I signed up for a formal painting class at Tyler. The class starts in February and only runs for 5 weeks - one day a week for 3 hours each session. Even though I feel mostly confident about my painting skills (OK, mostly meh, but I get by with what I know!), I really want to learn how to do things "right" - underpainting, grounds, mediums - all the traditional techniques for using oils that I do not know and do not use in my work. As I read over the materials list, I saw a simple, obvious phrase - "stretched canvas" - which set me into a tizzy. The horror!
I realize this may sound a bit ridiculous and even somewhat dramatic, but... I HATE STRETCHED CANVAS. It bounces. It stays wet too long. It allows the paint to move too much. It is just not what I like to paint on! I like solidity, stability; I LIKE WOOD.
Today's "mess" is my first attempt at painting on canvas in about 5 years. I thought it might be a good idea to practice a bit on this dreadful painting surface before the first class so I won't look like some dope who has never painted before when I go to class. It is almost like the canvas KNEW I didn't like it, and as such, kept making my life miserable. From the first line I drew, something was off. And, let's be honest - when the composition is off, the whole thing is doomed before it begins. Below is the journey this painting has gone through today. At this moment, the painting has a fourth present sketched in the upper right corner which may or may not be added.
I kept trying to make the image better but at this point, I feel like this was an experiment and won't ever be a finished painting. I'm ok with that for now, but don't be surprised if tomorrow I post another set of images as I continue to poke at this mess.
Painting in series is the only way that I can develop a consistent routine or artistic practice. I used the kachina to develop a routine in 2013 and ever since then, the only times that I have been productive are when I find a subject to repeatedly paint. Lenox birds, glass bunnies, dead rabbits, and the same farm, over and over again, have served as my muses.
The idea of painting ribbons or bows from packages came to me in 2013 but I didn't follow through on the impulse due to other obligations that needed to be completed. I saved several bows but didn't paint any of them until a few days ago. The results are below; they aren't the worst but this subject calls me to continue the exploration.
I realize that other artists have tackled this subject and have made a great portfolio of work by doing so. Still life is like that though - so many artists paint the same subjects in an attempt to find their own voice within the creation of the objects. I hope that my voice comes through within these pieces and is seen as an interesting take on the familiar object.
During my undergraduate studies, I spent a great deal of time in the painting studio working with traditional oils. Teaching middle school art for the past 12 years has taken me away from those roots. This "one a day" project is aimed at re-inspiring that creativity and technique.
Other "one a day" painting blogs to check out:
Kellie Marian Hill
The usual Subjects