The past week has been hectic. Too hectic to paint, though, after spending about an hour on this little guy, I realize I probably could have squeezed an hour in somewhere to keep on schedule. Some days it is hard to take the time to paint because that feels like selfish time and there has been so much "stuff" outside of "me" that has required my time this week. I love my full life but some days it is hard to keep up with the maximized schedule I make for myself. If I challenge myself in this way again I don't think I will chose the month of August. July would probably be a better month to work on this type of project because the school year is still far away.
Critique of today:
Kachina is centered and as compositions go that is boring.
I do like the minimal inclusion of the guitar but the more significant inclusion of the other object shadows. I think I will play with that idea more in the future - 'other' shadows in the space of the object. Kachina itself looks a bit flat and non-dimensional. Not exactly sure what happened there... I think I should have looked more carefully at this board before painting and oriented it differently to minimize the large knot.
My BIG Dilemma:
Today is 8/31, the last day of August. This project was stated to as a one month painting project. The month is over, but due to missed days, I only have 25 paintings and not 31 (or 32 which is the number of boards I started with). I'm really not sure what to do now. Do I finish out the boards and paint one more week of kachinas? Or do I call it quits on the kachina because the month of August is over? To complicate matters more, school starts on Tuesday and I am not sure I will have the time to paint with the added demands of a new school year.
If you have been reading/watching this as it unfolded I am curious to know your thoughts. Keep going? Stop? Finish at my leisure due to school demands? Paint two-a-day between now and Tuesday? Comment, help me decide what to do.
Nope, not happening.
Maybe if I had gotten up a little earlier I could have maximized more of the hours in this day, but that is not what happened. The majority of my day was spent on the TCNJ campus completing employment "stuff" and sitting in the library getting acquainted with the online course system.
Class starts tomorrow, and thus, I make no promises for a painting tomorrow. I will try, but the best I can offer right now is a promise of a painting on Wednesday. Besides, you all probably need a break after the hideousness of yesterday's image.
It was suggested that I take kachina outside. My home is currently surrounded by a corn field so I set up shop on the edge and placed kachina at the edge of the field.
The result is not good. I'm sorry you have to look at this but I said I'd post every painting and I guess that includes the worst ones too.
I took the same approach today as I did yesterday -- zoom in and include nothing but kachina. Yesterday, I just zoomed in. Today, I zoomed in and thought about the lighting. I chose to shine my trusty flashlight beam onto the side and give it a go. The result pleases me far more than yesterday. I like the range within the white area and (though I doubt you can see it) I love the tiny little highlight on bottom corner of kachina's left "hand".
Side effect of the project: I've come to remember that I really enjoy painting still life -- this was my go-to imagery in college. Though it is getting tough to come up with a new idea each day, I have missed the style over the past two paintings. I'll be back at it tomorrow and would love to hear any suggestions you might have for interesting still life compositions.
"Do something really different"
Here is a "really different" rendition of kachina. I'm not a fan but I will try this zoomed in view one more time just to see if I can achieve an image I want to look at. At least it didn't take long to create.
(To the left, please find a photograph depicting 19 days of kachina paintings in my fancy storage system - the guest bedroom floor. For reference, top right is #01, bottom right is #10, top left is #11, bottom left is #19.)
I've been asked to submit 4 photos of my recent work to a project that is currently too fresh to discuss - I promise to promote the heck out of said project when the time comes but for now it must remain hush-hush. In an attempt to narrow 20 down to 4, I looked at all of the kachinas together. In doing this, I noticed a trend toward more complicated, but not necessarily better, compositions. This lead me to want to go back to a simplified image for today's painting.
To achieve the light effect in the painting I used a flash light aimed directly at the head of kachina. I thought a great deal about how to orient the kachina and the light and what to exclude from the image. I wanted to mimic the long, exaggerated shadows of the early pieces and create an emotionally charged image. I think I succeeded. I believe that the result is successful because I was able to create the emotional charge I was hoping for with a very simply composition. I hope you like this image as much as I do!
By the way, the four images I chose to represent my recent work are day 4, 9, 12 and 16. Feel free to comment listing your choices for top four. It would be helpful to know how others rate the body of work.
Some days, you hit nothing but home runs. Other days, you strike out. I feel like this one is a strike out. I think I will blame John and the Yankees for today's self described failure. (I know this is silly. I am to blame for this craptastic image and I should not try to toss that off on anyone else.)
I blame John because he keeps telling me to be daring and push this idea. In an attempt to be daring, I put kachina in an odd place - on the ledge of a rod that hangs from an award frame displaying dog show ribbons. That's odd alright, but the composition feels wrong. I do not know where I went wrong but I do know that I dislike this one more than any of the others.
Now, the Yankees... My studio is also the office in the house - totally not ideal. Gary had set up shop on his computer in the office prior to me deciding it was time to paint. He was diligently working on his school's website and listening to the Yankee game when I entered the room. I don't like baseball. I blame the Yankees for throwing off my "game" today because their goofy announcers. I'm used painting in silence and the cheers and cheesy sponsor announcements were a total distraction.
Today's painting represents my brief break from college course prep. I worked - nonstop - from noon until 5 PM on finalizing the syllabus and organizing readings into folders for the college course I will be teaching at TCNJ starting one week from today. Funny things happen to your body when you sit at a "desk" for that long and type...
Anyway, I allowed myself a "break" from work to paint kachina. Today I have placed him inside the paint box. The inside of the box is metal so I once again have a reflective surface to deal with. I simplified the labels on the tubes of paint - I will remind you that this is an exercise in composition, not an exercise in details or specifics. My brain is completely fried at this moment and I will leave you to decide if this is a good or not so good composition. Please comment - your thoughts are welcome and encouraged.
As the days of this project go on I am finding it more and more difficult to chose a location to paint kachina. The endlessness of the possibilities is a bit too limitless for me. I actually drew an entire image on this board before deciding I hated the composition and erasing the entire board to start over.
I'm just a bit past midway on this project so I will restate my goals and gauge my success thus far. As I see it, the purpose of this project was
A side result of this project: I find that I enjoy painting reflective surfaces. I would normally avoid such things as the idea of having to paint not only an image but also the reflection of that image in another surface felt like too challenging a task. But, surprisingly, my favorite pieces are those that include a reflective surface. I've always appreciated the work of Janet Fish so perhaps the next series of one a days will follow the life of a reflective object...
Hooray for completing a painting before the dinner hour. Hooray for painting two days in a row. Hooray for odd color solutions to this space.
Lora Marie Durr
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