Sunday, May 22, 2011

Back to Painting?

Years ago, I was way into painting. I took a bunch of college classes and built up a pretty good head of steam. I was painting somewhat large canvases (the one pictured  is 36x30), had placed my work in some shows, and even sold a a total stranger no less! I had gotten to a place where I was trying to merge the topics I was reading about in physics and biology texts into my art and naming them things that merged the art and science, as well. This piece was called 'Deep Sea Abstract Biogenesis'...or something like that.

I stopped painting pretty abruptly about the same time I stopped writing poetry. In general, there were a bunch of years where I simply didn't do anything creative anymore. Not entirely sure why that happened. I just didn't feel the urge to produce or communicate anything, and whenever I did try I had this feeling that the stuff I was creating was 'the same old same old'.

Over the past few week, however, I've had a return of what I can only call 'artist vision'. This is how it works: I'll be going along not thinking about anything when suddenly something very random and everyday that I see suggests a painting to me or a way to visually depict something through art. So this weekend I pulled my car out of the garage, fished my easel out of the crawl-space, took an inventory of my leftover supplies, picked up a few things I needed, made the garage into a studio, and started a canvas.

I have some ideas that I want to play with, but I veered away from them and instead did a quick sketch from my imagination of a bowl of avocados (don't ask's the color I'm after) with a Cubist sensibility to the composition. I decided to paint this 'still life' as a way to get back on the saddle. Of course, I quickly learned that it's not quite that easy. I laid down my first couple layers of color and then remembered there's that pesky need for the paint to dry or you end up mixing on the canvas with everything you add!  This was why, when I was real active, I would have two or three paintings going on at once. I'd always get started on the next ones as I finished the current project, so that while one picture was drying I would always have something else to do.

Anyway, the first layers are down.  Who knows where this will go.  I've a had a few false restarts of my creative process over the years, and this may be just another one of them. I hope that this coming weekend I can get back to it and start on the actual painting.  But no matter what, I really enjoyed the process of painting again: the loose brushstrokes, the smells, the look of the paint on my palette, mixing colors, and the way it flows on the canvas. I even used my palette knife to slather paint on, so no worries that I'll revert back to some really uptight process.  I even (almost) enjoyed the way I somehow end up with every color I use on my fingers. I had fun!

No comments: