Thursday, February 25, 2016

What I Am Doing Part 6

Beginning to End

For Parts 1- 5 see previous posts on making this painting.

So here is the painting from beginning to end. I'm supplying a bit of a narrative about what happened in each stage. This painting was was not "thought" out, but each move was a response to what was there. In the narrative I'm describing what I see from looking at the photo of the stage.

There was no real plan, except to respond to the initial colour choices and marks made haphazardly at the beginning.

Stage 1: a painting I was not happy with that I decided to paint over:

Stage 2: I chose and mixed some colour to start with and covered as much as the first painting as I needed to in order to start fresh and loose.

 Stage 3: I brought in some warmer colour to give it more life.

Stage 4: more warm colour black, white and grey. More graphic/drawn elements.

Stage 5: Calm it down bring it together, cover some of the black and the red with grey, and white, bring up some of the yellow.

Stage 6: Bring in blue, calm down the reds and orange, bring it all together even more by breaking up the black more.

Stage 7: Bring it way down in brightness, bring in finer graphic elements. See what happens, then go from there.

Stage 8:  Warm up the cold yellows, liven up some of the dull parts to bring back life and movement.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

What I Am Doing Part 5

All the Answers

For Parts 1- 4 see previous posts on making this painting.

It's been a rough transition back to the studio, but I'm here now. Now that I'm back into my studio routine I will move along with more flow for a while until the next interruption. I'll have to come and go in the next few months as I soon will pack and move. Working from the kitchen means that will be a big interruption.

Just a job
As a friend of mine said on Facebook today, making art is a job, all jobs are hard at times and easier at times. The job of making art is the job I want and is easier than any job I've ever done because of that. I'm blogging about my job because It helps me get perspective and because I enjoy communicating with others who share my difficulties and my enjoyment and those who are interested in what I do. Thanks for coming along.

The painting sits here in the kitchen as I come and go. Having it around all the time means I can let go of its status as some kind of precious object I have to be careful with.  Today I started late with actually putting paint to paper. I let myself wait until I felt I knew what to do to start. Once I began I quickly felt it was done. It gave me the answers I was looking for, for now. It told me this is all I can do with it and I should stop, let it go, start something else building on this series from this point.

I know someone who makes and modifies things, she says she is physically lazy so she designs all kinds of options in her head and thinks through every possible configuration before she starts the physical work. I'm lazy too; I sit around, I mix paint, I wander around in my mind, I look and then I paint, usually not very long at a time. Then I come back the next day and go through the same process. I love that process, it is a daydreaming, pleasure filled, all possibilities are open, all dreams can be fulfilled space in time before I start to work and the work goes best if I allow myself that time.

Let it be both dark and light
Some of my thoughts as I looked at the last stage before I began painting today: "warm up that cold yellow", "bring in more warmth with yellow orange and cool with white and grey",  "just a little now, a light touch", "let it be both dark and light but you don't want heavy, that's not where you are", "take care of that dirty yellow on the left middle it makes everything off balance, but don't bookend the orange"..

Last stage:

All the Answers,
24 x 18"
oil and mixed media on mylar

Monday, February 22, 2016

What I Am Doing Part 4

Losing my nerve:

Feels like I'm going off on a wild fling with this painting. Please see the previous 3 blog posts about the process of painting this to see thoughts about and photos of the earlier stages.

When I looked at yesterday's stage these were some of my thoughts, "don't lose your nerve, it can fail, you can start again". "hmm, pushing it back with line", "it's too pretty", it's too wishy washy","too much or not enough?", "are those dull ugly bits good or bad?" "more graphic elements" "break up that black more, too awkward", "more grey to calm down the brightness"

For awhile I felt like I was losing my nerve because of my complete lack. Then it occurred to me I don't care, it's a search, every painting is a university course.

I'm going to let it sit and dry so that I can go back into it. Stay tuned, another post in a few days. I might have to do something drastic to it! I'm thinking, feeling kinda horrible about it right now. But, excited at the same time.

