Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Painting in Progress - Will It Survive the Wrath of the Frustrated Painter?

On my easel now. I started it a couple of Sundays ago and then put it down. The tulips are dead now of course. When you can only paint on weekends and maybe an occasional midweek-after-work-session, painting from "life" or at least "alive" is tough. I took a photo though - can't believe I remembered to do that - so I am now finishing it from the photo. I worked on it on Sunday afternoon and so far so good but who knows if it will survive to any kind of finished state.

Weekend only painting is a challenge. It takes a while to get warmed up to painting and I usually hit my stride Sunday afternoon just in time to wrap up for the weekend. Of course, having the attention span of a small child does tend to get in the way. My typical painting weekend day goes like this (aka, a day in the life of the ADD artist):
  • Midnight Friday night:  "I'm going to get up really early  tomorrow and get to the studio by 8:30".
  • 8:00 AM, roll out of bed, "Ok, grab something to eat and get to the studio"
  • 9:00 AM: Still on couch after reading the last of nine "Real Simple" magazine articles, reach for the laptop to check Facebook "for a minute".
  • 10:30 AM: After my 104th game of Bedazzled, my 15 year old son emerges from his dark, odoriferous cave and stumbles into the bathroom. I look at the clock and say "crap, I need to take a shower".
  • 11:15 AM: throw a load in the washer, and, while folding the wrinkled mess of a load that has been in the dryer since last Sunday,  look at the clock and say "crap, I need to take a shower".
  • 11:45 AM: back on my laptop. My son stumbles scowling through the living room on his way out of the shower, I look at the clock and say "crap, what the hell am I doing, I need to take a shower"
  • 1:00 PM: in the car finally, on my way to the studio and drive by the junk store that holds all the interesting junky future still life items so I "just stop in for a minute"
  • 1:45 PM: back in the car on my way to the studio after wandering aimlessly for 45 minutes in a store filled with ugly, useless junk and purchasing one plate for $3.
  • 1:55 PM: SUCCESS - actually pull into the studio parking lot.
  • 2:40 PM: only made it to the 3rd floor (I'm on the 5th) and in the third studio I've stopped into "for a minute" on my way to my studio.
  • 3:00 PM: SUCCESS #2 (have to grab these little successes) finally in my studio." *deep sigh* I LOVE this little studio".
  • 3:02 PM: Looking at the painting I left last Sunday and either thinking "Hmmm, this isn't so bad after all" or "OMG, what a piece of @#$@"
  • 4:05 PM: after deciding that the 5' high bookshelf really should be on the other side of the room, moving it without actually taking anything off of it because I know I can move it without anything falling off, and picking up the half-dead Christmas cactus and broken harlequin teacup that I've had since 1977 (teacup not plant) that fell of the bookcase while moving it, I begin putting paint on my palette.
  • 5:00 PM: Painting painting painting, painting, painting
  • 9:15 PM: "OMG - how did it get to be 9:15 already? I just got here. Damn, I just don't have enough time to paint". Clean my brushes, hang up my apron, close the door, descend the five flights, get in the car, go home, eat, have a glass of wine, watch DVR'd "One Life to Live".
  • Midnight Saturday night: "I'm going to get up really early tomorrow and get to the studio by 8:30".

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Summer Cottage

Here's another painting of the cottage I stayed in this summer in Maine. For some reason I find this cottage very "paintable", this is the third painting I've done from that vacation.  This is a small 6x6 painting that I did pretty quickly. I've started to time myself - the first day I only worked on it for an hour, and then another 2 hours yesterday. I'm trying to force myself to stop (I actually have a timer) because too often I just keep going until I ruin the painting or I get so frustrated that I wipe it off. I did that to the last painting I posted - the one of the little syrup pitcher - I ended up wiping the whole thing and then hurling it in the trash. Not the best painting day I've had.

I really liked this little cottage. Wouldn't it be great to have a spot like this to get away to? It was so cute and just the right size and I could walk to everything - the beach, dinner, coffee, shops. When I say 'get away' I don't mean some secluded spot in the woods where I take lots of long solitary walks communing with the flora and fauna,  I'd be bored out of my mind in about 15 minutes. My idea of vacation always includes good food, good wine, people watching, art, beach, funky shops, and a perfect spot like this to relax in.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Mistakes, Scrapes and Surprises

I'm back to trying new things and focusing on learning what styles and techniques I like. Painting on a bit larger canvas after doing a lot of small paintings. This is 9x12, not huge, but a lot different than painting on 6x8. This is a painting of a little glass syrup pitcher I bought at a junk store (I mean 'antique store') that I drive by on my way to the studio.

I spent a long time sketching the shape of the pitcher - it was surprisingly tough to get  the shape and proportions correct. My goal for this painting was to do the whole thing with just one large brush, thinking that it would help me not get all anal and detailed. It was going along just fine until I put some yucky color on the background which led me to scrape it off with a palette knife. I scraped and scraped and then realized I kind of liked what was happening. So after that I started using the knife to lay paint back down on the canvas and it started to get that multi-dimensional color that I love and have struggled to achieve.

This is a work in progress and I liked where it was going. And then I stopped by the studio on the way home from work tonight and proceeded to muck up the background so it doesn't look like this now.  Ended up wiping the whole background off. Unfortunate, but that's ok, the layers underneath that are dry stay there after you wipe the wet layers off. And that helps create those layers of colors that if you do it right, (which I haven't quite figured out yet) peek through the subsequent layers. I'll just keep going until I get back to where I want to be.