I have been painting for several gallery showings and have just been too busy to blog. Phew, the paintings are delivered and I can take a breather. I got quite a few paintings done in the Spring and Summer. Here are some of my favorites.
This painting has been bedeviling me for months. It has had a least 5 do overs. Today I did it again. I painted over the whole darn thing. I am so happy that the green thing is gone from my studio!
I like what’s going in in this. It is not finished, but I can breathe deeper when I look at it. I call it While the Snow Falls and Icicles Drip and Me With Cabin Fever.
The only color I wanted to put on my panel today was RED! No other color would do. Here is an example of how the layers of paint show through the red. I love how that works.Can you see the shapes coming through the red.
I was looking at Leonard Cohen’s quotes today. I want to paint like he makes poetry and music. How’s that for aiming high?
The really fun part of starting a painting is, to quote Richard Diebenkorn, besmirching the canvas. It is totally play with no concern at all for what the painting might become. I am working with oil paint mixed about 50/50 with cold wax medium and galkyd. When using this medium I think it is best to have layers and layers of paint on the panel. All the marks and shapes become part of the painting even though they are covered with later layers of color. The layers also offer a delicious surface to carve into. Do you remember totally covering a sheet of paper with all sorts of colors with your crayons, coloring over the whole thing with black and and then scratching into it to reveal a beautiful rainbow of lines? That is very much what happens with the cold wax. So even though it might look like shit, the first draft is really the fun part of the painting. Often when it is the third layer or the fourth, I keep telling myself, “This is just an under-painting.” It keeps me from getting too discouraged.
But, discouragement does happen. It usually happens when I look at underpaintings that I had so much fun working on and I see shit. Then I have to start thinking. The thinking part is hard for me. Maybe it is non-logical waiting more than it is thinking. It is waiting for the inspiration to inform me about what to do to this start to make it into a painting that I will love. That thing that is so important that can’t be explained.
This is an example of a panel with three coats of paint, some oil stick marks and some carving. Now I have to wait to intuit what this piece wants to become.
Seems true to me that Painting is dancing with chaos. It seems like every time that I go up into my studio, the thing that is urging me to paint keeps changing it’s mind. My latest paintings have been mostly monochromatic and I am really enjoying them. But something is changing and is trying to take me in a different direction.
For some reason they have needed to be red. Maybe because it is freezing outside and there is snow on the ground I need red to warm me up. I am definitely having a fling with red paint.
So today when I went upstairs to paint I looked at my under painted boards and the chaos came roaring in. What am I going to do with these panels? Why don’t I want to paint an image like the last one I painted that had more color and form??? So I painted the chaos. I just turned off my mind and let myself play with color . Here is the result:
Now I have to figure out if there is too much chaos. Do I need to edit the shape and color? I will try to look at it again tomorrow with new eyes to see if the painting will inform me of what I need to do next.
I am finally back in the studio after recovering from an Autumn cold. It is so frustrating when I don’t feel good enough to paint. I just ordered some new oil bars. I got so excited when they arrived. I couldn’t wait to get up in the studio to try them out.
My daughter Lindsey is down from Seattle and she has been painting with me the last couple of days. She is an emerging artist with a real gift of creativity. You are going to be hearing from her.
These are my new oil bars, mixed in with my old ones. The colors are so yummy.
And in this pic you can also see how messy my shoes and studio floor are.
The painting session today was so much fun. It just seemed like everything was humming. I loved making marks with the oil bars. I had to stop before was ready to because I needed the painting to dry for a day or two.
Here it is so far. I really love it.
Every Fall I take a trip to eastern Washington hoping
to see the peak of fall color in the Cottonwoods and Aspens.
I don’t always hit the peak brilliance.
This year I did and it was amazing. When I got home I painted this.
It is still drying in the studio. I really like all the color.
The piece is large for me 4 x 5 feet.
Sometimes when I am painting I feel like I have magic in my studio. Things work, I am in the flow and I love that feeling. I am elated. I think I am a genius. Then the magic goes away and there I am in the dumps. I ask myself, “Why do I even try to paint.” In my head I know that this dark time will pass and that I just need to keep on painting. But my heart wants to quit and give away all my paint. So I keep painting even though I feel disheartened.
I just passed through two weeks of the dark night of the painter’s soul and things are taking a turn for the better. I noticed how joyful I feel when I have a couple of paintings in the studio that are working. It gives me energy to keep on.
“Thing One” This is a reworking of “Why Wouldn’t you” I like it so much better.
Here a couple of paintings that are not finished yet, but I like the starts.
When I get close to finishing a painting, I spend a lot of time just looking at it to see what the piece needs. It can be hard to tell when a piece is finished. If I change a shape of a color in a painting it can change everything. The change calls for more changes and so can go on and on. When it is working, I feel a hum inside when I am getting close to finishing. Its sort of an ecstatic feeling. I feel like a little kid saying, “Look what I did, Mom!”
I really like these paintings!
Around the Block
One Day at a Time
I love this quote from Marc Chagall. I am going to head out to paint this morning hoping that I can find some heart to bring a painting or too back to life.
Here are three paintings that need some heart.