Today it has come to this.  The title that's running through my head is "All the Answers". I photographed it outdoors because I couldn't stand the glare any more and since it's not raining today:

Friday, February 19, 2016

What I Am Doing Part 3

Following up on the previous 2 posts here is where I am today with this painting.

Yesterday's painting session I left off with this:

Stage 4, painting in progress, where I left off yesterday

It's lively, and unfinished. When I looked at it today, my thoughts and feelings went something like this. "quiet it down" "remember the use of grey and white" "look at some of the other paintings in this series to see how you might do it" "don't go too far too fast, let it speak to you".

Below are two photo taken part way through today's session. One is a side view so there is not so much glare from the wet paint.

Grey and white brought in. Some of the large black marks broken up, some scraping back, some straight lines. I want it to be, wait now, I don't want it to be anything, I want to find out what it will be, I want to let it have its secrets... But I'm liking how it is becoming more delicate while still feeling full of movement, at least that's what I see.

Stage 5, front view

Stage 4, side view to minimize glare from the wet paint

Below are two photos from the end of today's session.

More blue introduced, more subtle mark making, more scraping. It looks mushy at the top in the first photo because of the glare. It's a little more bold than this shows, as you can see from the second photo. Hmm, what next? I will leave it and look at it and go back in. It might be a couple of days from now as I have plans for the weekend out of the studio

Stage 6 front view

Stage 6, side view to minimize glare from wet paint
Final thoughts and feelings about this, "ack, It's a mess" then "shut up and leave it alone for a while" then "that right side, not enough weight or something" then "give it some time, wait". It will sit in the kitchen/studio for a few days and it will speak volumes. I have to figure out which sentences to listen to.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

What I Am Doing part 2

Building on what I wrote in the previous post, here is where I left off on this painting yesterday. I needed to introduce some yellow so that I would have warmth to work from and to give a different life to the other colours. I work very loosely, as you can see, and when I feel tight, I close my eyes take a brush full of paint and make a mark to work from. This satisfies my wish to never be precious, to break away from expectations including my own. I like breaking expectations down as I work. 

Today I started to try to balance the top and bottom of the painting, working to liven up the bottom and bring the tone down in the top. It was crying out for graphic elements to give it some meat and to sober it up after all that yellow. I tried for some grey and some black. It feels lively to me now but unfinished still.

All these things I say here are what occur to me after the fact of painting, they are conscious decisions but unconscious needs. For instance, one black mark started to drip, and I said to myself, "no, no drips" "no" why did I say that? Perhaps I am responding to a critique of drips I heard in art school or while reading someone like Matthew Collings on Facebook :). I think it's useful to listen to others sometimes, but be careful who you pay attention to. Or, perhaps there is so much organic in here already, I feel the need to be careful about flourishes. A drip can be a flourish?? Or, I can't say what I need to say with drips.

I'll work on it again tomorrow and let you know how it goes.

Again, forgive the glare, wet paint.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

What I Am Doing

What am I doing? I asked myself that on Facebook yesterday. So today I thought I would write about that. I'm painting. Painting makes no sense really. I'm not in it for the money or for the career. It actually takes time away from making money or having a career, I've decided. A career might happen, whatever that is, but it's taking its time. Money might happen, and it does occasionally, but not enough to use it as a reason to do what I'm doing. And, that is not what I want. I don't want money to be the reason. I'll take it if it comes though.

My answer to my question is "this is what I'm doing, I'm painting", I'm exploring, I'm living my life the way I want. It's not easy, very few have easy lives. Sometimes it's terrific, sometimes it sucks. No self-help book or rosy outlook will change that. There are things I do that help me get through the sucky though.

Today I painted. I took another older piece, shown in a previous post and I began painting on top of it. I had already reworked it from an even older piece. It still wasn't working for me. I don't know, it was too static, too obvious, not subtle enough, not enough about painting. Lately it's all about the painting and the secret messages that are held in painting and in paintings. I will try to post a photo each day I work on it of how it goes unless that starts to get in the way, or I'm too embarrassed, or I lose my nerve.

Here is where I started today:

Here's where I obliterated enough of the image to be able to carry on. Excuse the glare, wet paint.