I’ve just realized why I have been avoiding painting recently, not really avoiding it but just having a harder time settling down. Many of the works have been in progress for quite a while so getting back to them is often like picking up a strangers painting.
The amazing point is when suddenly you stop thinking about what you need to do and just start slashing at the canvas with purpose. There are unseen shapes and connections of shapes that come out of the surface of the paint and you fill in the blanks instinctively.
A stumbling block is the fear, especially when you like what you’ve started but there is no room for timid strokes in painting or anything else creative. Once you stop and think or attempt the safe way you might as well save painting for later.
Painting should be bold, excited and even a bit reckless. My thought is every painting is a potential mistake that will never see the light of day. This is the time you learn the most, when you are free to forcefully and confidently paint without fear of failure.
One particular technique that takes a lot of time going back and forth is the light on water, it starts out overly dramatic and slowly becomes more realistic. There are points where the light seems right, others when there seems to be a bump in the horizon and you have confidently fix the problems and continue to focus while you see the image you’ve been working on go from good to worse to good again.
Another aspect is painting objects, straight lines and architecture, something that often needs to be reworked and perfected. You are happy with the background and suddenly you’ve just destroyed it with the object that you overlapped-often the background needs to be reworked with the object as you work to perfect both.
There are so many different feelings when you paint, sometimes it’s pushing paint around, sometimes it’s deliberate, even mechanical and sometimes it’s instinctual, tonight’s sitting was a little bit of all of them.
I started with an under painting and it was one of the more deliberate paintings I’ve started, unfortunately I didn’t have the full picture, just an idea of clouds moving forward over the viewers head. The actual image is from real life, I have photographs for reference but I’m not completely sure where the clouds end and what the landscape looks like.
I painted the background with perspective lines, every form, every color and every space will be designed with the idea of perspective and I want the viewer to feel overwhelmed by the clouds overhead.
As I tend to do, I switched gears after finishing a monochromatic under painting I turned to the painting of a scene from beneath Shark River Inlet in Belmar New Jersey. This painting was inspired thirty plus years ago and it still stood clear.
I painted with a clear feeling of purpose but as suddenly as it began it ends and I wasn’t sure if I was done with the painting or should start all over. The problem is the idea and image is strong but the recollection is so hard to bring back to mind. I will continue to study it until I know it’s either done or time to start over.
Another thing about painting, sometimes you feel like you’ve created your best work and sometimes the same painting looks like a mistake. I got back to the grackles above the city, an image that I started at the end of the last series, again I had that feeling of instinct kick in and for thirty minutes or so I painted like I figured out the problem.
None of the paintings are finished but I feel like I’m shaking off the stagnation and getting in the process. The most exciting thing about painting instinctual is that images appear that you didn’t necessarily know you were creating they just come out of the details you’ve worked in feverishly.
I’m excited about this series and feel it will be a huge step toward my future painting style and feel.
Stay tuned, more paintings coming very soon.
Last night I finally started painting again. The excitement and inspiration spilled over into the next day. It is a liberating feeling after being stifled for so long and suddenly it all makes sense.
I think the only negative is that suddenly there are more ideas, images and concepts than I can get done in the time available. This is when my lists get overwhelming.
I first started on the third in a series of swallow paintings. The work is smaller than the two previous but more detailed, with a larger population of swallows than the previous paintings.
The name of the work is the celebration, it is a scene from a local bridge in Rowlett after the spring rain. I saw a swarm of swallows that surrounded the bridge and flew under and around the structure. There was a feeling of excitement; nature in celebration, the drought was finally over.
The second painting I work on was a brand new painting called calvary The last time I went to church, I had an amazing image of calvary surrounded by stained glass. This is going to be one of my most colorful paintings and it is a bit of a departure from previous works.
I’m very excited about finally getting back to work and I can’t wait to see the new views as they become real.
Back to the original post, it takes time. There are shortcuts to find and retaining clients but there are no shortcuts to knowing them. You can’t fake relationship with a potential client, you must be there for them as they are for you.
I speak with the metaphor of a gardener and being one, it seems appropriate. Disperse seeds, don’t expect a quick pay out but realize why you are in the business in the first place, do you care about your customers?
If you don’t care about them, they will quickly not care about you and your product. I believe in laying the future, getting to know people, having more people realize you may something they need and living life with a passion that pays when others endeavors don’t
In the end, I have no doubt that I will reap the benefits of the broad garden of pictures, thoughts and ideas which will one day be book covers, stories in e-books and paintings on walls, it just takes time, did I mention it takes a lot of time.
You just need to use your time wisely. Do what you love and do it well and often and share it with as many people who care about what you are selling, the rewards will come much like the garden that grows from the seeds you planted in the spring, and it will be beautiful.
I have been asked on many occasions if I would consider teaching painting and my answer would always be sure, why not? I have never actually had anyone take the next step until recently, she actually bought canvases and paints the next day and I was officially teaching a painting course. One thing I can say about teaching is that the student isn’t the only one learning. There are many aspects of painting and even more aspects of discipline and perspective I learned from the experience.
First of all, there are so many different things that painting consists of that the artist would never actually think about or verbalize. To actually put words to the process and try to explain the task of making a 2 dimensional form look like it is 3 dimensional solidified many of the instinctual choices I make while painting. The change in colors, size, contrast and tone are normally created without even thinking of why a specific color is being used or why different shapes are put in order but to think about them and teach them almost explained some of the second nature tasks and clarified them for my future painting.
Next, I have a short attention span for artwork, I tend to get lost in details and this is why I have so many paintings started at the same time. When one painting gets too close and too intense I change my perspective and work on another, this allows for a change in view and perspective and allows a fresh look at each painting, the drawback is the lack of finished paintings. Having to teach for 3-4 hours every weekend on one painting kept my focus and discipline and forced me not to lose sight of the whole picture. I hope this discipline I will be able to use when painting my own paintings.
Another aspect of teaching is when the student sees things that you don’t and can point out things that you haven’t paid enough attention to, suddenly you have another perspective to see through. Luckily, the student had a very keen eye for detail and we both were able to iron out points of composition, color and perfecting realism-it’s great to have a second set of eyes, so for now on I will hire a student to paint with me-I’m kidding but it would be money well spent.
We finished the painting, which was rather large-36″x38″, in thirteen classes of 3-4 hours each. I learned that my process for painting actually has a very logical progression and each class had specific processes that we accomplished. In the end the student did a piece of art she was happy with and I learned a great deal about teaching, painting and the processes of each. We will be starting another painting that is even larger and this one is less detailed and more about capturing light and simpler form. I will fill you in on the classes after we begin. My next blog will be about starting back to painting after teaching and following a long hiatus.
I will have a photograph of the painting and a flash video of the thirteen steps to a finished painting posted on my website-so check back soon-I will have a notification on the blog when they appear.
www.artbygordon.com, I will also be posting the video on YouTube.