29 August 2010

Just a Day in Myakka

Yesterday I had the opportunity to be out in Myakka for just a day to talk to a group about my work along with a few other Florida artists. It was a fun opportunity, not something I've had much chance to do and it was good practice! I even had time to do this little sketch in a field. All in all a great productive day.
I realize that I don't always engage people in talking about my work. Maybe if someone comes by the house/studio and asks I will tell them where something was painted, but then it sort of stops there. Why am I so shy about really engaging people in a dialogue about my work?
Maybe I'm not sure what to say really. I end up talking about technical things, like how something is painted, with what palette, etc. But often times avoid the why.
WHY I paint something is not always the easy question to answer, and one I've been grappling with for awhile as I attempt to write a "brilliant" artists' statement in order to apply to galleries.
The why seems just too simple. Really, something about the light and arrangement of lights and darks catches my eye. If not that then it's the mood of something. That's it really, and I fear that this is just too simple and maybe superficial, not deep and meaningful enough. I enjoy painting, even when I feel like there's so far for me to go in the learning process. Now I don't always enjoy it and struggle sometimes, but I've committed myself to the process, to stick it out and see where I go with it.
As a child I didn't draw or paint much really, no more than the average kid. I loved to make things from clay, make and illustrate books and even the occasional splatter painting was too much fun. Now it's become something serious that one needs to master and be brilliant at, and honestly I'm a little intimidated. This leaves me always questioning myself (but it doesn't stop me from working..) and dwelling in the why.
Maybe the exploration is why enough to paint. After all, isn't life just a journey to be explored?

16 August 2010

A Little Inspiration

Today called for something different and to get back in touch with why I love painting. I was sitting in the studio feeling a little lackluster really, and was staring at my brush cleaner sitting on this journal.
I've been teaching a few drawing lessons lately, and they've been so good to get me back to basics and to practice drawing more myself. Drawing and I have a rocky history. The first "realistic" drawing I did in school, I spent hours slaving away at getting it right. When done I marched over proudly to the teacher to show her my masterpiece, only for her to inform me that it really wasn't very good and I could try again another time. (yikes!)
Crushed, I never really spent time drawing after that until I became a painting major in college. Then there was no way out of or around it, we relentlessly submitted ourselves to drawing.
As soon as I could figure out how to wield paint and a brush I left drawing behind, fumbling with my blobs of color. But I didn't mind, I liked the mushy texture of paint and wasn't concerned about the drawing.
In teaching drawing and seeing others struggle with the basics, I remembered my struggle (ongoing by the way) and have so much appreciation and gratitude for the hours that I have and will put in. The thing about drawing is that it can be painful at first until we learn to appreciate it and let ourselves be humbled by our clumsiness and try and try again, there's just no shortcut, all there is is practice.
And today, for the first time in a long time, I reveled in the practice of drawing.

13 August 2010

Rejection, Stuck, I Think We're Making Progress Here

I've had an interesting day: I got rejected from a gallery, got to this point with this painting and got stuck, found out I need to retake all the photos of current paintings, and my car broke down, yikes! (hence rejection and stuck). All of this put together could have left me in a big funk. Now, I'm not gonna lie, all of this DID leave me in a funk for awhile this morning. But when I stopped to think about it I realized that I'm really just facing challenges and growing pains, and that could be exciting, it means that things (mainly life) are happening and it's picking up the pace daily.
I've gotten away from the Alaska paintings for a few weeks, distracting myself with little fun projects like a couple of smaller commissions (which I love) and am now coming back to finish up for the show in October. Where next with this painting? I'm not quite sure, but more work with the foreground and the grass and the red house. I thought from the beginning that this was a "no go" because of the red being in the center of the composition, but actually it's just starting to catch my interest.

08 August 2010

Out of the Loop

Here's a picture from a day spent painting in Montauk on Long Island. I haven't posted anything for awhile, I was visiting family and then painting on Long Island last week and just got back to Orlando in time for a bbq party, rough life!
I had a new and exciting experience on Long Island, where I had never been before. I was only there a few days, but we had good weather (lots of hot haze at times) and got some good painting in.
I realized that of all the times I've been to the beach, I've never actually painted there, so I gave it a shot this time and made this simple sketch. I liked the idea of keeping these big simple spaces, since that is the beauty of going to the ocean for me; no crowds here and just wide open sky, sand and sea. Simple.

I've been thinking a lot lately about my work and how I paint and I want to start exploring new things. So this sketch, although simple counts for me as a new exploration. I'm looking forward to seeing what I come up with next back here in Orlando!