So many days I struggle as an artist to truly create something that is fresh, new and unique. I’m not alone in this daily struggle. It’s a common topic of conversation in Artist circles. Of course, like most people, I’m influenced by everything I see and hear. And, like so many people, these images, colors, or symbols will appear in my work. This is not because I lack an imagination but because I share a connection or a sense of belonging with these images. It is a way to describe a little bit of myself. Some folks call it collective consciousness others think that this is “voo doo” – “new age” crap. Call it whatever you wish, Artists often need to paint in a series or paint similar subject matter to find their unique voice.
We’re living in a time of information and unlimited access to visual stimulus. All you have to remember when you sit down to paint is: nothing is “new”. All subjects have been painted. You need to just make it your own. While even Matisse and Picasso challenged each other for years by painting similar subject matter; some say this helped each artist develop their inner vision. Others might call it their own method, technique or style. This technique can be useful to the solo painter as well.
Give it a try, the next time you’re struggling with what to paint, try painting a common object and do it in a way that describes your interpretation. You are unique! Allow this uniqueness to surface and make your Art memorable.
This is a painting that is ready to be glazed. It is completely dry (more than 24 hours) and will accept a new layer of paint very well.
The final finished painting is at the bottom of this post.
This is how the painting looks before I have glazed it. Take a look at the painting and you will be able to see how different a painting can look after glazes have been applied.
You may also see area or shapes of some things which haven’t been painted yet. Some direct painting or glazing with the same color will also need to be done to bring the values in line. Values are difficult to determine unless you can see how all the various colors and glazes effect each other. Often an artist should go back and take a look at anything that has been changed just to make sure that anything that needs tweeking gets tweeked. This means perhaps darkening an area previously thought to be OK.
Above you will see a section of the painting. Look at the light green leaf here in the middle, I will glaze over some burn’t senna and then some green and last some pink which should push the leaf back a bit and look like a shadow.
You can see this in the next photo below.
Under the bright orange leaf there is also an area which is not defined, look at this area and see how it will be redefined by direct painting & glazing. This photo above shows how I changed the shape of this area (under the large orange leaf).
Next look at the photo below… there was a very light shape which was only painted a light grey blue but was left mostly white. You can also see the blue leaf’s edges (in the corner) was given a blue and purple glaze .
Here is the that same area and you can see it has been painted around (negatively painted ) also a few direct touches help to bring a little critter to life.
Below in the next shot there is an area of the painting I had to grey up a bit while defining the finger like shape. I glazed over this area with Phatho blue.
Then I decided to scumble in some Andrews Turquoise and some Cerulean blue Both are a bit opaque and can be layered rather then glazed. Opaque paint will sit on top of the first layer of paint, in this case the dark blue paint.
This is the right hand lower corner of the painting, You can see I put in various colors as glazes to give the butterfly shape some dimension and I also added some colors to his body for a little more emphasis.
Here is the final painting. Notice I also painted the little vine like branches again so they would stand out against the background. I also glazed the big brown leaf at the right hand bottom corner with bright red so it looks a bit brighter. These things are subtle but often these little tweeks are all a painting needs.
5 by 7 watercolor on paper. Landscape
This painting was painted with my Protege or in the past they would have called her my apprentice. I was demonstrating a few techniques, how to use a palette or pin knife in watercolor and the dreaded gradient wash. She gessoes boards and is helping me while I teach her the whats, where’s and hows of being a modern day Artist here in the Charlotte NC area. Soon she’ll tackle my data base so maybe you’ll be getting a note from me soon.
6.25 by 8.50 original collage on Illustration board, hand made papers, artist grade paints and materials. $ 95.00
This is a collage I made today. working with all of my collage papers I couldn’t resist to put some together and create this abstract landscape.
9″ by 12″ $120.00 Watercolor on paper
Playing a bit with the snow scenes, I wanted to try to paint some reflective colors on the pond. This is on hot press paper, a mistake in my estimation, it would have been easier on cold press paper.
I’m not sure that I mentioned to everyone that I have finished my painting a day regimen. I did stick to it for two years… Now, I will only paint several small paintings a week. Its good practice and allows me a kind of freedom that I don’t always have with the larger works or commissions. Looking back over my painting a day commitment, I know it was good for me and I learned a lot. Mostly about myself. It was surprising because with only a few hours to finish a painting each day, I had to pick either a simple subject or a difficult subject painted simply. Usually (not always, everyone likes a shortcut once in a while) I opted for a difficult subject painted simply. Thus I found all kinds of ways to create depth, tried my hand at abbreviated brush strokes and learned to like things with accidents, drips, soft edges and less detail. Basically, how to do everything economically, This wasn’t a big stretch because I learned long ago that I loved realism but that I <u>really</u> loved loosely painted, wet into wet, free flowing water color even more. So…. as each day progress, I tried to incorporate a less detailed approach. I learned to trust my instincts, gave myself permission to just try it, like not fighting the urge to put that color in there or leave out those lines or change the perspective to whatever usually doesn’t seem right. My style seemed to emerge little by little, one day I would stand back and say, “I like that!”… then figure out why, add that to my mental list of gotta do that more often” and my approach to painting gradually and uniquely became my own. For me, one of the best things that happened is<b><i><u> I don’t beat myself up over poorly painted work</u></i></b>. I don’t feel let down by the not so perfect paintings… I now know (not just intellectually, but really know) the road is not a straight one where, when you reach the end, you are a perfect painter, never creating another work of art that is less then perfect. Best of all, I don’t have that feeling that every work I start has to end up a masterpiece, its ok to try anything, push forward into unknown color schemes, unfamiliar products and subject matter. Each painting doesn’t have to be better than the last and I’ll learn something about painting and about myself with each painting so they all have value. Even if they end up in the trash. P.S. If it bothers you to throw them out, gesso over them and paint another painting in a few days when the gesso is dry.
Here is a photo of a dragonfly sitting on a piece of drift wood near my pond. I miss my Koi…
If you would like to use this photo for reference… you may do so… as I took the photo.