Thursday, June 28, 2012

Feeling Down, Moving Forward and Sketching

Sketchbook page

Had a bit of a tough time after my last painting. I always fall in to a kind of funk when completing a painting. Don't know if its because I'm thinking, 'What am I going to do now that this is done', or I had higher hopes for the finished painting and am not satisfied with the end result. I always end up with a mix feeling because I can except some improvements in the work but still see things I could've done better.  The most I get personally is that the finished work is a move forward.

So why paint if its so difficult to do? I believe that doing anything to the best of ones abilities is the hardest thing an individual can do and it should be a life time pursuit.Win or lose you give the thing your max effort and the end result is something to grow on.
Sketchbook page

I also found that the best way to work myself out of this funk is to begin sketching in my sketchbook. I really enjoy the time spent sketching and I never feel disappointed by the time spent, only in not being able to spend more time.

Sketchbook page

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Another Painting, Another Struggle, Another Victory

I know its been a little while since I've posted. I've been working on the watercolor on the left. The image is actually a detail of the finished painting which is done on 18" X 24" Arches 140 lb. Cold Pressed watercolor paper. I only had about a couple of hours a day to work on it so it took me awhile to finish.

 Although not entirely happy with the finish I still feel its more than I've done before. The size was more of a challenge to work in especially to arrange all the elements in the painting. All the figures come from different photos which I took at Zuccotti Park during the Occupy Wall Street Demonstrations. I used about four separate photos for the central figure alone. The bag on the lower right is my own bag which I painted in because I thought I needed to place something in that lower right corner.

The painting bellow it is a study I did in my sketch book of the main figure.
During the time I was painting this picture I read an account of how Turner
painted a watecolor ,
"he began by pouring wet paint on the paper till it was saturated, he tore, he scratched, he scrabbled at it in a kind of frenzy and the whole thing was chaos - but gradually and as if by magic the lovely ship, with all its exquisite minutia, came into being ..." 

I would love to have that much command of the medium. Maybe someday. This painting was a struggle most of the way, several times I wanted to give up on it, but then I remembered another quote about the medium-
"In watercolor, if you are not in trouble, then you're in trouble."  (Selma Blackburn)

Struggling with painting is a good thing. Growth comes from three things:
1- Challenge yourself to do more, hence the struggle.
2- Having the discipline to stay with it and see it through.
3- Being persistent and continuing on to the next painting
However small the victory is in the final painting it is still a victory. Growth will come over time. Keep in mind to out do the thing you did last and learn from other artists.

In my struggle with this painting I used other painting tools besides my brushes. I used an old tooth brush to scrub out areas and make corrections, (who says there are no second chances in watercolor). I also used an Xacto knife to scrap out whites. I've used these tools before but I did so more often in this painting.