I spent hours and hours standing at the easel this weekend, determined to once again try to paint a portrait of a little boy whose photograph I took a couple years ago at the San Francisco Museum of Art. After many hours and sore feet, below is how the painting turned out:
It had a few promising phases but I just couldn’t “execute” any of them to completion. At the end of the day I gave up and saved the lovely linen canvas to reuse by painting it over with white paint.
Tonight I decided to do something in watercolor just to try to have a little fun. When I went looking for a subject to paint everything seemed tired and insipid. I think I’ve seen one too many meaningless little still lifes with a clove of garlic, a lemon slice, or an apple. I started wondering, “What’s the point?” so the pointy juicer seemed a perfect subject.
I wasn’t happy with the first (overworked) version below, so I tried it again and the second version is at the top of the post. I didn’t have an orange to juice so I made pretend orange juice with watercolor paint.
Since I’ve been in a stuck place for a couple weeks I’ve been trying to figure out what kind of artwork would bring back my creative juices. Just making pretty pictures, developing good enough technique to be able to make classical still lifes or impressionist landscapes or traditional portraits isn’t it. So I made a list of what I do enjoy:
- going out sketching with ink, watercolor and sketchbook
- painting subjects with emotional content (like the two autobiographical series I’m planning)
- painting large, getting lost in the painting, having unexpected things appear and running with them
- drawing complicated subjects or painting details in watercolor
- painting my crazy dreams
- creative thinking to come up with concepts and images based on one-word challenges like Illustration Friday offers
- painting without a lot of planning, just jumping in and seeing what happen
I was stuck on #2 because I was envisioning working with large canvases (30×40″) but thinking about the cost of the canvases and the paint to cover them, and where I’d hang them or store them if I actually made as many in the series as I intend…. and then as I was writing about this in my journal I realized the solution:
Just start! Go for it! Go wild! Play! Forget about the product and enjoy the process. So I’m going to START with the bigger of the canvases I have on hand and just keep going from there. And I’m going to get out and sketch more.