Well, I’m being really “productive” (see my last post), but if I keep this up I’ll have no new paintings to show for it.
I’m embarking on a new endeavor next week when I start my painting class at the Art Students League with William Scharf. I explained to Frank O’Cain my current (and continuing) instructor that I wanted to take a longer afternoon class (3.5 hours) and start experimenting with acrylic. Scharf’s class was Frank’s recommendation.
So right now I’m in limbo. I’m excited about the new medium but nervous at the same time. And I’m a real newbie with acrylics. What I know about painting with acrylics is just enough to make me dangerous. But I think it will make some of my attempts to create abstraction and push-pull a little easier (I hope).
In the meantime, being in limbo, I’ve been looking at finished paintings, finding things wrong with them, and fixing them.
Here are two of this week’s fixes:
Nothing major, just varying the reds a little, adding more white in spots, and balancing the vase (the abstract difference at the bottom between the right and left sides wasn’t working.
Again, nothing major, but sliding the right half of the vase up was starting to feel like a gimmick and not a real attempt at abstraction. So I eliminated it.
In both cases, you can still partly see where the bottom of the vase used to be and I left them asymmetrical in any case. Afterall, I’m not trying to paint the vase (or flowers, for that matter) the way it (or they) really looked.
Oh, enough of this “productivity.” I can’t stand it. I’m going to start a new watercolor while I’m waiting for next week to come. In the meantime, I’m putting aside a few of my watercolors that I think would be easier to fix with an opaque medium like acrylic. We’ll see.
To be continued…
What does it mean to be a “productive artist?” Does it mean you paint every day? Every other day? Do you create a “painting” every day? Every week?
I learned a long time ago in business that “what gets measured gets done.” Well, that’s true in art as well as in business. So when I retired from publishing, I set the following goal: I would produce at least one painting a week, or 52 paintings a year. Notice I didn’t say “each week” which meant I allowed myself some downtime, provided I had other weeks when I would produce more than one painting. It’s been working rather well so far.
Today has been a sorta in-between day: I’ve spent most of the day fixing paintings I thought were finished. Extending a line here, softening some color there, adding white here, erasing color there, merging shapes, separating others … all in a day’s work.
Here’s one of the five paintings I “fixed.” Only 2 relatively small changes, but they make a big difference.
I may not have created a new painting, but with 5 now-improved-paintings I WAS productive.
Even though I’m not that into painting flowers, somehow I managed to create three paintings all about flowers at the end of the summer.
It started when I saw a picture of a Nicholas de Stael painting of flowers in a vase. I was looking at a bunch of vases and a lot of flowers in the still life set-up at the Art Students League and, well, why not try to make my painting look a little like de Stael’s? After a few fixes, here it is.
Emboldened by my first attempt, I decided to try again two days later…
Not to be outdone, I gave it another try two days after that with a different vase and flowers. Somehow they seem to be getting less and less abstract.
I don’t know which I like more.