When I am feeling a little stuck, stale, or just want to shake things up a bit in my studio practice I have been turning to a wonderfully freeing painting exercise.
The purpose is to paint without expectations for the outcome, and in so doing removing any perceived pressure to create a “good” work of art. Which usually results in something fresh and exciting!
Sometimes a change or a shift in the art making process is intentional. Like when you realize things are getting a bit stale, or you want to tackle a new technique or color palette. And then there are the changes that just show up and surprise you. When this happens, you are faced with a choice of either returning to your usual comfortable pattern of art making or allowing for the change to guide you to new places.
I felt a shift was coming in my work along with the seasonal shift from summer to autumn. I was making small paintings on paper that I began in my usual way with expressive marks and large swatches of color. I already had the intention of limiting my palette and using more subdued color to allow for a sense of cohesiveness. However, I stopped short of my usual completion process because I felt a strong connection to the immediacy I found there. These were bolder and more expressive than my previous work. Could I allow for that?
“I could certainly never mirror nature. I would more like to
paint what it leaves with me.”
Back in January I made an entry in my art journal that I wanted to work on something “small, steady, and focused” with my painting. When looking over my progress from the previous year I felt that I was all over the place, trying out processes in many different directions. Which was all good and certainly worthwhile, but I felt it time to step back and redirect my attention. And so, the idea of a new series came about that I call Field Notes.
I search for the realness, the real feeling of a subject,
all the texture around it. . . I always want to see the third dimension of something. . . I want to come alive with the object.
Our world is full of texture. Almost as much as color, I am keenly aware of the textures in my environment. Soft grasses, bristly pines, wispy clouds, ripples on water, are just a few of the endless textures we can experience in the landscape. Keep reading to discover why I love the element of texture in painting.
Rhythm is as necessary in a picture as pigment; it is as much a part of painting as of music.
~Walter J. Phillips~
I am thinking about rhythm as I continue with my posts here considering my paintings as they relate to the elements of design. Besides music, lots of things have rhythm. I enjoy the rhythm of the seasons, a rhythm to my days, and the calming rhythms of ocean waves. And I enjoy adding pattern, through repeated elements or motifs, into my painting compositions to create a visual rhythm. Repetition is probably the easiest way to express rhythm in painting by repeating any of the design elements throughout a composition. Repetition can suggest movement through a visual tempo and provide a path for the eye to follow.
The works must be concerned with fire in the soul
but executed with clinical coolness.
My intention to post here monthly fell apart at the end of 2018. So here it is a new year, a fresh start, and a good time to talk about balance. I obviously lacked a bit of balance when I allowed busyness in the studio, and with life in general, overtake other areas that are also important to me, like posting on this blog! I know it’s not easy keeping all the parts of our lives in balance, and it is something I often hear about, the attempt to keep a sense of balance in our lives.
What art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit.
~ John Updike ~
Creating a feeling of spaciousness is something that I struggle with in my abstract landscape works. The spaces I strive to create in my paintings are a direct response to the landscape here in the Blue Ridge Mountains. There is distance but also a closeness of rising mountainsides, tree lines and forests.
It took me a while to see it.
I have fallen into a way of working in my sketchbook that feels just about right for now.
I dream in color.
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