Monday, April 30, 2007

a good art day

I painted today. It was a good day. Maybe it just takes time, but I'm more confident with my brushes and color, and the way I lay down the paint. My painting captured energy and life, which I always hope to do, but usually have mixed results. Hesitation always shows. Overwork shows, too. It's hard to paint with abandon when the subject is a portrait. The ever-present self-consciousness about getting likeness is so hard to shake. Likeness is critical, but I'm coming to understand it is an act of translation, not reproduction. Paint is three dimensional in comparison to a photograph, and flat in comparison to a living model. It has it's own inherent qualities. Learning to use those qualities to create a representation takes practice. It also takes aging and mellowing of skill, like wine. I've been drawing for months, with my colored pencils, and somehow I think I needed the cross-training of paint again. Like a great first work-out after a rest, this double portrait was fresh and fun.

Now I'm wondering to myself-will I be able to reproduce this experience in the next painting? I don't know. I presume I will. I plan to try to do one just for myself. I've always struggled being consistent with a look in paint. I do fine with my pencils, but paint used to elude me. I'm wanting to get practical with my work, to get out there and find jobs and galleries. So the work is critical, and consistency also is critical. At this point I have to make conscious choices about how I work. Is this my "look"? In paint my work is muscular and solid. In pencil it's more fine and controlled. Both are me. I'll probably have to find separate markets.

I'm praying about very specific direction to take with my work. I thought I had secured a large mural project, but that fell through. I'm thinking the time concentration that would have taken would drive me in the wrong direction. Who knows? But it's back to my own studio and my easel, and a life drawing class again this summer. Feels like home, and I hope finally all the work I've put into my art will reap a harvest of more work done without constraint and with joy.


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