Last Thursday night I was inspired to attend a lecture, and hands on painting class at the Oceanside Museum of Art. The lecture was about Pablo Picasso, Henri Monet, and their similarities. It could have gone on for another hour, and everyone would have been glued to the screen. All of the artists came away inspired and ready to create a one of a kind master piece…including myself!
My own brushes were at my side (I”m no dummy), ready for the gates to open, and the bell to ring! After selecting a pallet of colors, a piece of watercolor paper (because, well…I know what to do with W/C paper), and some black and white copies of paintings each artist had created in their careers, I was loaded with ideas! My intent was to create an abstract face. But for some reason the first painting I created, if you can call it that, wasn’t a face at all. It was abstract all right, it’s up to you to decide exactly what it is!!!
Now, this was the time to let go, and do something I’ve been wanting to do…. It didn’t help that we were using acrylic craft paints. They don’t dry very fast, and they haven’t a lot of pigment. It seems to me that if you are truly an artist, it should be a snap to work with whatever you have, but I guess that means I’m not an artist. After the first abstract, I was so deflated that I almost gave up. The thing is, I don’t give up! And that is why I went back to the table, grabbed a canvas, and created my first “abstract self.” It’s titled “Now and Then!”
The process was so much fun, and because I was squeezing it in at the end of the class, there was a time constraint. To me that said…hurry,hurry,hurry! I think I work better under pressure!
Friday morning I turned on my computer to check my email, and I found this podcast waiting for me. It was perfect timing? After being surrounded with people huffing, and puffing, sighing, and grunting because they were afraid to put a brush to a canvas in fear of making a mistake, I decided to write my blog about this very thing. The podcast is short, it only takes a few minutes, but worth the time.
Awakening the Creative…
I hope you enjoy listening to the ” Intuitive Painting Process. ” Thanks for checking in on Stone Soup, see you soon!
The skies are gray and cloudy on this Monday morning as we eagerly await a promised thunder, lightning, and rain storm. We had a wonderful winter with many rain storms, but I really want some drama along with that lovely rain. California is just coming out of a drought, and the Southern part never gets as much as the Northern part.
I was born in Michigan, on the outskirts of Detroit, in Royal Oaks, a then thriving community. We had many thunder storms, and even as a young child, I loved rain, thunder, and lightning. In the 50’s, my mother, and all three of us kids would take the train from the Union Station in Los Angeles, all the way to Indiana to visit my Great Grandma. After we visited for a few weeks, we’d all get back on the train, and go to Michigan to visit my Grandma. Those were some of the most memorable times of my young life.
The three of usl made new friends in both places, and each time we’d visit, we looked forward to re-establishing our friendships. The one thing I loved to do with my sister, and brother was look for fireflies. We’d put them in mason jars, and the fireflies would be flickering off, and on as we pretended we were exploring in the neighborhood. Back then...in olden days, we didn’t need to worry about being out after dark, and we played outside for hours. By the time Mom called us in to get ready for bed, it was dark outside, and hot and humid in the house, we could hardly sleep at night. The next day thunder storms would pop up, it would rain, and the whole thing would start over. We had wonderful trips, and lasting memories to share.
At the end of our vacation, my father would drive to Michigan, pick us up, and we’d then have another adventure on the way home. Dad would have three weeks off, so we were able to see a lot of America. The stories I have to tell …Oy! That will happen nother time…..
Today as we wait for the promised storm, all my flowers, and plants are eager to get some of that precious rain. My plumeria is starting to bloom, and eager for more water. I even planted a few herbs to start my herb garden. Sage, chives and, basil are new. The rosemary is thriving, and my cilantro has seeded itself, and probably won’t be back up until later this year or early next year. I can’t do without my cilantro, so if it takes too long I’ll buy another plant.
While I’m waiting for rain…I’m planning my next painting, getting my sketch book ready, and ……Oh No, it seems to be clearing up. Still a little humid, we received all of 23 1/2 rain drops. Not enough to entice my plants into growing overnight. I am so disappointed that it isn’t going to rain, but maybe the next storm will bring rain, and thunder. In the meantime I’m going to start working on my next sketch, and have a relaxing evening.
By for now, thank you for checking in on Stone Soup. See you next time……
But the wine had to wait!
Cleaning up all our supplies, packing them into the car, and driving home was about all we were good for,but we did it!
It has been years since my life drawing classes and my only thought was, “Crap, how am I going to do this?” Kicking my ego to the curb, I dug in like I knew what I was doing, and had a great time! There were only including the instructor, so it was small enough to watch, ask questions, and paint without bumping into someone else. Since my easel is far too large to be stuffed into the car, borrowing one from the gallery seemed like a good idea.
