no idea what I wanted to paint. I started filling the canvas with paint, layering thickly with a brush. I hated it. I had a full size scraper within reach so off with the paint. Still no idea where things were going I tried again, scraped again, painted again, scraped again, and then something began to reveal itself. A reflection of color from above and below were left on the canvas, really beautiful, but I just couldn’t leave well enough alone, so I started adding paint, and I absolutely ruined it, scraped yet again. Meanwhile silently berating myself for not stopping, for not having enough confidence to know when to quit. Instead of the brush I grabbed a small palette knife and began to pick up some of my discarded paint, and again something began to reveal itself. I noticed in my box of paints a bright, deep pink, I dipped my knife in and smeared a little of it across the top of the canvas, and then I knew where the canvas wanted to go. Quite often when I go outside in the early morning, or at dusk here in Temecula there is a rich pink hue in the sky. It’s incredibly beautiful. I began to see my painting take shape. Mount San Jacinto Evening was born. Its been a really long time since I took the time to let the brush and canvas speak to one another. Sometimes I’m just trying too hard. Too often I concentrate on thinking that I don’t know what I’m doing.  Tonight I didn’t think, I painted, something I need to do more often.

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Not my best day artistically. I think I’m still running on empty from our trip. I scraped the paint off of a canvas not once but twice today. Things were just not working for me. To be honest I gave a moments thought to taking my scraped off canvas and turning it into an abstract. Unfortunately and fortunately for me I just can’t be a sellout when it comes to my work. The one and only abstract piece I’ve posted with this blog was an inspired piece, actually the only abstract piece I’ve ever created. That one was inspired by a piece of burnt copper, no matter how long and hard I looked at that scraped canvas today it gave me nothing. I finally walked away from it. I looked through my studio and found one of my old orphaned paintings. It was flat and lifeless. I threw it on the easel and began to work with the paint muck I had created with my scrapings. It had turned a very strange sort of lavender. I just went with it, I didn’t want to waste the paint. As always I was much too impatient, the “muck” began to get muddier. I had to pull myself back, wipe off my brushes and begin again. I found what worked for me eventually was to go with a more impressionistic stroke,  in the end I feel like the painting has too much paint, but on the positive side it isn’t flat! And I didn’t give up. I have to admit that today was the first time in a while that “I’m not good enough” snuck back into my brain. It all comes down to oils and my lack of patience. I keep making the same mistakes and expecting different results. I’m going to let the scraped canvas cure and attempt something with what remained on the canvas. I hope for better results the second time around.9 17I may have had a bad artistic mojo day, but I did empty the photos from my phone. In previous blogs I have mentioned both Prairie Crossings and McDonald Woods, both north of Chicago near my Dad’s house. We had the opportunity to grab a few early morning walks before my Dad was awake last week. The McDonald Wood photos are in Dan’s  phone and I’ll have to grab them tomorrow, but for tonight a few from Prairie Crossing.IMG_1371 IMG_1376IMG_1355A little slice of heaven on the prairie.

Beginning The Adoption Process

I mentioned all the “orphans” in my studio, those half done works of art left waiting for my attention. There are also a few “finished” works. Paintings that qualify as finished only because paint covers the entire a surface of the canvas. They are pieces that I felt were not representative of the kind of artist I want to be.  One of the biggest issues, one that I have mentioned before is that the work is flat, dimensionless, lacking in texture, (can I think of any more adjectives?) work that I felt wouldn’t evoke feeling when looked at. I have seen a number of works of art in my life that make me feel, make me want to be in a place, or make me want to rush home and pick up a brush and paint. That is the kind of work I want to create, work that inspires feeling, or more than that, work that would want someone else to follow their creative dream. When I went into my studio today to decide what to do,I chose painting. I enjoyed the exercise yesterday, and my favorite critic/fan (Dan), loved the result. I wanted to use a smaller canvas, I still wasn’t sure of the subject matter, so I grabbed an 8×10 from the shelf.  It was an orphan, a finished one. A canvas that I had painted and then shoved back on the shelf to paint over. If there’s a benefit to painting too flat, it’s that it is that much easier to cover. The painting was a simple one, just a sky and water scene. It had some texture, but it was boring, no movement, nothing. Instead of covering it up I decided to give it new life by using a style similar to yesterday. I changed the color just a touch, using the paint that was still on my palette from yesterday. I didn’t take my glasses off this time, although I wasn’t working in the best light possible. I’ve posted both, a before and after. I see the difference, and better yet this time I feel a difference. It is only the first of many, many half done, or hidden works of art. Now I just need to prepare myself when I’m ready to let some of my finished work go, when I do my first show.

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