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?

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.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Lessons in Light

Starting my fourth year, I am working on independent projects. Students are given two days per week to work on any subject matter that we wish, also known as thesis.
I am attempting to paint portraits in natural light, on my own, in interior settings.

Yeah. It is hard.

Week one had me playing around with different locations for the model. Placing the model by the window had the light streaming in on the side of her face, with the cheekbone on the other side catching minimal light. My canvas was beyond the model, away from the window, making it a little difficult to see. I ended the day with a quick study on a small canvas to work out composition and light.

The next time we met was spent working on my grisaille for the final painting. This was a larger canvas and I use my study to guide me. To help solve the light problem on my easel from the week before, I used a cool clamp light.

Change 'o plans.

After working a second day, I met with advisors at school to discuss my course of action. Several teachers pointed out that I should not have the model next to the window, as the light will change too much. I did admit to already having difficulty seeing forms in the shadows, not to mention my dark easel.

Aren't these similar to the issues I had with my summer alla primas?  
Pay attention not to repeat mistakes, people!

One reminded me that it is not the relationship between me and my subject to consider, rather, the relationship between me the light and my subject. My model should be placed across from the window, with my easel in between, so the same light is hitting my easel and the model.

Another suggestion:
Look out the window. You want to see sky. Block off the lower portion so the light is raking from above. You do not want the grass or cars outside to bounce colors in.

I went home that night and wiped off the day's effort. When the model returns, I have a new set of guides to hopefully propel me forward.

Day 1 study
Here is the study from day 1.  I did not spend a ton of time on it, since I was setting up, however it has a quality that I like.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Leaving, er, drawing the nest

My youngest left for college this month. We joke that we would not have been friends in high school. My senior year was marred by the suicide of a close friend, hers was surrounded by her squad.
Whereas I left town 3 days after graduating, she has spent her summer in constant motion: at grad parties, down the shore, and eating out.

But things happen as they should. All my experiences have brought me to where I am today, and for that I am grateful, just as they brought her to me.

I'd like to tell her to let things go; life is too short to sweat the small stuff, but she seems to know that already. She has no patience for drama.
I'd like to tell her to work hard, but her setbacks through sports, (coupled with a competitive spirit) has taught her that.

Raising a sporty child has broadened my horizons and brought a new awareness to fighting to do better, while not letting defeat define you. Many parallels from her sports world could be applied to my art one.

drawing of a preschoolers paper birds nest
Perhaps her "leaving the nest" prompted my drawing. I was advised to draw something with texture. I chose a small 'nest' she made in preschool: a crumbled paper bag, filled with brown craft moss, and three tiny eggs she made from model magic clay. Normally I would look at something with that much detail and think, I'll pass. However, I wanted to push myself.

Beginning year four of my
study, I am excited to see what the time will bring.
My goals are simple ones: do my best, work on what i can control and let go of what i can't.

Advice for any stage.
Also, stand back & squint.