Monday, May 14, 2012
What Do I Really Want to Paint?
I painted and am writing this on Mother's Day, but this will be posted on Monday. I already had a post today. I need one for tomorrow. Not the greatest painting, but I am wanting to show you some of my learning process.
Daily PaintWorks, a website I love, posts a challenge each Saturday. This week's challenge is "Yellow." Hence, the yellow lamp painting. I am no way going to post this on Daily PaintWorks, but I thought it would be good to get into the spirit ot the challenge. This lamp has a certain eerie glow (especially in the base) when light shines on it that I tried to capture and don't think quite made it. Oh well. Being that it's my lamp, I can always try again. In fact, this is the second time I've tried to paint it.
I started my Painting Shadows and Light class with Lorelle Bacon on Wednesday. I was the only student there...which will work out nicely in terms of getting my learning needs met, but I forfeit getting to meet some new local artist friends.
Lorelle wants me to do my paintings faster, like keep it to an hour and time myself. She also wants me to try mixing with my palette knife instead of my brush. My brush tends to get gunked up with lots of paint. So, today I worked on both challenges. I ended up cheating and giving myself an extra 20 minutes, and I also ended up resuming my mixing with my brush when I saw the clock ticking. Mixing with the knife I found very awkward. I find the brush more efficient. With the palette knife, I have to keep changing my implement--knife to brush to knife to brush. I ended up using the knife for mixing in my right hand and kept my painting brush in my left hand (I'm left-handed). I finally reverted to my brush-clogging ways after awhile.
Next time I paint, I'm going to do what Lorelle said and stop after an hour, whether I am finished or not. She assures me that I will get faster. I think the lesson will only work if I follow it! I'll practice with my palette knife, too.
If you haven't already checked out Lorelle's site, I urge you to click on her name in the right column of this blog. She is great at so many mediums and just had a piece accepted into an international scratchboard competition! Amazing woman.
When I set out to paint, I certainly didn't intend to paint lamps. As one of my sisters said in a comment earlier in the blog, I didn't even think I liked looking at still life paintings. When I discovered the Daily PaintWorks website, that all changed. Not all the artists on that site do still life, but many do. And many are fantastic (these artists create works of great beauty out of the simplest household objects). I love looking at that site. I aspire to be on that site. And since membership is open, I can choose to be anytime I think I am ready. So far, I am not. I feel I should join at such time as I am consistently satisfied with my paintings.
I do love painting the still lifes and all I am learning from them. However, what I really yearn for is to paint people. Not portraits or even necessarily capturing a likeness. I want to paint "slices of life" with people engaged in daily living--paintings that would cause the viewer to feel that familiar "yes, this is how life is" feeling.
When I put people in my paintings, I feel totally different. I feel as if the painting has come alive. I think I even breathe differently. I know that landscapes are also full of life and I have painted many landscapes, but there is something that is just different for me about painting people.
Now, generally, people do not hold still for long when you want to paint them. You have to either pay them to hold still, cajole them to hold still, or work from photographs. Painting from photographs is very difficult if you don't really know what you are doing, because the photograph creates certain distortions and simply cannot show color to the artist the way the eyes can. Lorelle said she is going to show me how to work from photos and adjust for the problems they create. If I can learn to work with photos, I will be one step closer to being able to paint what I really want to paint!
(Hey, long post...thanks if you are still reading. I guess having people in my post yesterday got me going.)