Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Back To My Roots

Study of Red Tulips, 8x8 Oil on Canvas, Click to Bid

​I think I may be going back to my roots.  That is lower key and quiet paintings.  While I havent posted them on Daily Paintworks I've been doing a lot of larger gallery pieces this year which have been very consuming.  So consuming that I often forget to eat lunch - which is saying a LOT.  That's right, I work straight through lunch and right up to dinner.  YOWZER! (Did I spell that right?)
But all this heavy lifting, so to speak, has me doing some "heaving thinking". 

Sometimes I wonder if I'm spinning my wheels in the studio.  Why am I really doing this??  Who am I doing it for ?  And various other philosophical questions clutter my thoughts - until I get my brushes wet.  From that point on it's pure and utter focus.  My thoughts turn to questions of hue and brush strokes and what would Richard Schmid do here?  But when the dust settles, I'm back to the age old question, what is it all for?

In an attempt to answer this deep, philosophical question, I've been throwing a few things against the wall to see what sticks.  So far, this is what I've come up with:

I live on a small farm. Why? Because my father shared his memories of his farm life as a boy then for a short period moved his family to a small farm - his roots.

As a young girl with a horse I too developed farm life memories and so convinced my husband to move us to a farm some 20+ years ago.  My roots

As an adult, I often wonder if all the work is worth it.  
  • Hay has to be cut, raked, baled and stacked.  
  • Tractors have to be maintained $$$.  
  • Water pipes in the barn have to be protected from freezing weather and repaired when they werent.. :(
  • Fields need to be cut in the off season to keep the weeds down and grass thick for better hay.
  • Outbuildings need maintenance (we need a new roof on one of our lean-to's ASAP).  
  • And that doesnt even account for the animals :  
  • A geriatric horse.  
  • Cows due to calf (while we are away no less).  
  • Goats that are like puppies on steroids.  
  • A dog who seems to search out skunks and a cat that has been here since, well, since forever.  I cant remember a time when she wasnt here.  
  • Then of course there are the critters that come around just to keep us humble:  Raccoons, opossums, rodents of all shapes and sizes and of course the afore mentioned skunks.

I've decided that it's worth it.

So what does this have to do with my art?  I'm getting to that.  I think, and I'm still percolating on this, but I think I have rural farm life in my blood.  Sure, I fantasize about living in a condo with an extra room for a studio.  NO animals and NO yard to take care of.. Certainly no outbuildings. But when I go out to feed the animals with my husband in the morning and evening, I always have an appreciation for where we live.  I love my barn.  And I love seeing the cows in the fields.  I love taking care of my aging horse. Two decades plus later and I still love it.

Still, how does this affect my art?  I'm rural deep down.  Like everyone else I've had my share of crisis and like everyone else I've had to deal.  But I've learned a lot living on a farm.  And I give some credit for my (relatively healthy) emotional status to the slow but steady pace we've adapted here.  And it's my emotional status that drives my artwork. I often see people rushing off in so many different directions.  So many priorities.  So many commitments  (all of which used to be me).  And I often wonder if I'm just lazy.  Jury is still out.  But lazy or not, it works for me.  :)   We get things done.  We try not to lag and fall to far behind lest our farm will quickly get trashy.  But we also stop to smell the roses, lilacs and my new clematis vines.  

Can you see it yet?  How it relates?  I may be reading more into it than is there but here it is:  

I relate to quiet paintings.  Less is often more.  I think (still experimenting here) I gravitate towards dominantly warm paintings over cool.  I inject quiet atmospheric backgrounds vs. active brushy backgrounds.  (I do like brushy though.  It just rarely works in my pieces).   I dont put a lot of inorganic items into my paintings anymore.  I try but it never quite works for me and I often just take it back out.  

So I dont quite know how to articulate it yet but I can tell you that while I was the only (pretty much) exclusively (can you be "pretty much exclusive"?) still life painter at the Fred Oldfield Western Show last year I felt like I finally found my tribe.  Most of these people painted horses and mountains (beautifully so) and here I was with a booth of pansies.  But I felt like we were family.  

So there it is.  My rant.  I live on a small farm and I paint quiet atmospheric paintings.  Less is more.  Stop to smell the good stuff.  Fix the fences and bake a pie.  Enjoy today because time is the one thing you cant own (I got that from Marc Cuban. Dont know where he got it).  But that doesnt mean stay busy.  It means do what counts.  :)


Mary in Umbria said...

Love your writing, Lori, as much as I love your paintings. I'm all with you on every thought expressed, beautifully expressed, here. I am - just like you - a convinced "Less is More" person.

Thanks for this inspiring post.

All the best,


Lori Twiggs said...

Mary! Thank you for your kind words. I often think I'm just blowing off steam and the only person reading my rants. :)