Monday, July 30, 2012

Blueberries #2

Blueberries #2, 6x6 oil on canvas.
I used to be on the board of a local non profit art organization.  My original interest in it was purely selfish.  I had a new found interest (or rather a re discovered interest following my youngest child entering school) in painting and wanted to meet others of like mind.  It was very effective.  At the first meeting I attended I met several artists of various mediums.  I was truly inspired and motivated. 

I enjoyed being around them all.  We discussed art in a multitude of arenas including the fundraising for the organization which included an annual auction, an art show/festival and a few miscellaneous other ploys.  It was creativity the way I remembered it.  I began using the right side of my brain again.  Thinking outside the box.  Problem solving.  It was great!   Plus, I had the added luxury of gleaning from my new artist friends everything they knew about their mediums along with stimulating conversations revolving around art.

Last January I resigned from the board, not because of any ill feelings.  Quite the opposite.  But because I had to make a decision as to how to spend my time.  Being on the board meant volunteering once a week (for me anyway) at the gallery, meetings at least once a month and then any grunt work that was needed for our activities.  That really bit into my personal painting time.  I felt that if I wanted to continue to grow as an artist, I had to dedicate more time to painting.  Cant get better just thinking about it, can I?  So I turned in my resignation, vowed to keep in touch and parted to my studio.  My lonely studio.  Love it but it's quiet.  Turns out, I'm a people person.

I think most of us are people persons (people people??).  I was just discussing with a friend who was frustrated that her husband isnt giving her the support/inspiration she needs.  I  am lucky that my husband is starting to see the mystery and excitement in art but I realize that we dont all have that support system at home.  My advice to her is to seek out others that relate to her passion.  Find someone she wants to emulate.  A role model.  We all need role models.  We all have them whether we realize  it or not.  Some are not great role models yet we spend so much time with them.   Then we take their advice wonder why we seem to be spinning our wheels.    Seek out your superheros.  The people who are living the life you want to live.  Or at least pursuing the life you want to live. Whether it's a comfortable pace of Sunday painting just for grins or an intense passion to absorb every last bit of info on your medium and for each new painting to outshine the last, find a like minded companion.  Or two.  Treat them well.  They are your friends, mentors, colleagues.  You have the same goals or at least similar goals.  Chances are good that they will appreciate having you around as well!  :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bowl of Blueberries

Bowl O' Berries, 6x6 oil on canvas.
This is the painting I was working on for the studio tour in May.  In reality the bowl had some detail that I left out due to time constraints.   As it turns out, I think it was for the best.  The extra texture may have competed with the blueberries and reflections.

Occasionally, I forget about the big picture and get caught up in the details.  I was just having this discussion with another artist yesterday.  He was saying how, after doing an impressionism piece, how much more difficult it is than realism.  I agree.  Keeping your focus on your original concept in the spirit of impressionism means eliminating many unnecessary details.  Which ones do we keep?  The ones that enhance our concept of course!  The others are implied or eliminated all together.  Sounds simple enough yet when in the zone I tend to see every little nuance and detail and begin to mindlessly transfer them to the canvas - ARG!  Fortunately, I am catching myself more often now and relating only what needs to be said.  Finally!  Growth!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Papaya #2, 6x6 oil on canvas.
So this little painting has even more movement than the last one illustrated, in my opinion, by the vertical brushstrokes.  I like it.  The first challenge was getting the variations of colors without muddying.  Mission accomplished.  :)   I'm happy too with the background and foreground color.  That is an never ending challenge for me. 

 And that's what it's about, right?  The push and pull of challenges?  So today I will be approaching a a painting that has been sitting on the easel since Friday.  My challenge is to pull it together with the concept I had originally intended for it.  Or is it???  

I had somehow strayed from that original concept and fell into what seems to be my norm.  My signature.  I pushed the light instinctively into familiar areas and backed off in particular areas and the end result was one of familiarity.  How did that happen?  I had an idea.  I pursued it.  I spent time laying out the composition.  Adjusting the light.  Saying mantras like, " the quiet surf rolled gently onto the shore..".  But apparently, whatever was being said in the back corners of my mind seized control of the whole afternoon's work and re defined the warms & cools, lights & darks,  the concept.  I didnt see that coming. 

But that's what day 2 is for.  So my choice is:
1)    Re-establish my original concept or
2)    Go with it and let the painting paint itself

The painting above painted itself.  I'm inclined to go there.  Because it's easier.  And fun.  That's not to say it lacks challenges.  But instinct has  a way of, well, taking charge.  So I can sit back and think I'm working out problems when, in fact, there is a background Lori actually calling all the shots. 

