Saturday, January 17, 2015

Working habits

I have noticed a pattern after all these years (yes, I'm slow at picking these things up) of deadlines and downtimes.  I have a really important show or shows, I work for a few months committed, putting in tons of time, energy, research, work, etc.  The work is finally delivered, the reception has passed and I'm back in the studio.  For almost two weeks I go to the easel and I simply cannot paint.  CANNOT PAINT - WILL NOT paint LOL!  I get sick to my stomach when I think about it.  I have to take time off.  I have to get in my left brain and catch up or do absolutely nothing.  It's a very physical thing.  I just can't do it.  I have tried so many times to work through this to no avail.  Then slowly, I start mentally creating my next body of work.  I draw some thumbnails, make some new compositions out of my photography and studies, start to prepare.  I always have a new piece in mind with a freshly mounted linen panel staring at me.  Here I go, 1, 2, 3 GO....  No, really, here we go....   New piece coming.....really.....
Not so fast.  Panel comes off the easel.  Every time!  I look around and some other piece of older work is screaming at me "pick me, pick me".  Ok, just one more thing to change.  I'll just rework a part of it.  Before you know it, I have completely reworked an older painting.  Never fails, I do this every single time I start a new session.  I have no idea what this is about.  I'm sure there is some psychological reason why I can't begin a new painting after a break, but I can't for the life of me figure it out.  I have to do a search and destroy piece first.  I think this has been going on for ten years now.  And every time it is not intentional.  It just happens.  Well, here it is, happened again and I might not even be ready for a new piece today.  When the mood strikes.....
This is a piece from the Bitterroot Valley, done two years ago.  I always like the painting but I didn't love the painting.  I loved the high key, I loved the peacefulness, but the composition always felt off.  Out goes the right group of trees, create a few more paths through the piece, a little of this and a little less of that.... I think I'm happy now :)  I think....  



Monday, January 5, 2015

Good Monday Morning!

Tonight I start a six week series of watercolor classes.  It's been awhile since I've pulled out the Arches and I really do miss it.  I always have the intentions of doing a series, but for some very unknown reason, I end up with a large oil on the easel instead.  I have always noticed that my watercolors improve my oils, simply by the reason of a more intentional composition.  The composition in a watercolor must be thought out ahead of time, the palette choices, spacial relationships.  Yes, you can lift color back out, but painting back over for a light value plane isn't an option so you slow down and think.  And plan.  And think.  And draw.  And then let the spontaneous quality of the watercolor happen.  I'm always excited to see a group of new students fall in love - just like I did 23 years ago.  And I still fall in love when I pull them out again!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year! Welcome 2015!

I have had my blog quite messed up, so I'm kind of starting over.  I'm going to use my blog this year as more of a journal of an artists life, rather than a promotional tool.  I will post new paintings, but hopefully it will be more personal - the where and the why's - than it has been.  There are always trials and tribulations in this world of art.  We put on our best face and show the world the positive and confident side, but there are tough times as well as the amazing ones.  We are sensitive beings, we are for the most part quite spiritual in our own individual ways, and our outside life gives meaning to our artistic life.  Maybe this is more for me to get that out than to have an audience, but if another artist can relate to my story and feel a greater sense of community, then all the better for it!  Please feel free to add comments or share your ideas!  And here we go, my favorite painting of last year...

The reason this was my favorite painting of the year was a few different ones.  First and foremost, Marco and I took a trip to Bozeman, MT and it was a very special trip.  It has been a long time since we have been on the road together.  Marco has been sick a lot lately and struggling a bit.  This was the two of us together, looking at the beautiful world again and enjoying our private time together.  I truly didn't know what the next day or days would bring so I was living in the moment in every sense.  This is also such a beautiful place, the headwaters of the Gallatin River, just outside of Yellowstone National Park, one of the most beautiful places in the West, and we arrived just as the moon was rising and the light was racing across the distant valley just about to disappear.  It was just an amazing moment!  The last reason for this being a favorite was I believe it was a turning point in my abilities and vision, exceeding my expectations and surprising me with the results.  And of course, it found a home the first night it was presented and that is always a good thing!