Sunday, September 21, 2014

The first day of the creative spring

Cannas_from the Cape San Blas Series

I have been walking around in somewhat of a daize as of late. Ideas come in bits of clips, it’s almost like trying to build a house when all you have are screws and a couple of wooden boards-nothing materializes but the parts seem to overwhelm you. I should be patient by now having gone through this process for so many years but it seems the older I get the more profound and extreme the stages seem to be.

I have played with multiple ideas and images in my mind, stories and poems need to be written out in notes just to keep the initial inspiration but nothing gels. I have actually recently walked into my studio after insisting I was going to paint this  particular weekend and when I am faced with empty canvases or even canvases well on their way to something I stare vacantly with nothing there. I even try to rotate a canvas out for another and switch to pastel but then end is always the same-NOTHING.

I can even force myself through and get to that point of pushing paint around but it is like painting with no instructions. I have compared it to someone painting by numbers and suddenly all the lines and numbers disappear. Than there are days like yesterday-a painting that sat there staring back with discontent and suddenly we are on the same page again-or canvas. I almost equate the canvas like a teen that can’t explain what is bothering them and suddenly we have that cathartic talk and not only do I know what the problem is now I have a way to solve it.

Urban Sunset
I sat in front of four paintings for short bursts of time and than suddenly within hours I have several different clarified paths that actually seem to be heading in a great direction. The problem with the creative process is that tomorrow they can all seem like disasters-it’s almost like the creative eye opens and you can see the details that the logical eye seems unable or unwilling to connect. Suddenly the big blob of paint becomes the shadow that instinctively knew where it needed to fill and the form that seemed so cryptic previously lends itself to the correct perspective and the right hues and values. I am about to go in and paint again-not only has this weekend brought lots of painting but my words are actually falling off the page as well-in the creative realm it rains or it shines but oh when it shines it really seems more brilliant than  anything in comparison.

Carmens' Delicious Catering: Food as Art, Art as Food

Carmen’s Delicious Catering has this as a tag line for their product, it comes from the fact that during the process of the business becoming what it is today she had lots of interactions with artists such as the pilchuck glass school. In truth cooking in the hands of a passionate artist heightens simple food to the essence of a work of art.

Consider the cook as a painter only their palette has even more colors than the artist, their colors are the many flavors they weave together much like a painting-each flavor supporting or interacting with the other. The wonderful thing about food is beyond just the flavor there is texture, presentation and aromas-when done correctly the simple meal touches all parts of the senses even further than the two dimensional canvas.

The secondary dimension of food is much like the flavors in wine, the fact that you don’t only see, smell and taste-you experience. Food becomes the tradition; the amazing memory-it attaches itself to places and people.  Food reminds us of our relatives, it brings back conversation and a sense of tradition.

Food colors our vacations, our travels to far off places and instills itself in culture and tradition, Which brings us to another of carmens’ tag lines-Bringing people together through food-it is often the centerpiece for good times. It complements our celebrations and brings comfort to our difficult times, it is the warm soup after shoveling snow, and it is the cool ice tea and bowl of fruit in the heat of summer.  Speaking of the bowl of fruit, how many artists have painted the still life and showed us how food is art and art in response is food.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Still Life Painting-Memory versus Setup

I have never been much for the still life-I tend to paint landscapes, seascapes, anything nature oriented but recently because of Carmen’s’Delicious Caterings’ food as art and art as food tag line-the first of many still life became a necessary project.

It’s hard to paint on demand, for me anyway-I either feels it or not. The first painting was of a still life of an August picnic, complete with watermelon-kind of the centerpiece, grapes, tomatoes, peppers and the corn on the cob to finish off the picnic. I set up the still life on a wooden board and stared at it intently with nothing moving. It was one of the hardest paintings because it just didn’t do anything for me. I had the basic idea of the sky and the warm greens in the background and the foreground seemed to just lie there. All I can say is through discipline I found a place between capturing the still life as it is and weaving in my own feeling of the late August picnic seemed to fight against each other-logic and simple rendering fight as it always does with the creative and the figurative idea of the day. This is what I paint, even in the landscape-I rarely paint the place, it’s more the feeling of the place and usually when the logical rendering becomes stronger than the feeling of the place it seems colder to me.

The second in the series is an autumn gathering of pumpkins, squash and a cornucopia of good colors and flavors. Again the feeling of the sky was the first things that really jumped out at me and the under painting seemed to capture it so perfectly that it jump started the next step. This time I did not set up a still life-I gathered images and relied more on memory. The sudden and rich flow of paint seemed to surprise me. The painting pretty much did itself. The colors of autumn work so well against each other and the fact that I love the cool answer to summers’ heat seems evident in the way the painting took shape-also I must admit that the previous painting was done during a time of great creative block and this second in the series is at the beginning of the unraveling of my creative slump. Several other paintings began to take shape at the same time, but even still I weigh the difference between painting from passion and memory versus painting a set up still life and for me the memory works better than the real thing.