Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Catching Up...

I see from my posts that it's been a week! Sorry about that. Can't even say where the time has gone other than into the heat and haze.

Have had the chance to get to know two gerbils and one dwarf hamster for a time and have now returned them to their home. Those are cute little critters! My cat is going to miss them - endless hours of entertainment and appetite whetting.

Anyway, I have taken a couple of days off work due to lack of inspiration, but my painting buddy is back in town, and I'll get back into action today.

In the meantime, here and there, I have actually managed to produce some things. Now to finish them off and choose which two to submit to The Torpedo Factory Art League landscape show in August.

Monday, July 23, 2012

How important is it...

to be able to articulate what I want to do when I paint?
Right now, I'm struggling. Each painting is an effort. It's possible that being able to speak about my goal for each painting, and perhaps describe the process by which I want to achieve that goal, would be helpful in times like these.
But would it?
When I'm on a roll, the paintings come almost effortlessly. They certainly don't require explanation or even much inspection. When they're right, they're right.
Perhaps, like everything else, each painting, each day of work, must be approached on an individual level and treated differently. I suspect that there are so many factors that go into determining what I paint and how I paint it that it would be impossible to compute, much less put into words.

Down by the River

Friday, July 20, 2012

Okay, I think it's been the heat!

Must be the heat that's been blanking me out. Just getting outside and running errands has been exhausting. I get to the studio and there's nothing! 

And this has gone on day after day.
If you know me, you will know that I am prolific. Not producing anything I like is very hard to take.

Anyway, the heat broke yesterday morning, a bit, and storms through yesterday evening helped a lot. Today, despite a dearth of image ideas, I managed to mess around with a canvas until finally, I think I've got something.

After days of heat
and air so thick
it feels like being underwater
and every step is an effort

days of this, weeks,
then finally
the distant lightning
the grumbling of its thunder

the smell
and then the rain
at last
life to the thirsty land.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sitting out the heat

Using Mark's technique of working on several things turn and turn about, I put up a piece of paper and began a mixed media (oil stick and acrylics) of a guitar player. Then canvases of landscapes. These canvases were forlorn, unsuccessful previous attempts at paintings, and this time they were successful (I think anyway at first look). See below.

So Saturday and Sunday I've been taking time off! Running around delivering paintings to Ashland on Friday. Saturday over to my brother's house to clean out the koi pond filter and feed the fish and pick up the mail. Today, Sunday, running back over there to get the envelope of mail that I'd forgotten, and just chilling at home while it breaks the 95º mark outside with what must be huge humidity - really unbearable.

Sure feels good to take time off. When you're self-employed you never really get time off unless you carve it out on purpose, which is what is happening today. Inside, in the air conditioning, is the place to be today.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

OK, New plan...

Mark Isaacs, good friend and good and prolific painter, doesn't have painting slumps.

His secret: he always has many different paintings going at the same time - different in subject and sometimes even in medium.

So JE and I are going to try his method.

Beginning today, I will paint just what I have in my head whether I know how it will work out or not. Get it out of concept and onto canvas (or paper!) and work it until I don't know what to do with it. Then go to the next interest.
So, try not to worry about finishing.
Just about doing.

Sorry - nothing new today. Just this from last week:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

On Again/Off Again

If only I could figure out what spurred me to be productive and what caused the painter's slumps. I could package it and sell it!

Slowed down now for a couple of weeks - as you will be able to tell from looking at this blog. Still working on integrating that new style with the relatively representational images I like to produce. I refuse to accept the idea that it must be one way or the other!

In the meantime, critter sitting for my brother: 2 betta fish in separate bowls, 1 dwarf hamster and 2 gerbils. Amazing what fun it is to interact with these little things. Even the fish come looking for you when you are near their bowls. Of course, I'm sure that's all to do with the possibility of getting something delicious to eat, but what does it matter what is the motivation? It's still an interaction between different species.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Watching for a storm...

A week of high heat, and tomorrow it's supposed to be 20º lower - which means a significant front coming through in a short period of time - which leads to maybe storms! So, with one eye out the window to the west, and the other on the screen, here's another installment on the 'what and how do we see' series.

If you've checked out any of my work, you know I'm not much for the photorealism school of painting. But I'm also not so very interested in the abstract. Frankly, I can't really wrap my mind around turning abstract concepts into shapes and colors. The only headway I can make with abstract work is 'I like it' or 'I don't like it'. I'm still working on that, though.

Just heard a bit of thunder in the distance.

So, I've got an image: forefront flowers (shasta daisies and purple coneflowers) middle ground a grassy drive, and background an 'a' shaped white garage. Farthest out, trees against a light sky. Left side, brick building.

How to paint this without being too picky (which just kills my paintings) or too non-representational, meaning just large blocks of color and light/dark?

What did I see in this scene that I want to communicate?

The beauty of the colors of the flowers and sky. The green of the grassy drive and the white/dark of the garage door and the silhouetted trees. But not only that.

The delicacy of the flowers. They bloom and die in such a short time. This whole scene is a moment only. Even the very next day this entire image will be different with different shadows and light and perhaps grass that has browned in the heat wave.

Tomorrow I'll try.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Heat Wave!

So, already I've missed my own mark on the 'once a day' entries. But here we go:

On Tuesday I dropped my entry hopefuls at The Art League of the Torpedo Factory and went on down to the studio.

In the studio by 11 am, and it was hot, hot, hot! But I got two fans going, and in the North West corner of the building I don't get direct sun until much later in the day. Even with those advantages, two hours later I called it quits, put away the paints, and headed for home.

Before I got anywhere near, I changed my mind and went on over to the Greenspring Park in Annandale. If you haven't been there yet, you should definitely give it a visit. My main reason for going was that they have art shows regularly, and I wanted to see the work of Penny McGrath, an artist who has taught some of my good artist friends in the area.

The show is well worth going to see. It is an hommage to Queen Anne's Lace.

Along the way, I walked through the park, beginning with a walk past two large ponds, with a stream running past on the other side of the pathway. The path led up into the woods that fill much of that part of the park.

Of course, I was taking pictures along the way.

With the heat glaring down from the sky, the overwhelming impression of the wooded park was of coolness. The trees are huge! I had forgotten how very large trees can get - we manage them into lesser significance everywhere. These trees towered. The shade they cast was deep. A breeze blew through the shade.

On the one side, cleared land with a path and the sun beating down unobstructed. The air felt as if it were escaping an oven.
On the other side, the shade of the trees and a breeze that cooled.

Temperature difference at least 10º.

How can anyone dispute humanity's contribution to global warming? What is the percentage of forest that we have scraped off the face of the Earth? What is the percentage of asphalt and tar that we spread around everywhere?


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

After the Storm

Many thanks to Dominion Power in Northern Virginia. They got our power back on Saturday afternoon, and that is the longest period (about 12 hours) that we have ever been without power.

Thanks Dominion people - you're the best!

Maintaining a blog is a lot harder than I thought it would be when I determined to begin keeping one - sort of like a journal, but not private. Of course, I've never been able to keep up with a journal either.

Anyway, new(ish) plan: I will try to make an entry once a day. To start with, I will try for the mornings, before I leave for the studio. This will be the time I had once designated for running (as much success there as with the journal). I do love running, but getting myself out of the house in the morning has proved to be impossible.

So, turn that time over to the blogging, and aim to go running on the treadmill at the gym later in the afternoon.

How's that for a plan?

Here's Looking at You