Wednesday, February 29, 2012

While it's drying....

"Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things."
   Edgar Degas

This is the 2nd in a series on African textiles. Don't worry if you don't 'get it', this painting is not at all finished.  I have decided to write about this while it is drying as I have a new problem here - my focal point may be changing! I was painting a very wet-into-wet background and stopped this long enough to paint the three oranges. Well, the oranges were to be 'back-up' singers, but I love them! Now, that changes everything as I fear I have made these too important for the lead singer to shine. "Well, where is the lead singer?" you might be asking....that may be part of the problem here. I hadn't decided. I loved the white parrot tulips (not yet painted) AND the African textile that is going to be entering the background.

Lesson learned - decide exactly what your focal point will be before beginning the painting. I am hearing so many teachers in my head right now "Karen, do your homework!"

Dahlia's Part II

Well, I couldn't leave this alone. I posted this painting in a previous blog (see below). I couldn't decide whether to finish the background or not, so this painting has been leaning in my studio waiting,,,,and waiting. Today I was waiting for another painting to dry and grabbed this 'leaner'. Why not?! I wasn't satisfied with that first attempt as the entire reason I painted these dahlias was the backlighting - and that first painting did not show off the backlight effect I was after. So, I stopped breathing about an hour ago, grabbed a large brush, lots of water and pigment. Here is what I have so far. What do you think? Better before? It's just paper, right???

I read this past week that FEAR is what stops most artists from progressing. Fear of ruining a perfectly good painting, fear of other's opinions, fear of so many things. Well, I DO know that without stepping out of my comfort zone in art I just keep staying at the same level. Since my goal is to keep going to another level, I am choosing to keep pushing that 'fear' button and staring it in the face.

Monday, February 20, 2012

So Where Were They Going?

This was one of those 'hop out of the car' moments for me. I was driving along the back side of the Carmel Mission and I found this pastoral setting, with a slight haze and sheep that were walking and grazing in the distance. It was surreal, peaceful. I pulled over, grabbed my camera and starting snapping away in the quiet morning sun. I don't know if this bucolic scene will ever be a painting, but I did find many moments of serenity.
Life is good.

African Orchids in progress?

This is my first in a series on African textiles and orchids. I have chosen oils and thought I would start out with a bang using a 36X36" canvas. That may have been my first mistake...

I do find it interesting and 'telling' that I am having a similar problem with this painting as I do in my other medium (watercolor). The colors are vivid. Too vivid! I see my challenge is truly to work on graying colors and  softening edges.

Many lessons learned here, the question I am having the past few days is whether to call this one and move on, or keep tweaking. At this point I am going to give this one more day of trying to gray down those spring green orchids. (For those of you who know me, I had a similar thought a few weeks ago with this same painting and I am still tweaking it). However, now I am antsy to move on to my next victim in oils!

Goal for the next painting in this series: Use perhaps only 6 colors (a warm and cool of each primary); and plan on finishing the painting within 3 sittings to keep it fresh.