Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Getting Back to Painting

I have had a rather long break from any kind of painting, yet I have been teaching and have been learning more about my subject matter and painting. The strange process of getting back to painting is the fact that all of the ideas and images stay somewhat intact in the mind and the inspiration although often a bit changed keeps its initial interest.

I have just sketched two paintings out that have been on my list and sketched out for the last fifteen years and suddenly I know how to sketch them and have an image that is clearer than ever before. I believe the initial inspiration begins with an image but the skills and processes might not be up to the challenge. The image sits in somewhat of a holding pattern until the skills can catch up with the inspiration. I am painting urban scenes which I have never taken further than an initial stage. I am in the process of doing quick figurative sketches in pastels-they will be finished images that will be a basis for the larger oil if warranted. I also plan on painting landscapes from my trip. I believe the pastel sketch will open the door and work out the problems that might be originally awkward, in the past I would have painted a painting and worked through the problems on the canvas. I hope with this technique I will be less overworked and the viewer will have a starting place as well as several versions of the same scene.

I have always been a night and water artist but now I am combining them. I am in the process of sketching out rain scenes where the water is reflecting rich evening lights and am also including figures in the painting as well. It is a strange feeling when a totally different style and process creates itself and a new artistic outlook is explored, which brings me to the reason for the long hiatus.

I think the artist had preconceived notions of his or her own work and when the inspiration or approach strays from the original before the skills are up to the task, the logical and creative side fight each other. Instead of the fast and furious painting that usually occurs in the process of painting the inspiration and the image tend to fight each other. The same process I had when I learned from an artistic mentor, suddenly instead of painting by reflex I was thinking of every process and the process was slowed until the mind can put the two new process together naturally. I believe painting and  creativity are reflex actions and if you have to think about what you are painting some of the magic is lost. My zone begins when I don't even remember what I have written or my hand moves across the canvas as if it knows what it needs to do. My eyes and my mind don't even control or maintain the process. There are no questions in this zone and the painting pretty much paints itself.

I have sketched out two new paintings today and am well into another night scene that I started earlier in the week. When I start back to painting it usually becomes a fast and furious process almost to make up for lost time. I am excited about this series and will continue to blog as the series progresses.

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