Self isolation day 181.
I have two new series in production now. My usual inspiration route is to make a word sketch and then decide what to include in my still life paintings that will get the idea or message across to the viewer. I have a new series I call "The Signs" which uses this routine. But I also have another series started wherein I used a different inspiration which is highly unusual for me. I was inspired by a tube of paint color. I'm not usually inspired by any particular color - I love to paint with them all equally. But if inspired by a color it is usually a challenge like...do a red painting, or this works well for this subject matter. This was different. I first saw the color on a FaceBook post (you've seen them - the "guess what color" posts). But it stopped me in my tracks. This was it! It was the answer. If you paint you will know what I mean; you have something socked away but can't decide on the best way to produce it. "Hmmm, this would be better poured", or "That's not good enough. I'll hold onto it and use it later." So I ordered some of this paint, and I am happy to say I was not wrong. I have revisited some ideas I had only produced in miniature and thought they weren't good enough for a full-on painting. Now I am on my fourth painting and it has not failed to meet my expectations yet. So remember to keep your mind receptive. Don't just look; learn to see the possibilities. Back to my brushes.
"In creating, the only hard thing is to begin: a grass blade's no easier to make than an oak." - James Russell Lowell
Self-isolation day 147. I have finished another painting! I cannot put into words the measure of joy I feel at finishing this particular painting. I have wanted to paint this subject since 2012. I have tried on three separate occasions to do it, but although they were "okay" I was not satisfied with the results. I tried in 2013. I tried in 2016. I tried in 2018. I considered them each to be failures and set flame to them. I figured now was a good time to try again. To be honest, I had no reason to believe that it would be successful this time but decided to try again anyway. I chose to make it a little larger than a standard half-sheet this time, use a different paper, use different techniques, and switch up my palette. I considered that a failure wouldn't feel quite so devastating if I didn't waste so much on the cost of supplies. It was a straight-up gamble. I played it with the failures at the front and center of my thoughts. Let's be clear, that is a hard way to start anything; but it is a good way to move forward since I knew what I wasn't going to do. I focused on this painting solely for over a month. There were times I wanted to rush a segment but successfully tethered my anxieties and persevered. Let me be candid that it wasn't till near the end did I feel any confidence about this painting. When I thought it was complete I set it aside and did something else. I found myself picking it up and working on it about five times a day for the next three days. Finally I decided enough is enough - it is done. I signed it and took it off the board. What did I learn? Sometimes you just have to give yourself the time to mature and grow as an artist. I accept that my ideas will not always succeed. When you analyze your own failures the point is to rethink the equation and try again. The pivotal unknown is how much time that will take. So I am happy this particular painting was only eight years in the making. Cheers! Back to my brushes.
"Experience does not err. Only your judgements err by expecting from her what is not in her power." - Leonardo Da Vinci
I just wanted to take a moment to let you all know that you can take a virtual tour of the Watercolor USA 2020 exhibit at the Springfield Art Museum. Press the following link and you can enjoy the exhibit from your own living room! For those of us in self-isolation, (Day 124), this is a real treat. Link to Virtual Tour. Just use the arrows on your screen to virtually maneuver through the museum. Enjoy! Back to my brushes.
""I have chosen to create things that can make people's everyday life richer and more beautiful." - Bjorn Wiinblad
Something I really enjoy doing is taking the time to get my paint well-mixed. Yes, I have said before that it is a rather zen-like occupation. But, let me take a moment and share that the best way I have found to add water to paint in the wells on my palette. It is by using this: A condiment bottle. Yep, spend a whole whopping 99 cents and purchase one of these see-through bottles. Fill it with distilled water and voila! - the best money you will spend on supplies for the foreseeable future. Let me share that many years ago I started with a spray bottle. My own experience is that it was messy and inconsistent...not enough control, therefore I was not satisfied. I moved on to a small squeeze bottle that I found at a local craft store. Much better, but the size was too small. It only held enough fluid to go around the wells one time before I had to refill it. So one summer I was standing in the check out line at the grocery store and noticed a see-through condiment bottle. Not red, not yellow, but clear. It is perfection. I hope you will give it a try and you find it enjoyable too. Now go mix up some color. Back to my brushes.
"Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions." - Pablo Picasso
Yes, that moment. The one every watercolorist loves. It just delights your eyes and sends tingles up your spine. It is just so beautiful and out of control. Yup, that moment when the paper has been prepped for that touch of color...and it takes off going who-knows-where. It is such a delight to the eyes and mind. It is one of the reasons you choose this medium. The surprise of watching your painting do its own thing. So on Self-Isolation Day 105 thought I would spend a moment just writing about the beauty in my life. Back to my brushes.
