GentleSoul Arts

Living a Creative Life


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Showing Up

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Since I have a quiet day at home,  I decided I’d work on a canvas that has been hanging on my painting wall for months now.  I believe it’s my last unfinished larger canvas.  I spent 2018 concentrating on urban sketching so my canvases were neglected in favor of sketchbooks.

It was a frustrating painting session. My acrylic paints are an amalgamation of tubes collected through the years.  Some may easily be 30 years old or close to it.  I went through them, maybe this time last year, and got rid of ones that were impossible to squeeze out.   I need to repeat that process.

The bottles of craft paint, most inherited from my mom when she passed, have separated and are so runny they make for a nice wash, but nothing more.  I’ll go through those paints as well.

I intuitively selected a palate, and began working the canvas.  I tried to let go and just fall into the colors but I noticed little bits of brush hairs dried into the previous layers of the paint.  Cheap chip brushes.  Why don’t I use better quality items?  All these cheap brushes are crap and I should get rid of them with the crappy dried up paints.

Uh oh…. I’m starting to slip.  I like some of the colors I mixed.  A nice brick-red that reminds me of dried blood.   I color up the happier brighter colors painted months ago with the bricky blood-red.  That should have been another sign.

I sorted out some more paint and this looked like shit.  Really, brown shit of overmixed paint.  Ugh.  Do I actually enjoy this?   If I did, why do I only paint every few months.  Is it something I want to enjoy?  Why do I paint?  What’s the point of any of it?

I put the mucky brown paint brushes into my water bucket, and grab the spray bottle to try to wipe down some of the uglier colors.   I’m not sure how but as I turned to put the spray bottle back on The Caaarrt (aka the Ikea Raskog) I knocked over the bucket of water.

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I’m done.  I’m so done.

I have the towels washing now.  I’ll take a break for a bit, and maybe grab a glass of cream sherry and I’ll spend New Years Eve cleaning out dried up paints, supplies that I have collected over the years but never used.

I showed up today, even if the end results were a minor catastrophe. I’ve learned what I want to concentrate on and what I’m ready to leave behind.  So it was worthwhile.

 


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The Muse is Back

Today I’ve been caught up in a whirlwind.  I woke up later than normal since I have the day off work.  If you can call 7am late.  I fed the puppies, made coffee and my breakfast, and began my day like normal, checking social media and getting my 3 Duolingo lessons in.  [I’m working on learning Dutch currently. A lot of my artist friends are Dutch.  I want to be Dutch in my next life.]

I shared a post on my FB artist page that Chris Zydel had posted about not feeling guilty for not making art.  After I stopped bawling [sseriously ugly cry bawling] went to my studio to do half-ass something with paint.   My puppy Vision was under my feet the whole time, so I slowed down instead of the frantic paint flinging I so often get into.  That slowing down made me really look and think about my process.

I’ve taken so many workshops. Painting Big with Connie at Dirty Footprint Studios, Visual Quest with Pixie Lighthorse, Bloom True with Flora Bowley.  I’d love to take (and a bit scared to) an in person class with Chris.  I have a feeling I’d do a lot of [good healing \crying there. Plus a lot of little 2-6 week sketchbook workshops.  Art on a smaller scale than the big canvases favored by Connie and Flora. But with all these workshops with various artists, I feel like I’ve never found my own style.   I was constantly stuck on the Image portion of Flora’s technique.  I’m not overly fond of painting faces or figures.

But oh, mixing colors. Seeing how they blend, and contact, and complement.  For me it’s the most incredible experience. I’ve loved painting backgrounds, mixing and smearing, blending and scrubbing.  Then I tried to add some images and boom – STUCK.  I hate this, this painting sucks, why am I bothering, I suck.

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I become mesmerized by the blending of these colors

I get the ‘ugly teenage phase’ of a painting, but it seemed I lived there.  I would become discouraged, seeing the finish products of friends and think if I just show up, that’s an important thing is seems no matter show shitty my art was, I’d get through it.

So today I showed up.  I don’t HAVE to paint images.  I can paint the cool or warm backgrounds, and leave it at that.  I can paint my feelings with colors and blending, not faces, or pods, or leaves, or feathers.   Looking around at other paintings I have, which I’m not fond of, I’m getting ideas of how to rework them, and I’m excited about painting for the first time in months, if not years!

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This ugly painting is getting a do-over

I want to finish one canvas today before I start reworking one with an idea I have.  I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.

Namaste.