Thursday, January 15, 2009

Window Dog (Ferrara)

7" x 5" Watercolor

Two Weeks into this blog.....
Still a struggle, still lacking the consistency and look that I had in mind. All over the board. I need to keep in mind what Keiser/ Dillard talked about, to still the chaos while taking time to examine the small things of life:

"We go through our lives with a perpetual cursory glance. We see but we don't notice. We simply aren't used to observing things firsthand, of investigating them, and I think we sense this--that we're missing something; that we have, to some degree, become spectators of our own lives. Cell phones, computers, TV, video, 24 hour news etc-- all of this information forms the visual equivalent of white noise. It is hard to see and appreciate the colors in a candle flame when it is seen against a fireworks display-- and if we are only looking for fireworks in the first place, we will not only not see the subtleties of that single flame, we won't notice the flame at all. In effect, the flame ceases to exist to us. Direct observation and the patience it requires has become less natural to us. "

I have not been taking a close view of small overlooked items, or the quiet pleasure of that investigation. This consistency, the expected sense of purpose, is missing in my daily painting blog. The nickel is slow to drop for me, but eventually it does. I've been painting this and that, telling myself that there is a consistency 1) the act of painting, and 2) in choosing a majority of subjects from my Italy photos. Unfortunately I look for the perfect photo of the perfect subject so that all I have to do is paint it. And here’s the thing: by skipping all the usual artistic decision-making in the interests of time (for daily paintings must by definition be finished paintings), I keep ciming up with paintings that don’t cut it. Huh. Go figure. If I keep on with this approach, I will just be practicing the same bad habits.

I dismissed choosing Keiser-like subjects, because too many people were already painting candy and orange slices and I wanted to be different, to stand out as an individual. Ha. Hubris is its own teacher. Drawing and painting from life has its own built-in set of parameters and accomplishments. If the subject is mundane, the challenge can instead focus more sharply on discipline and technique. And hey, looky here-- wasn' t that my stated purpose? Not to create good paintings--which endeavor is not necessarily excluded by definition, it just can’t drive the car-- but to achieve discipline and growth. I’ve been whining about not making good paintings, instead of focusing on my purpose.

It is time to shut up and try hard. Just do it. Has there ever been a better slogan? I don’t think I’ve ever gotten past this point before except by being lucky, and that was NOT the result of concerted effort to make change. Which is, after all, what this is really about.

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