"I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of beauty." - Edgar Allen Poe
I have been working on a small painting which I completed yesterday! Hooray! I titled it Seeking Tranquility , which is rather self explanatory. (It is 2020 after all). So now I have the opportunity to start another small one while I work on a larger one. I have about six ideas I would like to test out, so I'll pick one and see how it goes. One I tried previously seven years ago and just couldn't pull it together, so that idea is definitely in the running. The weather here has improved and we have enjoyed some sunny days for a wonderful change. Hot, but just beautiful and sunny. As far as the coronavirus goes our numbers here continue to rise. Few people here will wear a mask, so I must remain at home. I'm sending a shout-out to Cynthia who left a comment on my last post. Sounds like she has a great system for storing her art supplies! I always enjoy hearing how other people store all this stuff. And thanks for the encouragement too. Sounds like you and I are in the same boat...just different places. I will be sure to post the link as soon as I am aware of it. Back to my brushes.
"Normal is an illusion. What is normal to the spider is chaos to the fly." - Morticia Addams.
I am still dealing with a hurt back, but recovering slowly. So I haven't been painting for the past week. We have had some sunshine, that was a pleasant change. But even with that, the ground is still saturated. Luckily, tropical storm Cristobal didn't impact our area too much...just clouded, rained a little, and blew away. So, pandemic-wise numbers are worse here, unsurprisingly, but on the upside my cooking has improved! AND we got yeast!!! Yes, bread is comfort food. That's it for today, I can't sit here anymore. Back to my brushes soon.
"The clean tongue, the clear head and the bright eye are birthrights of each day." - William Osler
I'm pleased to share that my painting Nature's Tools has been accepted in the National Watercolor Society's 100th International Open Exhibition! My thanks to the judges of selection: Katherine Chang Liu, Dean Mitchell, and John Salminen. This on-line exhibit runs from October 1, 2020 through January 30th, 2021. The ARTSPAN online gallery sales will open the same day. Back to my brushes.
"Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement." - Golda Meir
The newest thing in my life... I hurt my back and have been laying in bed as a result. On the bright side, that gave me a perfect opportunity to watch InArte Fabriano 2020 on YouTube which has been terrific! I enjoyed watching the online conference specifically. Not only did I enjoy seeing their faces, I liked the discussion. I look forward to watching more of the demos today. Look for the silver lining (there is a song in there somewhere). I am almost finished with a new full-size painting that I have taken-on specifically for my youngest, but will have to put off finishing it until my back recovers. It has turned out surprisingly well considering the subject matter. But there is always that point where I am ready to move on to the next painting but the current one isn't quite finished. I guess that happens to everyone? If I did more than one painting at a time I would never finish a painting. Is it boredom or anticipation? I'm guessing a bit of both. This current piece is pretty much a two-color painting again. I am not a fan. I like the result, (more importantly they like the result) but the drudgery of it just wears me down. I'll think about that tomorrow.
I think the highlight most recently has been that we got more yeast for making bread!!! That was a moment. Apparently in other parts of the state it is not an issue, but here - good luck. It has continued to rain as well, and that is wearisome. But focusing on good things I can recommend some books I have finished: Fool by Christopher Moore. I have never been disappointed by Moore; Euphoria by Lily King. Spoiler alert - the ending is sad; Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. I think this is the perfect time for this book; Still Lives by Maria Hummel. Art and mystery is my favorite combo; The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. I enjoyed the weaving of culture and story, very enjoyable. And some quick little mysteries The Curse of Braeburn Castle, The Black Cat Murders, and Murder at Melrose Court all by Karen Baugh Menuhin. Enjoyable, fast, and most importantly for me - some levity. Back to my brushes (hopefully tomorrow).
"He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying." - Nietzsche
I'm pleased to share that my painting The Nature of Tools has received an "Award of Excellence" at Watercolor USA 2020! My thanks to the judge Misa Jeffereis, Assistant Curator at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, and the Watercolor USA Honor Society board members Sandra Schaffer and Carole Hennessy for this honor. The exhibit plans to be open for the exhibit beginning June 6th, but I understand they are planning a virtual experience as well. A closing reception is planned for August 14th at 5:30 p.m. Visit the Springfield Art Museum for more information regarding public health concerns. Congratulations to all the award winners and exhibitioners! Back to my brushes.
"Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each others eyes for an instant?" - Henry David Thoreau