Friday, December 16, 2011

Turning over a new leaf. Again.

It seems I'm always coming up with some scheme of how I plan to do things differently, but then I end up limping along doing what works or just abandoning the plan.  But this time is different!  No really.  I'm just going to give myself 2 months of this and I figure I'll re-evaluate at the end of the 2 months. 

There was a point in the process of putting up all my work on the walls of the studio for the tour where I had to view my work as how others might see it.  It's an odd assortment of random images some done well, some well, kind of clumsy, but in all of them there's a consistent dedication to the 'real' image.  And this is odd, because I'm not a huge fan of realism.  It's archaic really, to slave over an image trying to reproduce something that a camera can do lickety split.  (I think this is a side effect of being married to an engineer - it's so much easier to not have to explain what the painting is of.) 

There's something beautiful about the process, a dedication to the craft, an old school stubbornness - but if I'm going to do this thing, I need to go all the way. For 2 months I'm not going to work off of photographs.  It's either still life set ups or portraits, and I'm going to discipline myself in the work of measuring and proportions.

The tricky bit about this is that when I get enough of a break from chores/kids/ect and I have the itch to paint I usually don't have much patience to prepare before I dive in.  Matter of fact the real trouble I've had lately is choosing which image to go after and committing to it rather than just changing my mind when it doesn't come together right away.  What I should probably do is set up a still life that's not going to rot if I neglect it and tackle the image from different vantage points/sizes/perspectives.  - The other catch is that I'm picky about still life set ups. 

It's amazing I manage to get anything done considering all my quirky stubborn views on this business of making art. 

What I mean about the still life set ups is that I hate to see them looking all contrived.  Ooh, I happen to have this bowl of fruit laid out on a flowing wrinkled tablecloth with a seasonal bouquet and an antique vase - poof - a painting.  I feel like a good still life should be a little slice of life, real used objects, discarded little things that are beautiful in study, but usually overlooked.  Seriously I almost did a painting of the dirty dishes in the sink soaking in soapy water, or the edge of a scrabble board in the midst of play, but the composition or the lighting didn't come together just right.  - That and my friends laughed at me.  You know, I love them enough to appreciate their opinions and still not listen to them.  I mean these are the same guys that thought I was nuts to paint steak - but one of those paintings sold.   

So what to set up for a still life?  I'm going to aim for found objects that tell some kind of a narrative together.  You might start to understand why I've used photos so much when you see how much over-think I put into this stuff. 

Anyhoo.  There's the other business of the novel.  A friend of mine has devised a great plan to finish our novels by Christmas with horrible consequences and mockery if we should fail.  Since I'm in an absolute and total denial of how close Christmas actually is, this still doesn't seem impossible to me yet.  I've been revising/re-crafting this thing for eons - If I don't push it forward to a final, final version soon I might have to reconsider how serious I am about writing.  - And that's the weird thing!  This whole time I've been telling myself that I'm a writer, who's painting at the moment.  I think my writing is much more creative and fresh than my painting - But I do what I do, and apparently my efforts lean towards where I have success.  So anyone with the hopes of reading my writing in published form should develop a dislike for my artwork.  Hmm.  But I just wrote a ton of paragraphs about painting - what does that say?