Thursday, October 11, 2007

The learning curve

The learning curve is sharp and treacherous around here. Here's Tully's.

She was sliding down of the couch. Face first in a kind of push up position, in the loving arms of her daddy no less when the last bit of her weight fell wrong on her finger and it dislocated the finger and broke it. Lesson learned? Don't point at the floor you're about to land on, it knows you're coming, and pointing is rude.

My most vivid memory of this whole thing was the twenty second silent scream as she ran over to me. Eric and I were laughing, counting to see when the wind up would be done and the real scream would start when I looked down and saw her finger mangled or crumpled just wrong. 'Get your shoes we're going to the hospital' was all I had to say and we were up and out in three minutes. It's nice to know we can actually get out of the house that fast when we need to, and the kids were great about pulling together as a team and trying to make her feel better along the drive. She had stopped screaming before she was even buckled. I just told her we were going to take her to a doctor who was going to fix it and she just said okay. We had a pretty good idea it was dislocated though and I didn't bother to tell her how that fixing was going to work. We spent most of the drive making jokes about where she was pointing. When we were first checking in at the triage she held her hand up to the nurse and said 'fix it please?' So sweet and pitiful. Keeping a 2 year olds cast clean and dry is really incredibly hard. I learned afterwards that they have waterproof casts now, but that insurance doesn't usually cover it. Next time -if there is a next time for any of them, I'm going to splurge and get that.

Here's my learning curve.

I began, enjoyed and finished my portrait class since I last wrote here and it went really well. I was frustrated at first because the guy has a very tight style and I was sort of chafing against it, but it really helped to solidify some of my views about what I want to create and how I want to do it. I've also identified the areas I need to work on with portraits. It's amazing to understand my process better and know where to take it. There is this weird feeling of being lost, then finding my way, then getting lost again and having to work back to where I was. I need to make my darks darker -trying to maintain the skin tone that I know is there has compromised that. I need to block in the shadows and shapes better, I need to start with a stronger sketch, but I also want to work to create a looser feel to my work, leaving more of what is there just suggested. All and all it was time well spent. The teacher also told me that my work was a little like Lucian Freud, so I looked him up and learned a fair bit from his style. Of these three paintings, my favorite is the third smaller one of just the eyes. I had worked the portrait of the blond as much as I could and with 45 minutes left in the class I whipped out this little canvas I had in my box and set in to do a study of the eyes. Working fast forces me to take chances before I have time to doubt myself and the results are always a surprise.

I'm in the process of revamping the whole shop and that should be up in a few days. I'm moving away from prints and I'm going to just sell the originals. Etsy is really swamped with prints lately and though I think it's a great medium for some of the graphic work and illustration artists that I admire, it just doesn't translate oil paint well. I might goof around with some computer painting programs and make prints of those, and I'll still offer prints for people that can't commit to a painting. I think I've been clinging too much to past success holding on to all these old paintings and I know that I've got better stuff ahead of me so it's time to clean house. Besides, with a print the buyer still has to buy a frame or mat and with these paintings most of them will be ready to hang without a frame. I'll put my manifesto about the evils of framing in a future post. Meanwhile enjoy the falling fall.