Friday, February 28, 2014

rainbow dilemma

Experimenting with new colors sometimes leads to what I like to call the "circus phase."

I will think I'm being daring and edgy, lighting those shadows up with orange and blue, and then when I step back I see that I've rendered my poor daughter like a marshmallow rainbow slurpee.

When I get to this point, I marvel that I have ever been able to mix colors in any kind of harmony. You'd think it was the first time I ever saw a tube of Quinacridone Red. 

Nothing to do with that circus but paint over it:

I want to simplify my palette, flatten the surfaces, take a softer and looser approach over all. But of course I'm taking my customary circuitous route by mucking it up first.

It's like I have one idea, and the brushes have another.

I'm inclined to let it be for now. There's a spontenaiety in it that I like and it's worth preserving -- the feeling of those brushstrokes -- even if only as a stepping stone to the next piece. And a warning against further sherbet color combinations. 


Monday, February 24, 2014

composed of random

I feel like patchwork. I feel like a big, wide question.

I have the creative attention span of a flea: Always hungry. Always jumping.

I want this, I want that. I wonder, I brood, it seems like I can never settle.

I said it was an experiement, right? But then there's this inner curator who insists that NONE OF THIS STUFF MATCHES. WHO ARE YOU, ANYWAY.

So I have to trick myself into letting go. Be enthralled by that creamy jade color. Create now, curate later.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

the happiness quotient

I wish someone had told me a long time ago that happiness is not the gauge by which I measure my success.

By now I should know better, but I still expect painting to make me happy. And if, as the hours tick by, I am not happy about what I'm doing, I become unreasonably grumpy and start looking for something to blame.

I have a hard time letting things stay in an undefined, in-between state. I start most mornings with the sole motivation of pushing the paint into shapes and strokes that make me feel satisfied, finished. Happy

Usually what I end up doing, though, is a lot of fumbling and hair pulling. Wondering what to do next. Wondering why things never come out the way I plan.

I want to say, yeah this turned out ok, but you should see what I meant to do. 

I came across this quote, by Dr. Spock of all people: "The trouble with happiness is that it can't be sought directly. It is only a precious by-product of other worthwhile activities."

I need to revise my entire approach to painting: it's all experimentation, it's all practice, and any finished piece that comes out of that is a happy accident.