Monday, January 27, 2014

Surprises Outside

Today the mist outside made it feel like autumn.  I have given up worrying about what number I am on. I was looking outside wondering what day it is, what day tomorrow will be, what I have to do, you know...important things.  I looked at all my January efforts for the 30/30 Challenge and recalled how I thought about each of them, how fast I wanted to paint, how much I wanted to prove something.  Now, 20 paintings/efforts/studies/stints later, I know that was the wrong approach all together.  I don't care what number I am on, I only care about what gets me to the easel.  In all honesty, it never has been a race to keep up, I only feel like I am behind when I see on Facebook how others are happy to be up to date, not behind, relaxed to not be behind.  THEN, I feel like I must be really behind because I am only on 20 and they just posted number 26.  Is that the main thing we are to get out of this challenge?..just making those numbers?  Maybe.  Or, is this like our own individual perspectives as artists, it means different things to each of us?

I know I can do one of these quick efforts every day.  The physical ability is there, I know I can.  But, around Number 12, I discovered something I hadn't felt in many years.  I felt a different attitude about getting to the easel to paint something.  It was like a trap door I left shut ages ago because I didn't have time to explore those ideas.  Once I stopped following those ideas, and just painted what I felt I should paint, the ideas stopped.  I have spent thousands of hours and cents on photos to use for my landscapes, ones that I love to paint, but really had closed the door to being extra inventive.  I'm not saying I don't feel inventive when I do my landscapes, they take me on some wild journeys to unexpected results.  But they are a routine, another one part of a series, another painting to fill in where others have left.  This challenge has brought me back to thinking outside of the cliche box, beyond the predictable, the "I wonder if"s that pushed me to go excitedly to paint that idea.  And to look back through "stuff" I left alone years ago when I regularly went through that trap door.  Almost every one of the 20 has been from an old photo, or old sketch, or another idea I left on the shelf to gather dust.  It's been so much fun to go back and rediscover all those wonderful things that made me challenge myself, see if I can, see if it works.

Now, as for the above painting, pretty ordinary, spring collection of daffs and tulips.  Again, it was a sketch on a canvas board I left on the shelf.  I dusted it off, and put the paint on where I wanted it.  Is it a good composition?  Not really.  The daffodil looks like a bull's eye.  But, then again, it has something in it for me.  It reminds me of my kids being young, springtime coming, baseball beginning, family vacations, a newly cut lawn, the neighbourhood in the spring, kids laughing amid the sound of the buzz of lawnmowers.  It's another self portrait, my world, my heart, only this time, it's a bit prettier.

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