Thursday, April 7, 2011

We kissed and made up...

The best part about fighting with ones art is the make-up painting. I love painting in all sorts of mediums but water media and oils are my favorite.   Oils smell so good, are messy, smooshy & gooshy.  Watercolor is a seductive but harsh mistress. Like water itself it is at once soft yet can also be punishing.  I've worked on whole paintings only to blow it at the end with a big splop of color that drops in exactly the wrong place while in transit across the sheet. When I'm having an argument with one medium I move to another for a while and this winter my oils and I fought like crazy. I never made so many bad paintings in a row, panicked I wondered is it over with oils?  Not only did we fight but not being able to do the work I had planned on doing created a serious block...frozen, locked out, unloved. I cleaned up my painting area, put all my tubes away and we did not speak to each other for months.  I pouted for a bit then said, F it, I'm going back to the basics - drawing - and was revived, refreshed.  I draw all the time and think it is the most important aspect of art but admit that it's always been a step on the road to a painting and in doing so I've ended up with some drawings that didn't need to go anywhere else, they said everything already.  So I decided to focus on just drawing.  There's a little bit of shame in admitting that I have no real memory of doing a still life. I enjoy seeing them but have no desire to paint another bowl of fruit or bunch of flowers.  But if I could do flowers, fruits, table views like Christine Lafuente who's still life work knocks me out every time, or Stuart Shils, or Lucy Mac Gillis I'd be crazy happy. Since oils and I weren't speaking there was not going to be any color and I wasn't going to use watercolor either - that snub will surely cost me at some point.  So I turned to pen, pencil but didn't like the lines they seemed weak and I wanted bold, big, one stroke shapes, forms - happy to report it worked.  Buoyed by my success, refreshed from working with another medium, feeling strong again I had ideas for more oils.  I opened the drawer of paint tubes, we stared at each other.  I picked up my old friend yellow ochre, gave it a little squeeze and wondered if we were back on track...I started slow.  Just ground painting at first - let that dry.  Bring out a few more tubes and the next day I was painting, Spring was in the air, birds singing all was good again.  

No matter what kind of relationship one is in, it can't be forced or controlled and it's always a painful, heartbreaking lesson if one tries to do that.  

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