Thursday, January 27, 2011

Determined Self-Portrait

I decided I needed to attempt a different subject if I was going to begin
to answer my own questions. There are many portraits underneath this
one . . . all disappointing. In a moment of frustration, I loaded up a brush
with a milky color, liquin and Gamsol and washed over areas and suddenly
started seeing what I wanted to see on the canvas! It was so freeing to
obliterate all the hard work and not mind all the time spent on previous
versions. It was a way to let go of control and add that element of
surprise that I valued so much in printmaking. This is just another step
but one that opens new ways of applying paint. It brings me back to the
"search" part of painting which had faded while I was so focused on
a "good" result. Claire Christinel wrote a very articulate "translation" of
"paint what you see" in the comments link on my previous post.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Terms of Endearment 2

Almost the same setup and same intention to layer. Here I wanted to
position all items in the center so there'd be more space around them,
so less attention would be paid to the objects and more to the painting
as a whole. As I painted, the objects grew larger and again became the
focal point! Aargh!!!

I've spent what time I could looking at and reading about artists online and
realized that I am committed to working representationally but I'm not sure
if I want to paint exactly what I see. I'm wondering if "paint what you see" is
some kind of code? In looking at Stuart Shils' work, there are photos of him
painting outdoors with his rural or urban landscape in front of him. What
could he possibly be seeing that would miraculously translate into his
beautiful paintings? Stanley Bielen, too, transforms what he sees.
Catherine Kehoe, in an interview, stresses painting what one sees, and says
it takes her a long time to assess what something really looks like. And then,
looking at her work (which is wonderful), I wondered if she has some powerful
psychedelics we should get our hands on? Obviously, these artists have some
inner vision, an aesthetic sensibility that informs and transforms what they see.
In spite of my questioning, they must have started in the same humble way---
with simple observation. Just keep working, right?

Thanks to Susan Nally for pointing me to Bielen and Kehoe. And many many
thanks to everybody who checks in with this blog and comments!

Terms of Endearment 1

First attempt after what feels like a long absence from the studio . . . 
My intention was to work differently so I thought I'd try working in 
thin washes and let them dry before adding new layers. My hope 
was to leave some initial wash areas visible but ended up pretty 
much covering the entire surface, anyway. Trying to do things 
differently will require more restraint.  

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Green & Yellow

The slight jump in size to 8 x 10 gave me the opportunity
to include more stuff but challenged every brain cell. It
was a good exercise to choose which elements would fade
and which would dominate. I wanted to paint great glass
but there was so much going on in the bottle it competed
with everything else. The bottle's shadow: those first few
strokes on virgin canvas were heartbreakingly beautiful,
but in the end, had to be sacrificed. Even when I figured
out what needed to be done, it was still hard to do it effectively.