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Friday, August 02, 2019

Process, Process, Process...

...oh, and learning.  The two most important things in my practice...and possibly, not giving up.  I bought some canvas boards to paint on some time ago, and they've been waiting for me to be brave enough to use one.  Today was the day.  I approached it the same way as I've approached the smaller works, and decided to use a table easel.  I bought one several years ago, when I first got ME, thinking that I'd be unable to stand long enough to paint, so... The jury is out.  I couldn't work on the board vertically, because it hurt my arms to do so.  Fine, I turned the board round.  And then, having applied the paint, I thought....that's awful.  So, given it was lunchtime, I stopped painting and had intended to leave it for a a day or so... well, that didn't happen.  I went back into the studio to have a look at it and really is awful.  So, rather than binning it, which was tempting, I thought about what it was that was wrong with it.  Reader, I was trying too hard.  Instead of relaxing and letting things happen, I let my head get in the way, constantly thinking, instead of just going with the flow.  Structure wasn't right, either. The result?  Flat painting, no movement, too dark... you get the drift... but at least I knew what to do about it.

I should have taken a photo at that point, but I didn't.... so here's one about half way through redoing the green section.  It's not obvious from this, but I've extended that section significantly, and lightened things up... more interesting brush strokes, giving a bit of movement... sorry, lousy image, light behind the canvas isn't helpful, but it was the only place I could put it. 

 You can see the difference in tone and movement between the area I've worked on and that lower left hand, darker section... not quite chalk and cheese but... And then I worked on that middle section...

I'm still not convinced, but it's an improvement to some extent...the real thing looks better than the image.  And that's as far as I can go, until I can get some more paint: I've run out of the darker blues I want to incorporate in this, so no more for now.  What is particularly interesting, though, is that I'm not particularly enjoying working with acrylics.  When I started painting, some twenty years or so ago, I worked with acrylics, but switched to oils on the suggestion of my painting mentor.   Apparently it has ruined me for acrylics altogether, except for working on fabric, and possibly monoprinting.  Fortunately, I've been given some water based oils to try, so I'll make a couple of smaller pieces and see how I get on with them. 

I don't think this is going to be a piece I hang on my wall...or even keep...but I'm learning a great deal from it.  I suspect I'll paint over it, it's still not working for me.  Pieces like this can be discouraging if you let them.  It helps if you bear in mind that subsequent pieces will be improved by the learning you get from the process.  And at least I can paint over it until I'm happy.