Believe it or not,
I had to get help to set the easel up! All my portable easels were old watercolor easels, and would never work for all it needed to do! Once the gallery easel was up, I set about fixing the acrylic paint so it wouldn’t dry out. Retarder was the item of the day, and that was a Snap!…
This isn’t perfect, far from it, but it was my first try at painting a portrait on location without the help of a sketch to get started! There is much to be learned from painting this way, least of all – “ pay attention! “
Will I be doing this again?
You bet I will! I had so much fun, and I love the idea of doing a painting in a day! That’s why I loved abstract so much, get in, get out! And it’s done! However, once again it’s Practice, Practice, and more Practice!
The practice never ends!
I said there were many unfinished canvases in my studio, and I was planning on finishing them. The more they sat there, the more I started to think, “If they haven’t said anything so far, maybe even they don’t know where to go with themselves!” So I grabbed a second unfinished painting, and gessoed over it. Ha! I’ll show it! Gessoed over it very lightly, so the under layer of a mix of Quinacridone Burnt Orange, and Quinacridone Gold still showed through in places. Then the sky came to life with some light blue, and next but not last, I lightly brushed in some violet, orange, and yellow. That ‘s just the sky!
Now the trees!
The larger trees were already roughed in with tissue paper, so my decision to paint trees was already made. I just followed through, and added some more trees, but decided to emphasize the bigger trees since they were standing out in the first place. No big decisions there! At some point, my thoughts have gone to, “Enough time wasted on this, let’s get down to business!” While I love to keep playing with my trees, I also want to decide on what to do next, and start something else!
My ideas are all over the place, and usually I tend to jump in feet first, sink or swim……usually sink! It would be nice to do a little more planning for the next one. The funny thing is, I love the spontaneity of not knowing where I’m going, or how I’ll get there. I love letting the painting take the lead, with Happy Accidents at the finish of the painting! The very thing I love the most, is the very thing that trips me up the most! Is it the planning that is the problem, or is it the subject matter? Or, am I not listening?
How many of you have the same problem, or do you have answers that I hadn’t thought of? Let me know because I’ve been struggling here, and someone must have answers….
The trees are speaking……
After playing with lighting, and watching my trees, I pretty much decided to keep playing with them. My trees are not finished, but still need shadows, more lights, and darks!
While I’m finishing up my trees, I’m also getting ready for another class. This class will be all day at ArtBeat on Main Street. This is a fairly new gallery in the heart of Vista, Ca, that took me by surprise when I walked in. The ladies that own tArtBeat are down to earth, and easy to know. They seem to have put together a gallery rarely seen in this area! It really belongs further south in Del Mar, or La Jolla. It’s that classy! So when my friend, and artsy sister said she was taking this class, at her urging I checked it out, and was pleasantly surprised. The artist teaching will be Scott W. Prior, an artist well known in the art community.
And more practice!
So when the opportunity presented itself for this half day class, I jumped on it, and I wasn’t disappointed!
In my February 4 post, I talked about the class, and a little about my history with Cathy Carry.
Last week one of my paintings that wasn’t working, just found itself with a fresh coat of gesso on it, and the beginning of not just a new painting, but a new technique! It started out so well, and just like anything else one is trying to master, went downhill……. There isn’t much else to do to it at this point, except maybe gesso over it once again. However, I’m not going to do that.
Here is Why!
When I’m working on a new technique, I like to look at it, analyze it, let it sink in, and give it a chance to talk to me. That is my process, and in doing that I can see things I don’t want repeated, things I might do differently next time, or even things I really love about the painting. This painting has all of that! I have posted pictures from beginning to end, and I don’t think I’m going to go any further on it, but rather keep it so I might be reminded of what direction I want to go, and what direction I never want to go again!
The pictures are also an attempt at stomping back my ego, and get over myself! After all you can’t be perfect right out of the gate, and how can I develop a style if I don’t practice, practice, practice?
Taking pictures of my work as I’m painting is one of the ways I find things that might, or might not be working. I’ve done this for years, and it has helped me a great deal. As I’m gathering the pictures to include in this post, I’m seeing new things that I like, and things I realize now I don’t want to repeat. So thank you one and all for prompting me to keep writing, and to me for listening to you. I’m learning as I sit here and blog!
P.S….As I look at this painting, and trying to figure out what isn’t working, I’m seeing many things that I hadn’t seen before. I said it was finished, but I’m going to play with it just a little more, and then my intentions are to leave it alone, call it finished, and learn from it!