So for the painting on the easel, I have some choices to make.  But I cant dismiss all the info I've gleaned from the last few books and DVD's I've studied and now have the curiosity to explore.  Falling back into my comfort zone will not promote growth.  That said, the painting on the easel may not be the place for that growth.  I'm expecting a 20 pack of canvas to arrive today via UPS.  Perhaps the growth will happen on one of those.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Papaya #1 6x6 oil on canvas.  
Static?  Can a 6x6 or any square canvas have movement?  This is a more recent observation of mine. Not that static is a bad thing, I guess, just an observation.  Creating a sense of movement on a 6x6 may prove challenging however, after spending some time looking over some of my favorite painters works I see it's not only possible but an integral part of many great compositions.  Besides, what's the point of locking myself in my studio if I dont have a challenge to consider?  
In this painting I do see movement in the edges and reflections.  Also the way the grapes come slightly forward.  I think I could have added even more movement by giving a slight turn to the papaya or even setting it farther back. But I'm happy with this result.  I think it's both somber and punchy if that's even possible.  I'm also particularly happy with the edges and brushwork.  I must have been in a rare mood when I painted it. 

 Moods are iffy for me these days.  I've tried a variety of genres of music while painting but I think what it boils down to is what seems to be always pressing in the back of my mind.  Some days I can distract myself but some days it simply lingers and there's no escaping -- I have the honor of acting as executrix of my mothers estate.  She died in March.  I was with her.  Sadly, those images are the ones I remember the most.

My responsibilities in that matter will be winding up soon and once again I will be reinventing Lori Twiggs.  Whoever that is.  I've had alot of reinventing to do in the last few years.  Anyone who has had to parent their parents can relate - you know who you are.  This should wind up that era.  Put it behind me.  Move forward.  Be productive.  I know it can be done since I've seen so many others do it.  Lose some one close to them and then go on with their lives. 

There is a secret they dont want you to know:  It's a lot harder than it looks.  How can I go on with my life when my life will never be the same? I had a job.. with a title:  Power of Attorney.  I complained a lot but the fact remains, it defined me for the last 6 years.  It was my job to see to it that my mother was cared for.  That her needs were met, physically and emotionally. I ran her errands, bought her clothes, toiletries, ensures.  I paid her visits and told her I loved her.  I gave her hugs and rubbed her delicate little arm.  I answered calls from the facility where she lived and I came in to be with her as she died.   But afterwords,  I was informed, rather coolly by the funeral home, that I was relieved of my duties at the time of death.  Little did they know I was promoted to Executrix.  Mooo haaa haaa!  Jokes on me.

But that title wont last either.  Sometime before fall I will be relieved of that duty as well. 
Who will I be after that? 

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Clem & Grapes, 6x6 oil on canvas.  Bid on eBay.

My little creamer is once again starring a role in this little 6x6.  Getting a little crazy with my edges these days and lovin' it!  Finally feeling independent enough to really let go and get into that part of the brain that takes over -- commonly referred to as " THE ZONE".   What a great place to be.  Sure, I've been there before.  But it's becoming a regular hang out for me these days.  My stompin' grounds, if you will.  My "high".   Some of you know what I'm talking about...

I am learning so much that I will reiterate what I'm sure I've said before: The more I know, the more I know I dont know.

I may also paraphrase a quote from the movie Bagger Vance regarding golf but also applies to painting:  It is not a game to be won but a game to be played.  
Now that pretty much sums it up.   You'll have to see the move to actually hear the quote.  I'm sure I miss phrased it but the essence is true.  

I think that is the best part of this game.   It's not about winning although there are contests.  It's more about the doing.  Getting there.  And what happens in that block of time.  It's about the focus or lack there of.  Confidence - or lack there of..  Sensitivity... or lack there of... 

I dont know much (anything) about golf but I get the feeling it's a similar dance to painting.   We have a goal (idea, vision, concept) , get our heads in the game, block out the world and become the vision.  If we lose site of our idea or concept, everything falls apart.  The very definition of not staying focused. 

Sometimes the ball ends up int he sand trap.  Now it's a game of problem solving.  I may ask, why isnt this painting working?  I can draw from the vast info I've gained from the vast books I've read  and vast instructional DVD's I've watched and hopefully see where I've veered off.  Select the correct club to swish myself back onto the green and viola!  I'm back in the game!  A metaphor, of course.  

Keeping my head in the game IS the game.   It's not a game to be won... it's a game to be played.