Beginning of the Beginning

 

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Shenanigan Flat plein air from August

I thought that I would post a few of my favorite watercolor paintings from the past 5 months. I started this amazing journey delving seriously into learning this wonderful medium and to discover my particular style. I wanted to include the painting above because I feel that it depicts where I want to be in watercolor. Of course this painting only shows a smidge of the style that I envision.

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semi-abstract

A semi-abstract of several madrone trees in my backyard has been an adventure of sorts. Finding my way around abstraction, loosing up and learning not to be so critical of myself in having a “perfect” painting.

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plein air from 2014 on Wallis paper
      My past has been solidly planted in soft pastel for approximately 17 years. The above painting is one that I wasn’t too sure about at completion because of the looseness but now I see it as being perfect because it is loose.
     As you can see, I have come a long ways and have even further to go, I believe that the artist life is very complex and a never-ending journey. If you have been following my blogging here on WordPress, you learned from my last post that I am stepping away during the month of November to give myself a breather. In actuality I found that I was delving deep into an area that I have visited many times before which I feel goes against my creative striving.
     I am aware of this being normal for a creative, but in my case there is a portion that is solidly based upon my childhood and wounds that have occurred. My hope and plan is to focus on how to bounce back quicker with less stress. I also am wanting to put to rest the need for validation and hopefully to leave behind a large portion of my harsh self criticism.
     When I had originally thought of taking a month off, I was questioning if it was something that I should do, when I ran across a post by a fellow blogger that tied right into what I have contemplating about, I knew it was a confirmation.
      I am a very positive person who has great hope for my art and what I can learn from pursuing being creative. I could touch upon a lot in this post but it would be too lengthy and you all be yawning and ready for this post to end. I do believe that when I do come back in December, I plan on blogging more about the creative life (and struggles) in addition to my art adventures.
     While I am on my leave of absence, I will be working more on a painting that is meditative Intuitive Painting-Psalm 65 If you want to snoop into the conversation regarding this planned absence, I suggest that you read the comments in this post  Fall on the North Yuba. Goodness, it is about time I end this and post it. I will be come back and keep an eye on the feed, until then….happy creating!

 

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Intuitive Painting-Psalm 65

I am back to painting and  will be starting on a watercolor soon. I was hoping to go plein air painting but it is very cloudy out there and is threatening to rain, which we need so badly here in Northern California.

While talking about art with a fellow blogger, I had mentioned my intuitive painting, he suggested that I post about it and my progress. So, here we are!

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Tentatively named “Psalm 65” (the blues are not as rich as it is here in the photo)

I have been wanting to start this painting for a long time and I fought it because I didn’t know how to paint Psalm 65, do I go realistic or abstractly? Well, as you can see I chose the latter.

With this  painting, I literally empty my mind from any distractions, thoughts, ideas of what this painting should depict even though I was basing it upon Psalm 65. I am going for the spiritual and not literal.

This  is how I usually proceed.

  • Put on some music, lately it has been Gregorian chanting
  • Relax, pray, wait, empty myself, wait
  • Paint only what I feel I should paint…color, shapes or nothing
  • Don’t paint from the need to put a mark or color down
  • Entirely intuitive painting, nothing comes, paint nothing
  • Once I put the painting away till the next painting, I do not ever look at it or evaluate it (I broke my rule of not looking at it to marry it up to my photo for this post)
  • Don’t judge it while painting, or ever!
  • Be in the moment, no visualizing it as being done or half done or partially done
  • Treat it as an eternal puzzle piece, a stroke at a time

The why of this painting….well, it is a long story and at this point I will leave that out until a later date. I think if anything this is a personally designed experiment for me because I am a goal orientated person as most of us are. I come from parents who were workaholics and who focused on the finished product. I struggle with this so much, probably more than others because I have a tendency to castigate myself for not having a perfect or near perfect end product. I push myself to produce the end product, yes but also to have perfection in what I do, both in life and in art. I truly want to break this because it is not coming from the artistic self, it is coming from the “false self” the self that strives from a primitive part of the psyche. Striving for a whole bevy of reasons and I am very aware of this. I often spend time battering against this and arm myself with knowledge, both head knowledge and spiritual and yet, it remains a struggle.

Working on this painting is an attempt to work this out within myself. Thank you for taking the time to read this post being that it is a side step from my ongoing watercolor challenge. I would very much appreciate to hear what you feel or perceive but not what you think of the painting. I only ask you this because I am not going there myself, this is an open session painting with no analysis at all from myself or from others. Thank you so kindly!

 

 

Perspective is Everything

On this fine rainy day I thought I would share some thoughts about art and rather than  focusing on a past plein air excursion, I will share one of my watercolor paintings. In this post I would like to share my thoughts on creating in general. Well, actually more like what I have been experiencing lately with painting and creating. I have been taking the bull by the horns and decided to get out there and try to sell my art. I am fortunate to live in the country and the closest “real” town that provides any shopping or culture is approximately 22-24 miles away. With my daughter’s prompting, I decided to put my artwork in a local store who handles arts and crafts of local artisans. Being shy and living away from excitement that a town and culture can bring, this was a BIG step.

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My “meet the artist” affair held at the shop was very nerve-wracking and eye opening. I have to admit that I was very disappointed at the lack of interest and the only people who talked to me were the family members and friends that showed up! Now this was difficult for such as a person as myself because I am shy and I often go through doubt about my art and my abilities. Can you imagine?! The days after my “meet the artist” gala, I sank into a depression of sorts. I have had many, many days if not months of depression in the past because of my art. I initially got past this disappointment and pulled myself up and carried on. Is art about making money and becoming known or is art about creating and expression? My answer to my own questions lifted me up and out of that depression.

Being a Christian artist I can’t afford to stay in the dumps for too long. Art is far more than making paintings or expression. For me it is a day by day exploration of self and my faith. For me the two are intermingled. Who knows what went wrong….perhaps nothing did go wrong! It is all in the perspective and that is what I need to focus on, what do I really want from my making art? That is part of the struggle. For whom am I trying to please or to impress?

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Take for instance this watercolor painting that I did a few years ago. I painted this thinking of Agate Beach on the north coast of California, my favorite place to vacation. When I look at this painting, I can almost hear the gulls, the wind, the surf. Do I really care if someone likes it or not? I love it! Is the value of this painting for me in how it is received by others? Their comments or their silence? Ultimately art is our view of the world, our expression of what is meaningful to us, the artist; not the admiration or the reception it garners.

I have decided that I simply carry on! Feeling depressed or sorry for oneself doesn’t push forward to any heights at all of any kind. It is a matter of perspective. I will trudge on with a step that keeps to the path of my own desires, my own vision, my own perspective that is heightened by my faith and trust in God. So carry on!