Fear of the Canvas – 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.
I am excited about the process and while I continue to get bits of time to paint, I am adding to an already large painting list. Let me know what you think of the new images.
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.