Monday, August 27, 2012

Back at the Studio

Last week was full, with too much happening, both good and bad.
I didn't get to the studio from Tuesday on.
Finally got in to work today and the pent-up week's worth of images and need to produce something resulted in a very successful day for painting.
It seems that still life images are working well for me at the moment. And they are large - 40 x 40!
The landscape may not be finished yet. I will sleep on it.

A Good Year for Peaches

Across the Great Divide

Field of August

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tai Chi and Painting

Don't quote me, but these two activities seem to have a lot in common.

Both require intense focus but a stepping back from control (or intent). Perhaps what this means is that the process is more important than the result. Or that the process is the whole of the thing, and the end result is never to be attained.

Yes, maybe that's it. Is there ever a perfect form, in Tai Chi practice or in painting?

I would say certainly not in painting.
Because as you practice, you grow and live and change, and the desired end must change with you and with your expertise as it grows with practice. It never ends.

With Tai Chi, the practice is the goal and there is never a perfect final form because there is never an end to the practice - not as long as there is life.

Gosh, I don't know...

Friday, August 24, 2012

What a difference a day makes

Wednesday was wonderful (see my last entry).
Thursday was full of work - updating my blog, website and looking through the previous day's pictures for new painting material, of which there is a lot!
Then meeting with Patti from the Frame Factory in Vienna to exchange/update the paintings she is going to move to her Alexandria location.
From there, a quick trip home to empty out my van and say hello to my sweet Felix, and off to help my friend move house.
By the time I got home at 5, it had been a full day.
Then my cat called out. He had been hit by a car but had made his way onto our lawn and waited for me to come home. He couldn't move his hind legs and was panicked and tried to drag himself away from me when I approached. But I was able to come up to him quietly and pick him up and take him to the vet who put him to sleep.
My sweet cat was 18 years old and has had a full and happy life. He was a member of a three cat family, and outlasted all the others.
Felix was one of those living creatures that is photogenic, and was the model for many of my paintings.
I miss him.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What a day!

In a week full of events and activity, yesterday was a gem.

Jackie and I went out to the Philip Carter Winery in Hume VA, to help our friend, Mark Isaacs, hang a show of his large landscape paintings. The weather was perfect, with blue skies sporting lots of clouds shifting around, and bright sunlight making all the greens and reds of the land show up brightly.

The Winery gallery is set on a hill overlooking its vineyard, with the foothills of the Appalachians in the background, and, now, a very good art show gracing its walls.

(And by the way I've always spelled 'vineyard' as 'vinyard' but I am told by these damn know-it-all machines that that spelling is 'obsolete' - the tyranny of the machines and their custodians...)

When the job was finished, we went peach picking at the Hartland Orchards just across 66 from the Winery exit. Luck! Their peach season is ending tomorrow.

Spent hours in the orchard and to and from. Came home with almost 500 pictures, some of which (maybe 10 or so) will end up becoming paintings.

Here's something I noticed while sorting through those pictures: the ones I like best for potential paintings are pictures that I don't have to adjust in any way. Every now and then one of them just has the right balance of light and dark, color and composition. These are not necessarily images that I have captured with deliberation - they are almost always accidental.

Hmmm, does the intent gets in the way, or does the eye just appreciate not having to do all the work in advance?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Virginia Beach

Being self-employed means you are never off duty.

Friday morning I will drive down to Virginia Beach with a van load of paintings to show to a new gallery in hopes of having them pick me up. My previous location, Frameworx, is closing its retail outlet for many reasons, and I want to maintain a presence in the area. I've been showing in one gallery and another for about ten years now, and haven't yet saturated the market (ha ha).

So, all loaded up and ready to go. Wish me luck.

Girl, Standing in the Sun
40 x 40

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Meaning of Life

Dear Friends,

This is what it's all about. What a story. Do take the time to watch the 60 Minutes story on the Kinshasa Symphony Orchestra that aired this evening, August 12th.
What an inspiration!

Joy in the Congo

Friday, August 10, 2012

I know it's been a while...

Not that I don't think, often, of things I would like to put on this blog, but it's the doing that is the problem, not the thinking. By the time I get around to sitting down at the computer, the thoughts have flitted away and I'm left with nothing to say.
But this time, I wrote those thoughts down!

I've been learning some Tai Chi forms for a couple of years now, and we were discussing the process. It is one of refining and perfecting each element of the overall form. Each time we do the form, we work on being better and smoother and more balanced...
The end result - a perfectly performed form - is the goal.

With painting, for me, the end result is totally different each time.

In my work, the painting must be a one-of-a-kind. It must be unique. Even the way in which it is produced is unique. I have various ways of working and tools I use, but they vary with each paintings I produce.

In other words, the goal of a good painting requires me to be endlessly innovative and flexible and to seek the unexpected. This is probably why I so enjoy painting over the top of work that doesn't quite hold up to my expectations. The underpainting always affects the new work even if only in the texture of the dried paint. But more often, the previous painting becomes part of the new one in ways I wouldn't ever be able to anticipate, much less plan.

So - 40 x 40 "In the Morning Window"