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The other week I promised I would share my most recent finished canvas painting and photos of it in progress. This is one of several canvases in which I've been working this year. They haven't been fast. In fact, I'm quite slow, or feel that I am slow. I tend to work over and over a piece, changing it sometimes to a point that its beginnings are barely recognizable. Why do I do this? I have often asked myself. Why can't I just start with a plan, a drawing or sketch, and paint it? Maybe because that would just be too "easy" and I enjoy process too much. Though, after working on this canvas a bit, (actually, I started it last year, then left it) I decided to use part of a sketchbook page as a point of re-entry. And I have liked this approach. It gives me a bit of direction while leaving lots of room for discovery and process to figure out. The media is different, the scale, the issues, and so its still its own painting, apart from the sketch. A goal of mine has been to translate the energy of my sketchbook to larger paintings. I've always found artist's sketches to be full of a vitality that sometimes seems glossed over or buried in the final work. I want to maintain that rawness, so to speak.
So these photos show it not from the very start, but with layers atop what I had painted last year. The process is always about understanding relationships, isn't it? When you add something it effects everything else. So it becomes like a see-saw. And it's a conversation in your head. Lay color in, draw, add lines, cover up, this needs to be darker here, blur edges, define edges, add detail, make marks, we need a shape here, take something out, unify, etc. until you finally say, I think that it's done. It says what I want it to say. It feels the way I want it to feel. It takes me someplace in my thoughts.
And the last image shows the final stage of the painting. It is finished! Though I'm still working out the title, the abbreviated version is, I imagined you... The long version is like a small story.
Thanks for looking at my new work! I'm getting close to completing two more. Fingers crossed!
Each spring I look forward to the blooming of this tree. It stands in the corner of a yard a few blocks from us. It starts out grey and fuzzy then I'm always surprised when it bursts forth in color. This year I almost missed it. I was driving home from the grocery store a week ago and gasped when I saw it was full. Now the blooms are already starting to curl and get that tea stained tone.
An interesting idea and article on NPR's Morning Edition, to wax poetic about your favorite block. Do you have one?
Not sure why I don't like the word random, in reference to (my) work or art. It sounds as though there's no thought or cohesive motive behind the choices or notions. I prefer the word intuitive, even though the dictionary says it also alludes to the lack of "conscious reasoning". There usually is some tenet that binds things together, some method involved. Anyway, I was just looking through photos I've taken recently and wanted to share a few. Not because I think they're great photos, but because they tell pieces of stories. I think they are notations of personal stories and that is what binds them together. Looking into an empty bedroom. Finding a dead bird at the bottom of my stairs. Snaps from an evening walk. Planting the spring garden. Light in the studio. Or maybe there's something about each one that encourages me in some way (like, hey, spring is coming! or hey, you finished a painting, yay!) Sometimes life happens and I process it afterwards, a delayed reckoning. I need to observe it twice. Along that idea of sharing pieces of daily life, I'm posting at habit this month, as is my friend Leslie.
As I mentioned, I finished a new canvas and I hope to show it here next week. I took some photos throughout the process and will add those too.
This weekend I'm looking forward to making strawberry shortcake and seeing Grand Budapest Hotel. It's almost silly how excited I've been to see that movie. Also, the other night I finished reading Tell The Wolves I'm Home and am so glad I rechecked it out from the library so I could. Next up is either Gone Girl or The Paris Wife.
Have a nice weekend.
A little bit ago, I was working in my sketchbook and glanced up to gaze out the window. I should go look around with my camera, I thought. So I did. It's been snowing softly here this afternoon, yes, actually snowing. Though, I haven't really minded. Seems ok for a Monday somehow. This morning I had to take one of our cats to the vet as she's slowly been losing weight. With four cats, I visit the vet way more than I'd like. Anyway, two yucky things are ruled out, which is good, so now we wait for some test results. Otherwise homemade granola bars, reading (Wild by Cheryl Strayed), errand running, sketchbook work, follow-up calls, laundry, etc., have been happening. It's been more of a domestic day than an art day. Some days are like that, aren't they? And sometimes I'm content with it, my domestic self. Other times it makes me grumpy.
Spring break ends as I head back to teaching tomorrow, and with it, the countdown to summer begins. Though right now, I'm going to work on a canvas a bit before dinner. We haven't made lasagna in a while, that sounds yummy.
Have a good week.