Tuesday, March 23, 2010

As The Journey Goes...So Does My Life

I am at the 12 weeks mark of painting and the one year mark away from my executive/corporate life and can happily report that I make it into the yellowfish life for a good part of almost every day. I am in the clouds more than I am noticing them. I am on the surface of the water more than I am looking at it. I am up flying in the breeze more than I am feeling it. And I am on the branch with the birds that I hear each morning, noticing the way they hold on vs just the way they sing.

I am at the stage where when my head hits the pillow my brain immediately turns to art, images, the progress of the day and ideas for the next. These thought and images are also in my dreams and again as I wake and on days when I am not able to make it to the studio I yearn to get there.

Pushing aside any visual progress I continue to lean on the learning progress - how paint works, reacts, mixes, the various brushes, mediums and surfaces. The depth of this medium is simply amazing and as I spend a few hours online looking at other works and trying to learn and answer the question, "how'd they do that?" what I see in the good paintings is a maturity one can only get to with experience. And so, as my artist friend Shirl instructed me was the best way to learn, I continue to "just paint." The joy in this part of the journey is the freedom this still affords me. And I hope to be a student for many, many more years to come.

I can't say I have no fear of failure but I try to start each piece without a preconceived notion of where it will take me which makes it easy not to fail. But then even with that frame of mind of course I do think I will create something "good" and then of course fail often and yet these failures point me in new directions.

I still carry like cinder blocks on my shoulders the feeling that I must complete a painting in one session. This is left over from my watercolor days when it was born of necessity. So now I try to be working on multiple paintings and recognize when I feel myself blindly working so I can stop, take a break and go to another piece. This is so much harder than it sounds.

Another good learning cue is the knowing that I can always go back and re-work something that annoys me a day or a week later be it to add, subtract, sand, terp away, paint over or if push comes to shove I can toss it over the balcony. There have been many of those.

Yesterday I tried a new texture technique and a new paint color - metallic gold. It was a nice 24 x 24 canvas piece and the gold stained and dried quickly to the texture I laid down. It took on a very soft and natural tone and while I had planned to leave that as the first layer I instead played with it by adding a few marks and accent touches of color and set it down. When I was done for the day I looked over at it for awhile and then began to laugh as I thought, mockingly, "well now, Christine, doesn't that look generic, like something you might see for sale at Home Goods or be hanging in the bathroom at JC Penny's!"  As this was making me giggle a bit I stopped short as I realized I could not have completed a painting like this when I started three months ago, let alone mocked it (see below).

As I head to the studio today I will take a minute to reflect on the progress I've made over the past 12 weeks as well as in my relationships with others at the gallery and in the studio.   The circles continue to widen. As do my smiles. And while I don't consider myself yet an artist every once in awhile I can see the future paintings through the trees. Java!

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