Wednesday, April 1, 2015

To Paint Again?

Meditation on a Winter Forest
Yesterday I painted the largest painting I have ever painted. It has been years since I completed a painting, and yet I started and completed this one in a single day. I had to. I am such a mess when it comes to painting that I knew I would never get all my supplies out again and subject myself to that level of clean-up. And in this house, the only space I have to work is on our plastic draped dining room table.

I had a designated studio in our old house, which I rarely used to paint. I think I was afraid of the beige carpets. Most of the paintings I accomplished were squarely in the year 2007 and I did them in the basement painting studio of my friend Marsha while she was at work. Marsha was a high-end faux painter. I used her leftover paints on my canvases. They were luxurious paints--had this really nice tooth that made it a dream to use with a palette knife. They also had a metallic luster that took on a richness after I buffed the paintings with dark wax. The palette was limited which is what I need to work. Too many colors and I get overwhelmed. I practically hyperventilate at all the choices at an art supply store. This color palette was also practical in that it coordinated with many home interiors. I loved that paint. But it is proprietary. Only those who are certified in their faux painting techniques can use it. I have thought about taking faux painting classes just so I can use the paint, but it seemed a little extreme. I would just have to take a deep breath and go into the art supply store.

I have a fine arts degree, but it is not in painting. My major area of concentration was fibers. My minor area was metals. I took one painting class college which was in oils. These days I work in acrylic with which I am more comfortable--reaching back to my high school days when I first learned to paint. While I have an eye and can generally accomplish what I want to accomplish when I paint, it is not easy for me. A lot of times, I feel like I am winging it. I generally hold about 5 brushes in my hand and between my teeth at any given moment. My paint mixing is done all over the place and not in any organized fashion.

I have rejected taking any painting classes. I don't know what it is that I exactly need to learn so I don't know what to look for in a class. I have been perusing YouTube tutorials on setting up your paint palette, etc. I have come across a series of acrylic lessons. I think I am going to try them. I have the supplies. When we moved in here, I designated a crawl space off of our bedroom for all my blank canvases. I told Mark that if I hadn't used anything from the crawl space after five years, we could use it for something besides my canvases. Considering I went out and bought the giant canvas I used for this painting, I don't think I have yet held up my end of the bargain.

The reason I was so enthusiastic about this new painting is because I had a vision of what should go in our  revamped living room, and I knew I had to create it. I wasn't about to buy anybody else's artwork when I had what I wanted pictured so clearly in my head. I am not sure if I will be able to muster that kind of energy again. Parts of making this painting really frustrated me, and I am pretty much out of wall space in this house. If I painted again, it would have to be with the intention of selling it, and that is not the kind of pressure you want on yourself when you are restarting your engines for the first time in eight years.

But hey, I am living in an artist community. If any place can inspire your to paint, it would be hanging out with all these artists. But it also daunting. I don't want to fall flat on my face while I am surrounded by people I respect. For now, I feel good enough about the piece I just finished to showcase it in our house in a most prominent position. Maybe seeing it every day will remind me of what I can accomplish. Time will tell if my inspiration has been sparked or quelled.

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