Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Importance of the mind-body connection.

 This has been more apparent to me lately. It's funny how you don't recognize the imbalances at first, as stress creeps, workouts start to wane, and the tweaks in my diet start to become habits.
Frustration occurs with artwork. It's not where I want it to be, and then I feel tired and negative. It feels like everything is going south.
Such has been the past few months.

It's a vicious cycle. When I found myself dreading class because it was such a struggle, I knew I needed a serious attitude adjustment.
Because I have this amazing opportunity to paint from life everyday! I have a pool of talent to ask for advice. It should not feel like a chore.

I'm not sure where the shift occurred. Maybe it is the unseasonably warm weather, maybe I was due, but it started with my diet.
Hit the reset button.

 I made a direct effort to get back on track. I am revisiting the workouts that use to make me feel strong (oh boy- use it or lose it), and I am excited about my current projects.

In addition, I had a few quick painting sessions this week where I wasn't thinking about technical stuff,  what I didn't know, or how much I needed to do. I just reacted and painted. Time flew by. It was fun.

Below are the two from this week (the color study is for a painting with a slightly different composition).

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Ahh that reflective time of year~early January.

For me, the reflection started in September. Level 4 is a year of internal growth. Working on a thesis, creating a small body of work, figuring things out on my own, all while making it personal.
reflecting on year 4
Making a painting that it more than just an academic exercise is tricky.
And frustrating. And exciting, when successful.

I have always joked about learning what NOT to do in a painting.
Oops, one down, don't do xx again.
And the more I complete, the more I feel like I have learned another "what not to do".

Which means, another canvas under my belt, pushing me forward. At times it does not seem that way, but deep down I know it is so.
the best advice I can give

Writing this has always been about sharing the side that I didn't see other artists talk about, and I wonder if that is a good thing.
But since people no longer are interested in reading words (so I'm told), I think I'm safe.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

When thoughts are scattered

I haven't posted in a bit, even thought I have 5 blog entries in my notes. I feel as if my thoughts are all over the place, and I can't focus.

There was a discussion the other day when one classmate said that she felt her artwork was a reflection of her inner self. She was really pleased with her experience where we study, and she could see it in her work. She was excited to be there and improving.

I joked that I must be full of self loathing, bc lately I have not been pleased with my work.
It made me think that maybe she was right. I have felt that I am going in circles, but not progression forward. I have felt scattered and all over the place with my thoughts (hence, no posts). Maybe this is why my outcomes are not desirable?

When your studies are better than your long term paintings, you have to ask yourself, why?

easel notes
The planes, colors and values are clearer. I consider studies to me more reactive and instinctual. I scan my eyes around the canvas and compare. When I move to a longer term painting, I neglect to do this.

I was assured that this is normal for someone at my stage of learning, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. To keep myself on track, I posted reminders above my painting. I'll let you know later if it helps.

I'd hate to end on a down note, so I'll share pics of my grandcats. How could you not smile when looking at these faces?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

'Chasing' Likeness

I love painting portraits but I especially am pleased when I capture the likeness of the sitter. After all, isn't that what portrait painting is about?
Some instructors say, don't worry about it, but missing the likeness to me means that my shapes and angles are off. Otherwise, it just happens. So I am not happy til I capture that particular person~ Not a cousin, or sibling, but the actual sitter!

This can be an issue in class when we are learning certain concepts. While, in the end, the viewer will not know the original source~ they just see if the light is captured, or if the structure is sound~ it still matters to me.
I don't just want a structural nose. I want her structural nose.

Recently we did a two day portrait.

At the end of day 1, mine did not look as developed as it should. Why?  Because the model had her head tilted back, and I could not get her nose. Earlier stages had it, but I lost it in the process of trying to push further.
I felt frustrated because the lesson was to have a block in with an effect of light, where we could build color on day two, and I still was fussing over a certain feature. Which is never good at this stage. 

Looking at it the next morning,  I realized that the painting wasn't that bad. I should have let likeness go, and further developed light and form, because, overall, it was a sound beginning.

Had this been a longer piece, or a portrait  commission, then,  yes,  I would want to spend the time capturing the sitter. But I had lost sight of the goal.
For such a short time, the greater benefit would have been to push the form building as far as I could. I know how a nose should be, and I think I should have relied on this information for this particular exercise.

On day 2, I was able to infuse the model back into it. It's not my fave, but it's also not my worst.
Like many things in life, sometimes you have to let it go.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


I am afraid.

I thought this on my way in the other day as I was about to work on day four of a painting.

The first two days went well, the third day showed regression, and now, I have to figure out how to fix it. What if I can't figure it out? What if I mess it up further? I start with simple things that I can see easily, and work my way around the main object. Adjusting these notes make the tougher ones easier to see.

My mentor comes in and tells me to look at the piece and work on the drawing. Make sure that I have the light effect and the planes correctly. She specifically says, jump right in, do not be afraid.

How ironic to hear that advice when those are my very thoughts in the morning. I tell her this. No, she exclaims, this is the fun part. This is where you were creating art; making poetry. Don't be afraid to jump right in. You are no longer making a study, you are making a painting. Make conscious decisions. Don't keep it precious. All things I now, but when you have some frustrating days, sometimes you just want a success.

She picks up the brush and makes a few notes around the canvas. It does look fun. Now I am ready for her to leave so I can continue.

Sometimes you just need an adjustment in your attitude.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

What do you do

when it sucks?

I am working on this figure painting that is just bad. Not being overly dramatic, but for some reason, it is not working. I really like the model and was initially excited about it, so I don't understand how it all went downhill.

It's actually to the point where I'm not upset-  it's laughable- How could I make that??- and I don't even know how to fix it.

So it got me thinking...What can I do about it?

I came up with a few solutions:
1) Add it to the pile of paintings that I need to do in order to improve. Got another one under my belt.
2) Glean a lesson from, don't do this, ever!
3) Re-use the stretcher bars! That's a definite.
4) Sign someone else's name to it 😬
5) Use it to recover my dart board?

I hope that, with more experience, I'll be able to work my way out of a situation like this. Or it is just something that happens from time to time and is part of the process.
At one point, I was really bothered by it, By now, I have let it go.

What else do you do when you try and fail? Try again.

And no, I am NOT sharing that pic. You will just have to use your imagination.