Saturday, January 18, 2014

Brush Confidence

Today's blog was originally written in 2009. Reentering my studio in October of 2013 for the first time as a full time artist after life's ups & downs I found  that rereading some of my own advice was more timely and helpful than I thought or  would ever need. Our past blogs remind us where we have been and help keep us focused on our journey.
Risky Business 2009
My natural palette is blue/brown . My usual expression relies on applied textures. Vermilion Skies was painted to challenge these habits. Surprised by the outcome,encouraged by its quick sale,I continue to grow and learn as an artist when willing to set aside that which I already know and take a risk.
I've been teaching more and more lately. I find my biggest challenge is not in teaching art principles but confidence...specifically brush confidence. I first heard reference to such a concept from Barry John Raybould. Struck by the phrase, I wondered if it applied to watercolors . It was obvious in oils and acrylics by nature of their textured and weighted stroke, but watercolor?
Yes ! Brush confidence goes beyond mere application of paint .
Large brushes used with energy, stroke broadly across a surface giving a flow of direction. Flat edged and razor- like swoops of color skitter, dry against dry and meet strokes melting wet into wet.Working large to small, building on broad shapes rather than line contour, most importantly keeping the forms simple I challenged myself to ... brush it on ..and walk away! sold

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Inevitability of Change

If you read my last post "just show up..." you'd understand that this is post is an out growth of thoughts from my work during the week. 
This  is a prime example of a what I mean  when I use the term "working artist."By showing up each day you generate a possibility of growth in your painting, and thoughts. Each day that your brush passes over a surface the imprint of your marks leads to another, accumulating your rhythms and thoughts of creativity. The self talk dialogue in a studio while alone or conversation with another artist by phone, emails, blogs,YouTube etc. open up an exchange that inevitably will show up on your canvas. 
This past week  I came across a word, a process that was a moment of ah - ha, recognition of kindred spirit and thought. Wabi-Sabi, whispered to me in my reading and then with glaring recognition I looked up at my current work and it resonated with clarity of where I had been, where a I am now and where I seem to be heading.It made perfect sense and it felt right and true to me...growth!
I sighed with relief because I realized the the visual ennui that chastised me all week was in my efforts to avoid a change that I see happening in my work. Perhaps it is only a human response but once you can name it,the fear of what it is clears a path to embracing it...leading to the inevitability of change. 
Pictured above is a current piece in process:"Fields of Gold"6"H x 6" W,  mixed media/ acrylic

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Just show up...

Part of the excitement/terror of being an artist is simply showing up in your studio each day. If you are a working artist meaning this is how you pay your rent & eat and not a hobbyist whereas your art is not a means of financial survival ( though  maybe emotional & intellectual survival),then showing up is not an option. 
That being said...sometimes you just can not get going. 
After a 4 year hiatus while my partner & I were building a restaurant/theater business, getting back into the daily routine of drawing & painting, despite my love of it, is not easy. I have, however, found an energizing way to take those first tentative steps each day. Up early for some alone time with a cup of coffee in hand, I go to my computer. No emails, no Facebook or Twitters...I view youtube. Never as before has so much research been available for artists in so many ways. From beginner "how to's" to inspiring interviews of artists  from all disciplines and levels of expertise, are readily available to teach, encourage, excite and even enrage your sense of visual imagery. I have found a tribe of artists to keep me company through out my day as my co workers and as my teachers .
Off to work I go... my latest work in raised textures on clayboard: Sea Gifts 6"H x 6"W 
available through FineLeaf