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.
There comes a point in all our lives when work takes on too large a part of life. That has been my experience of late. The only saving grace in my current state of being over worked is that art is a part of work. I hate when the only art I make is sample art for middle school lessons, but at the same time, I am thankful that my job allows for me to make something - even when that something is less than my usual effort.
The two photos I've included in this post represent a watercolor still life I worked on during a few class periods while the student teacher instructed the class and a collage sample inspired by the donut painting I made a few months ago. The still life was created using water color and was primarily done to support the VIP (high school senior classroom volunteer) who was working on her own watercolor still life at the time. She is a really great kid - hopes to be an art educator when she "grows up" and I believe she will be amazing! Her portfolio is a bit small at the moment so we are working on quick projects that can boost her numbers and her "wow" factor.
The only thing I enjoy about Facebook is finding out about "things" - which usually means concerts but in this case means a call for donut art! Federal Donuts in Philadelphia put out a call for art for a book about their amazing donuts. I can't resist their donuts and I couldn't resist this call. Here's my attempt - wish me luck!
The trend of "paint night" fascinates me! I've been desperately wanting to go to one for almost a year - no one would go with me though! Last week, the ladies from the gym went to Sadie's Cafe and I tagged along to see what the hype was all about.
One of the first things the instructor said was "you can follow along or do your own thing! This is your painting!" This made my night - I didn't really like the image they were teaching...
What I liked most was the fact that all these women who don't feel comfortable creating had a blast. Art making doesn't have to produce museum quality work - it just has to produce a smile in the heart of the creator.
I have been painting, just not in my studio. Since I last posted I collaborated with two different artist to complete two different murals. I'll post them somewhere at some point...
Today, as I drove home, there was this single cloud in the sky. I could barely make it out, as the sky and the cloud were very close in color. Rain had just begun falling. This is what I saw.
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