Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Journey, New Blog

1. Pansies and Creamer

This has been a year of frustration and failure in regards to painting. I've talked about it before, being in a "slump".   It has not been fun, honestly, and I've doubted whether I have 'what it takes" to be a good painter.
I guess the answer to that question is still up in the air, but recently I participated in a webinar with artist Larry Seiler.  I missed the first session, but fortunately caught the second, and really connected with something Larry talked about.
Larry mentions three "zones" in which we as painters might find ourselves.  There's the comfort zone, in which we are doing what has been successful, or at least comfortable for us. It's the status quo for us.  Then there is the learning zone, in which we are trying to grow, reaching out to try new things, new methods, new subject matter.  During this zone we often fail. Often. Fail.  It isn't fun. It's hard.  And then there's the panic zone.  I'm not totally sure what constitutes the panic zone, only that it probably would send us crying to our mamas and make us head straight back to that comfort zone and start doing the same ol' thing again, using the same ol' methods, making the same ol' mistakes, churning out the same ol' stuff.
I realized I've been in that learning zone, and maybe inched toward panic a few times. I've scraped and tossed more paintings than I can count.  But I don't want to do the same ol' thing anymore!  I want BETTER.
But getting better usually means making more mistakes and failing more often along the way.  
Having this handle on my journey,  and understanding where I've been, I have a renewed sense of determination.
Larry quotes that it takes 120 bad paintings before we start seeing good ones. That's no magic number, but it means that we have to make lots of mistakes before we can build on those mistakes and gain enough understanding from them to start producing better art.  
So, I'm starting a new journey, and a new blog to document it.  This blog will remain active, and I'll link the new blog here for those who might be interested in following it.  I'm going to do those 120 paintings and see where it takes me.  I'm not just doing "daily paintings". (in fact, it is hard for me to paint on weekends, so it won't be an every day thing.)  These 120 paintings will have specific parameters.
1. I will dedicate an hour to each one. No more.
2. I will be focusing on better, more deliberate, brushstrokes. That might mean no blending, or less blending. It will mean looser. 
3. I want to explore some color theories.
The above painting is the first, about 45 min. on a 5x7.  I do not like working this small, so I'll be looking for a  larger, but economical, surface.  I'll probably make some masonite panels. ("Steve, would you mind cutting me some  8x10 pieces of masonite?  I need 120 of them")  For this one, I used one #6 bristle brush (that'll keep you from detail on something this small!)  It is rough, but its a start.  And after all, every journey begins with the first step.
But you gotta take that first step.  
I encourage all of you, if you feel like you are static, not growing, not changing, to try this.  Let's take this journey together!  I'll post the link to your own blog here if you want to share.  

The new blog will be titled: A Journey of 120 Steps.  

1 comment:

Judy P. said...

For someone of your talent to undertake this, I think you validate how tough art is at all levels. I ache to improve too, but I don't know if I'm at the level where I'm ready enough for this.
But you sure give me a lot to consider; I like this little painting!