Saturday, July 25, 2015

Searching For Surprise

This is how it all began, an effort to be fresh and spontaneous, alla prima dancer I was for the moment.  During my 30 paintings "from life" challenge I enforced upon myself (way back when), I fooled myself into believing I'd never paint anything other than "from life" ever again.  Artist's are dreamers, they believe in the moments given to them, I believe, and even though that often sets them up for disappointment, doesn't seem to stop the dreams from continuing.

SO... here is the painting before....

Before what???  you ask.  Well, before what it ended up as.... this one...

Being that I have publicly announced the sale of this finished one at Sooke, I feel a need to explain my surprise over the success of this painting.  A sale always feels like a total success, even if we never felt that the painting reached the dream envisioned by the artist.  I speak in the third person, I know I could be the only one who feels the way I do about this, but then again, maybe there are a few nutcase overthinking artists like me out there who like to know they are not alone.  Yeah, that's it, I am offering a service here, right.

Anyways, what happened after that "one punch all prima dance with this still life set up" result was, I decided it needed just a touch of glaze.  I felt somewhat victorious that I accomplished an okay fresh one go painting that I liked, well... liked as much as I can like anything I paint.  But it needed something.  And since I don't accompany myself with overly critical artist friends while painting anymore, I wasn't hearing that infamous... "leave it alone, leave it alone, leave it alone" that I once heard for many years.  I think my balking at those demands were a bit immature, I see their point now, but awe Heck, I needed to spend the next 20 years balking and doing it my way.

It wasn't long into that simple act of "just a bit of glaze" when I realized I was into another 40 act play with this painting.  Glaze was too dark, go in with impasto, too light, wait to dry and glaze, glaze too dark, more impasto, wait to dry and back in with... well... you know, that kinda thing.  And I embraced my stubborn stupidity once again, gone the dream, gone the fresh all prima feel, now I had real work to do again in trying to make my dance look easy, and not the gut wrenching labour of lost dreams it really had become.

I threw it away.  I know that because I have a photo of how it looked before.  I admit, I like the first one.  But then again, I remember how it looked in real life, and it needed something, something pushed me to work on it some more.  I wonder what that was, and why I do this.  Is it because I am afraid of change?  That could be part of it.  Or, maybe I was fooling myself into believing it didn't need improving, only to try to sign it, and couldn't.  It needed further explaining, in my mind it did anyways, and after searching for some sense of explanation, I eventually gave up and signed it, and entered it into a juried show, thinking it would get confirmation of some sort, it did, it got accepted, and it has sold.

Yes, I am sincerely surprised at that.  But now I am looking at the finished one, and I do see more mood in it than it originally had.  A feeling of rest as the day slides away into evening light.  The top one is quite unruly, a livelier version that shows my determination to be the brave dancer on a foreign stage.  Maybe that's just not me.  Maybe I was thinking it was successful because I felt like I was looking at someone else who painted it.  Maybe I don't appreciate myself. 

Whatever the self examining case may be, this is why I paint.  I never stop finding out something new.  If not about the public, about myself. 

Been a long time since I dropped some words in here, feels good to be back.

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