Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Paint, Brushes and a Time Clock

Alrighty, I did finally get my Number 7 done.  It was dicey, have to admit, by 10 pm tonight I was feeling a bit tired, thinking I'd rather lie down than go paint. I went to Jazzercise after supper, trying to get back on life's healthy track again, pull my head out of the paint sand and use my time for all that I need to do.  Tomorrow we sing again, ready for Brahms, ready for doing things that keep my sense of sanity balanced.  And...and paint those 30 paintings, too.  Can it be done?  Of course it can.

So here we have another tiny little painting that is from a photograph I took a few years ago in our neighbourhood, Fairfield.  I have to admit, the easiest part of this challenge is deciding what to paint.  I have so many ideas of what to paint, I doubt I'll get them all done by the time I am 125 years old, subject matter is not a problem for me. I , however, must also admit, this challenge should include working from life, now there's the REAL challenge.  Let's face it, photographs are a wonderful tool for artists to include in their art making, but a lot of the work is already done in the photograph.  The deciding how to compose the scene, the choice of colours to use, the angle and perspectives, so many problems have to be worked out when painting from life.  I wondered about setting  up a still life to work from, but then decided that I'd have to clean up the studio first, then find the right place to set it up, then the right lighting, then the "stuff" to put in the still life, then trying to keep the cats from jumping onto the still life, then, then...then it would likely be 4am and time to get some sleep, so I went photograph once again.  Maybe tomorrow I'll set up something to work from, maybe.

Last night my mind was all wrapped up in thinking about artistic style, tonight not so much about style.  I gave myself a headache thinking of all the ways we refer to art as "style", so I'm leaving that thought alone tonight.  Tonight I got myself into the time zone of what I can put down on a canvas and when the buzzer of the time clock buzzes, like that awful one in Typing 10, the brush must STOP, no ifs ands or buts, STOP!  There is a purpose to limiting our time when we paint. I remember life drawing classes years ago and the gesture drawings that had to be done in 2 and 3 minutes were my favourite.  Why? you ask, knowing how slow I am.  Well, because after the fact, after time has passed and we go back and take a look at what we drew, we could see lively lines and form we were not even aware we were doing.  Quite often, when the time is unlimited, we go over and over ( if I offend anyone, I mean only me, if anyone can relate, fine) areas, taking away lovely spontaneous and free lines that sing.  Now, I understand that I didn't understand that concept of why I wanted to make my drawing like that, that if the accidents looked nice without my understanding why, it was all pretty useless in a way.  But fast forward 33 years, and now I get it.  Don't give yourself too much time, Mary Ann, stop and maybe one day you will achieve that fresh plein air victory waiting for you.  So I stopped, and maybe tomorrow when I take a look at Number 7, I will learn something.  Eventually I will achieve that direct fresh confident plein air look.  And maybe I will even do it out there in the fields, might be dark, but I could use a dark palette, why not.

I think the best part of this challenge is the surprise.  That's the best part of art, not knowing what we will create, never mind if we can at all.  So far, so good, another day tomorrow, I wonder what it will be.

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