Life Changing Weekend, 4 Dogs Commission - Day 1, The Freedom of Direct Painting
First thing I want to start off with is that I had a super transformative weekend that I will share more information about very soon! It really requires its own blog post so stay tuned for that.
With all these good feelings, I started day 1 of painting a portrait commission, which is quite a portrait to undertake. It's a portrait of 4 very regal looking dogs which is the most dogs I've painted in a single painting; I sort of feel like I'm painting The Night Watch of dogs haha. (Of course I'm joking with that). So I've spent some solid time planning it out and sketching it and I feel very good about its beginning.
I've always felt that the painters I admire the most were the most direct painters. There's no "magic" or smoke and mirrors of technique to rely on. It's just straight there, nothing else. Maybe I've reached this point because I have indeed tried many layered techniques of painting. But the problem always was that I felt like I was paying more attention to the technique than the subject matter.
The technique is merely a way to convey your image and, for me, I want the viewer to feel the direct presence and realism of these dogs or whatever I'm painting. I know there's an infinite number of paths to take which can make it confusing, but I think the best way to paint is just be completely in the moment and almost listen for guidance. Think of the guidance coming from something beyond yourself. Listen for the muse.
Have great week everyone.
Inspired Candlestick Painting, Current Limited Palette, Nothing Fancy, Just Paint
I just did a new painting of a candlestick, very much inspired by a painting that I love called Candelabra with Roses by John Singer Sargent. The amount of beauty that Sargent was able to capture in such a simple and quick scene is just crazy to me. I wish I could ask Sargent some questions about his philosophy of painting!
For this painting (and for the foreseeable future), I used a really straightforward palette:
-Cadmium Yellow Light
-Cadmium Yellow Medium
-Cadmium Red Light
-Cadmium Red Medium
Aside from a few colors, this is the palette that I was using while as a student at the Pennsylvania Academy. So I guess to go forwards in finding myself again, I'm going backwards and focusing more on simplicity. No techniques, nothing fancy, no special way of doing it. I just want to focus on painting and teaching for now and listening to my own inner voice.
The Advantage of Using Cheap Canvas, Painting Outside Again! - "Grapefruit Tree Vase"
I picked up and toned a bunch of cheap acrylic primed canvases a few weeks ago and I'm finding that they're really helping me alleviate the pressure of making a painting. I highly recommend anyone who's going through some artist block to pick up a large pack of canvases and just have fun. Of course, I prefer an oil ground linen (preferably Fredrix 125 DP Kent) but I feel a certain amount of anxiety that comes with painting on a really nice canvas. I want it to be perfect and then it inevitably ends up way too timid and far from perfect and.
I don't feel this pressure when I use cheaper materials, I feel more confident because it feels like what do I have to lose? I try to remember that my supplies are meant to be used and saving paint won't do me any good.
Some things I've been thinking about recently: It's hitting me really hard recently how important it is for me to paint and draw from life and create work just for me. It's probably the most important thing for me to do. The other thing I've been thinking a lot about recently is focusing intensely on my teaching. I was just given an incredible teaching opportunity and I want to do the best possible job I can. I don't want any extraneous things and I need some things to be just for me.
I'm also reading some books (The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle and Power Vs. Force by Dr. David R. Hawkins) that are making me think about my own perceptions. It's all just stuff that I'm going through and I need to do it on my own and with those I love and who love me. I feel at a crucial point in my journey. I'll always be sharing some thoughts on this blog but I'll mostly be focusing on myself.