I have finished two paintings within four months or so which is record time for me. There are no medals given out for painting speed, it’s just better to finish them than to spend the rest of your life wondering what they might have looked like. It’s better to KNOW ENOUGH to finish them. Because trial and error will only get you so far and if you err where you need to trial and trial where you need to err….you’ll just never get anything done, that’s all.
You have to know exactly what you are about as far as the drawing as well as the placement and mixing of colors because the creation or idea realized itself is an experiment of creating something from nothing. Or creating something from sort of nothing. Or creating something from art supplies……you know, I’m an artist, not a philosopher or a writer and my IQ is only average so if I fail to explain myself properly so that you know what I mean, what can I tell you — I refuse to apologize.
But I digress…….
The first painting, Gray’s Anatomy, study, I could have sworn I posted it already. I finished it in late December and here it is. I think it’s a lovely painting — oil on paper canvas.
I traced my sketchbook drawing and transferred it onto the canvas, so the painting is roughly the size of a medium sketchbook page. To see the sketchbook drawing for this painting you can refer to my December 1, 2014 entry.
The Two of Us, acrylic on paper canvas, was finished — well, memory escapes me. Sometime in February. March?
The two of us started out as postcard sized pictures rendered in ink and colored pencil. The subject matter was a pair of Valentine’s figurines — a girl teddy bear and a boy teddy bear. I did one each of the boy teddy and the girl teddy in ink and colored pencil. I re-drew, re-inked and painted over with acrylic to make the second set more colorful.
My only intention in rendering them was to practice for accuracy of line and proportion and so forth; a bit of shading. Over time, I grew terribly fond of them — the boy teddy holding out the flowers while timidly hiding the heart balloon behind his back and the girl teddy clutching a cake of valentine shaped layers, or was it a stack of gift boxes? Was it a cake or what was in those boxes? Did the boy teddy really think the girl teddy couldn’t see the heart balloon that said “I love you” bobbing above his head ? I’ll never know, but it was amusing to ponder as I worked. I painted the heart shaped balloon with no words on it at all.
Having drawn them twice, and painted them, I felt confident enough to make a large painting of the two figures together. I set up my figurines in front of me and drew with the brush then painted onto the paper canvas. Part of the canvas was already painted in an abstract fashion. It had originally started out as some other project. As it seemed to work well as it was, I left it in as the background for The Two of Us, roughly 18″ X 24.”
I have been working small for a while now, mostly in pencil, and focusing much more on drawing than painting. I really wanted something more to show for myself, hence the gravitation towards painting and larger works.
There is no question in my mind, for me anyway, the drawing is the backbone of painting. If I can’t manage to get my proportions right, the entire painting is a waste of time from the perspective of following something through to completion. I might have had some fun mixing colors and enjoyed the feel of the brush sweeping across the surface but I haven’t learned a thing about what it takes to complete a work of art and might as well take up knitting. No offense to knitters and basket weavers, that’s all very hard work and creative as well…..you know what I mean and if you don’t, well, I can’t help you…..try thinking…..
Along with the drawing (and thinking! the whole thing is terribly taxing to one’s brain in the early learning), knowledge of color and color relationships is crucial. There’s no point mixing a lovely color only to have it disappear into your picture because you’ve set it against another color that overpowers it or is so close in value or hue that they are indistinguishable from each other. Your colors have to WORK for you. You cannot stand behind each viewer and say, “well, what I meant to do was….look, there….isn’t that a nice color? well, yes, I did have to point it out to you ………….and the drawing is a bit off, just picture the right eye a little smaller and to the left and you’ll see how cute the little doggie was…..” silly, right?
I also find that I have difficultly getting the brush sufficiently loaded with paint to actually put any paint on the canvas. A great blob looks difficult to control, so I’ll wipe some off, only to find all the paint contained in the brush. I have been experimenting with using a palette knife to put some paint roughly where I want it to go and directing and blending with the brush. I believe it was Velasquez who said “decide what size brush you need and use the brush that’s twice as large.” Scary, but I find this to be true.
I’m not fond of this whole creativity business. I like everything exactly just so (don’t mess up my refrigerator magnets or I’ll be up all night fuming) and really ought to have been a mathematician, but, well, that’s how life goes. You get born and everything goes wrong from there……
A story is a life and a life is a story and my stories have to be pictures because it’s entirely too confusing to have to relate in words. I have no real past, I barely exist in this moment and the future I am told will be short. Life is this tedious mountain of unintended emotions and miscomprehensions and general gobbledygook and twaddle all of which is hugely important yet clearly irrelevant. I’d just as soon stab myself in the eye as paint.
And yet, what captures my attention most right now and has all day, is a pet portrait. I can see from here, a painting in progress (acrylic on canvas) of a lovely Yorkie named Diesel. Even in the half light from across the room, he’s looking out at me from something of a theatrical background I’ve created for him, and we feel to be having some conversation even though I am half asleep and he is not here and I’ve only met him once or twice.
Well, thank god no one reads these posts! Well, one loyal reader :), but otherwise I think it’s for the best no one reads it, it’s totally ridiculous. If this ends up on Fresh Pressed, I promise to sue!
As to whether or not there any real world worth to painting, or art at all — just today, I was reading of a bright young fellow, started a gallery, selling his work, not a bad talent, clever at marketing, sell, sell, yes, he can sell and I commend him for that. Whilst I sit and paw and claw, chew on my own bones to do fucking what really……..except when I’m done, I wouldn’t have done anything else and wish I felt well enough to do more.
Someday I will rot in peace and that will be the end of it. I meant rest in peace, but beware, because I’m likely to haunt as I am haunted. And therein lies the art. Another time then, I’ll post again. maybe.