Saturday, 19 December 2015

Getting out of a creative funk

My apologies for not posting on the weekend. It appears that a cold/flu can stifle creativity and affect motivation. Add travels to that and it definitely doesn't help productivity.

This week's setback: For a few weeks I was corresponding with a lady moving to Italy who was interested in a couple of my larger pieces. We agreed to two pieces, price and payment method. I waited a few weeks to receive her tracking # for the money order which never came. I followed up but there was no response. It was difficult not going into a place of self doubt and questioning. Did she just change her mind and didn't have the courtesy to let me know? Did something happen? Or, was it too good to be true and the whole thing was a scam. In the latter case, should I just be thankful I was careful and nothing bad came of it? May never know... the solution to the questioning - forget about it and keep working. Easier said that done some days.

Last week I started thinking about and sketching out two new paintings. The first one is a 30"x36" of a deer that makes herself at home in my garden and under the trampoline. May as well make something good out of that garden wrecker. I have just begun the painting process and find myself unmotivated to tackle it right now. May be the underlying hostility toward that 'outwardly' adorable creature is affecting the flow.

I also decided to do a small, detailed 8"x8" close-up of a peacock feather. The idea came from a visit to the BC Wildlife Park (in Kamloops) on the way home from a family excursion to Drumheller last year. This one particular male peacock not only strutted and displayed for the females, he was happy to show off for anyone willing to pay him attention. It provided many photo ops and I was taken in by the vibrant colours and tiny details on each and every feather. Quite a challenge.

Perhaps it is a good thing that I don't think about what is involved or how challenging a specific subject matter might be to paint. If I did, I might never challenge myself and miss out on opportunities for growth. 'What was I thinking' usually occurs to me when I am fully committed to the piece and I HATE not finishing things. Hope it carries me through this one.

Thought this morning: The creative activity should be motivated by the sheer delight of creating (and not solely based on the outcome). Paint on...

Sunday, 6 December 2015

This week's progress

I started painting with oils around age 10 (a long time ago...). In university I worked in the studio in oils but the ventilation wasn't particularly good and the others complained about the fumes. So, I started experimenting with acrylics and have been using acrylics ever since. A few months ago I started getting frustrated with my acrylics drying too fast, despite using a couple of different slowing agents. Thank you dry, dry, Cariboo. I decided to try oils again.

My first large oil turned out quite well and I enjoyed the ease of blending. "Hey", 24"x24", oil on canvas. Idea came from a discussion of next year's theme for the Cariboo Artist Guild summer show.

This week I also decided to work an old 9"x12" picture of my daughter playing at the beach when she was a toddler. It didn't turn out the first time so I thought I would try again with oils. The result was still disappointing because I ignored some basic principles of art - one of the main ones being not to put the object right in the middle of the canvas. I like it for sentimental reasons but might just scrap this one...

It is a good thing we learn more from the challenges than from those works that go smoothly.

I have also been working on a 24"x24" acrylic of a cabbage. It was slow going, accomplishing not much more than a petal or two at a time. It is a good thing I am goal oriented, because there was little inspiration to motivate this one. It seemed like a good idea at the beginning but struggled with the process and wanting to try something different from my usual style. Regardless of the process, I was very happy to finally finish and see the end product. Thank you discipline. How much better will it be when I find that much desired inspiration again?

Two more in the "q" but that will be a surprise for next post...

Saturday, 28 November 2015

The new art blog begins

On advice from some art associates I respect, I have decided to start an art blog. As a introspective, introverted type, this will certainly be a new adventure in the world of promoting my art and sharing thoughts on the creative process. A new adventure begins.
Thoughts this morning as I read Timothy Keller's book Every Good Endeavor as he talks about J.R.R. Tolkien's less know writing called Leaf by Niggle. Note to find a copy and read. It is about an artist nearing the end of his life and ambitiously starts a massive painting only to paint one leaf.

"Everyone wants to be successful rather than forgotten, and everyone wants to make a difference in this life. But that is beyond the control of any of us."

Why is it so hard to accept this truth that so much of what I desire in art is completely out of my control and dependent on others. Some days I am so happy just having time to create but other days the human desire to achieve a small amount of success and apppreciation rears its head and takes away the joy of the process.

Also thought about the new Special K commercial that states almost every woman has a body hate moment every day. I would like to use the same wisdom to battle art discouragement. What if we ignored those things beyond our control, focused on the things we can change and just told that voice to "shut up". Like that a LOT.

Final quote taken from an OPUS newsletter. "If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent van Gogh. Was that before or after he cut off his ear?

Friday, 27 November 2015

November 27th - a few pink petals

Today I worked on a small project for a friend at work and attempted to paint a few new pedals on on the current project - a cabbage plant (24"x 24" acrylic on canvas - a really big flower according to my husband). Thought to catch it in its beauty before it shrivels up in the -20 weather outside. So glad to finally be adding a new colour after a few weeks of painting off white pedals and grey shadows.

Have to admit it is difficult to focus while my daughter is playing on the computer (and very verbal throughout). Wonder how many artists have the luxury of separation from the domestic sphere or a separate work space to actually focus for any period of time...

Happy with my little side project and the few pink petals emerging today. Oh yeah, and proud to have figured out how to set up a blog.

No epiphanies today to make for exciting writing but tomorrow is a new day...