Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Two Oranges

Since my last post, I've tried to paint these two oranges in this position
at least twenty times. I took breaks from them by attempting to paint
roses again, then switched periodically to a larger landscape. My days
have been filled with frustration but thankfully, not despair . . . The
subject doesn't seem difficult but I just couldn't make the surface "sing."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hydrangea with Pink Background

Hydrangeas seem invincible . . . this one doesn't show any sign of
fading! Haven't had to worry one second whether it will die before
I figure out how to paint it! More adventures with subtlety, a limited
palette and strong color . . .

I'm starting to think that my time off may have led to a good shift.
I've had a string of total failures since coming back but my work
has changed so much since I started working from life and sometimes
it's hard to tell if there's improvement. Each subject and each new
painting demands beginning with fresh eyes and solving new problems.
It seems as if every few months something gets shaken up and new
struggles begin. What I do notice is that I'm not so obsessive in just
trying to paint forms; have become much more aware of the entire
surface, where it needs lights, darks, a complementary color. If something
comes to me to try, I try it. If it's bad, scrape it off. It's such a relief to be
freed of the fear of ruining it or regarding a painting as precious! A new
mindset . . . hopefully it will continue. Nah. It will probably go back and
forth forever but each time there will be a little more understanding and
more willingness to embrace it instead of feeling despair or failure. I don't
know anything about neurology or brain science but it seems that if you
truly desire to learn something, your brain accommodates your will. (?)

Huge huge thanks to everyone who takes the time to look and comment!

Saturday, November 5, 2011


I splurged this week and bought flowers to paint and felt
really excited. I had some great starts where everything flowed
and looked great value-wise and then I started struggling with
color–got too heavy-handed and I was afraid they'd die before
I "got it." I photographed them all to try another day. My
admiration for people who can paint flowers has grown tremendously.
My lesson was that I really needed to focus on subtlety: practice
tiny color & value shifts, experiment with whites, thick and thin
paint and make edges disappear. So wonderful that the challenges
in painting are endless!

This 8 x 10 panel seemed so small when it was white and then so
huge once there was paint on it . . .