There was a lot going on in my studio this past week so I thought I’d give you a studio update and take a look ahead to the month of May.
RE-EVALUATING MY CURRENT PAINTING PROCESS
I’m reevaluating the pour process I’ve been doing for a while now. I love the pour part of the process, but nothing that comes after that is at all intuitive. I’ve had some success with it and I’m proud of those paintings. It was just such a battle and I dread going to my studio most days. This is not the way things should be. I love the Stephen Blackburn paintings that so inspired me, but I just can’t make it mine. So I’m experimenting with other approaches for a while. If part of it comes back (or never leaves) I will know it is mine and find a way to incorporate it. This is an excellent time to do this, as you will see later in this post.
EXPLORING DIFFERENT COMPOSITIONS
I’ve not given up on the floral series, just that particular way of painting it. This inspired the rest of my week. Looking at my poured florals I noticed, to my dismay, that I am in a compositional rut. I was so preoccupied with technique I never everything is an X composition right in the middle of the canvas. So it was time to do some exploring. First, out of curiosity, I looked at past winners of this Flowers and Gardens competition to see if there was a commonality. A painting with an unusual perspective seems to win something most years.
STEALING LIKE AN ARTIST
Then, sketchbook and a trusty Blackwing pencil in hand, I starting by looking on the internet at sites with artful photographs of flowers and gardens. Time to steal like an artist. Are you familiar with that book by Austin Kleon? I have all his books and love every one of them. Of course I have no intention of copying someone else’s work, just filling my well and triggering ideas of my own.
Kleon puts it this way “Don’t just steal the style, steal the thinking behind the style. You don’t want to look like your heros, you want to see like your heroes.”
So when I find a photo or work of art that resonates with me I ask myself why. What about this work am I attracted to? Is it the texture, colors, medium, etc? If it is, say, the texture ask how can I use more texture in my work?
Technical difficulties prevent me from sharing the video I made showing some examples of how I sole like an artist. Below is a photo from the website of the Falconhurst Estate and the composition sketch I made in my sketchbook. As you can see I’m not copying the photo, just making general composition notes that can be used for any number of paintings. I will use reference photos I have taken and create something different but inspired by this composition.
BRANDING AND SKETCHING
I’ve been working on revising my brand guidelines a quite lot this week. This means a daily litany of decisions about things like color and fonts as well defining things I often don’t think much about. Since my brand is based on me this has been a demanding and clarifying process on many levels.
I want to include hand drawn details in my on-line presence so I did some sketching. Like everything else in life it is more complicated and taking much longer than the idea in my head.
The pencil sketches are not dark enough so I got out my light pad and traced them onto another piece of paper with ink. Then I scanned the ink copy. I’m starting to feel like Goldilocks. This one is too formal. This one is too simple. Haven’t found very many just right but I’m getting closer and slowing down to sketch is rather therapeutic. (It certainly is a nice balance to struggling to figure the square yards of soil I need for my new raised garden beds.)
May is shaping up to be a very busy month in exciting ways, namely workshops. I’ve been looking forward to Louise Fletcher’s “Find Your Joy” taster course for months and it finally begins on May 20th. Given I’ve been reevaluating everything lately, this course is perfectly timed.
May 2nd marked the beginning of the third annual Virtual Art Summit. The theme this year is finding your authentic voice, again perfectly timed for someone in flux. Doing art is a solitary endeavor and the infusion of new ideas from so many artists is exhilarating. I began with my first class yesterday and it started a chain reaction in my head.
THE IMPORTANCE OF TRYING SOMETHING DIFFERENT
I began with a collage class with the wonderful collage artist Karen Stamper. I’ve never been a collage making person but the whole point is to open up to new things, so I gave it a try. My results were hardly artful, fortunately the point is the affect of the process not the end result. I expect to make lots of ugly art this month.
It forced me to try new things and think about art and design in entirely different ways. Almost always a good thing.
Afterwards I went to Karen Stamper’s Facebook page (I’ve visited her Instagram site but never her Facebook page) It was there I saw photos of figures by an artist I’d never heard of but looking at the photos sparked ideas for a number of different challenges that are on my mind right now.
TIME FOR REFLECTION
All this activity needs to be balanced with reflection and a little soul searching to get to the heart of things. That is the only way to find one’s voice. Get out of the head and into the heart. I’ve been growing and changing and I need to catch up with myself and get some clarity.
This weekend the dirt for my garden is scheduled for delivery (if it ever stops raining) so next week should be a busy one in the garden prepping and planting. I need to wrap up as much as I can this week to make room for garden time. My kitchen is getting pretty crowded with seedlings so it will be good to get that project out the door.
Have a wonderful week everyone.