Last blog post I was planning a personal 30×30 challenge and here are the results. The intent was to experiment with watermedia every day, and I did a little of that, but mostly I ended up with studies for things I intend to paint again in a more considered way – those are the suburban landscapes.
The ones that are more experimental are numbers 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, and 19. There is a lot to consider in them about what worked, what didn’t, and why. Experiments are heaps of fun because they are done purely for the experience. If they end up being worth presentation, that is a rare bonus. Usually they suffer from “too muchness”. Too bright, too design-y, too incoherent, too unresolved. However, they are excellent dress rehearsals for do-overs that can take me in a bit of a different direction.
I always struggle with color because I always seem to end up going overboard even though I want to keep the color subtle. #18 and #23 are the closest to the way I want to use color right now. I’m glad that a few got close to the mark!
Number 10 has about the right amount of looseness. That is another difficult target.
There were a couple of do-overs within the 30 because I just couldn’t walk away from a motif when I missed the mark. And the one figure piece because that was the only watermedia I had worked on that day. It was included even though it didn’t really fit with the rest. Even the food court still life has more in common with the landscapes than the figure.
Putting them all together like this really helps in evaluating the individual pieces. I have got to get a wall in the studio fixed up soon so that I can view things side by side in real life!
Tomorrow I am going to start another 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. I’ve played along on a couple of these in the past, when another artist has announced a challenge and invited other people to participate. They were both really good experiences that advanced my work, and I’m glad I did them. The last one was in November of 2016, so it was almost a year ago.
So lately I have been in a bit of a rut and thought I would give myself a personal challenge. The parameters are pretty broad – the paintings just need to be watermedia. Watercolor, gouache, acrylic, ink, mixed media, whatever.
To get a little jump start, I’ve prepared some paper and panel supports. I really like starting with a surface that already has some color or marks on it for several reasons:
…I paint more loosely than when I start with a pristine white surface. This is probably related to the blank page paralysis that many people experience.
…a base tone with some texture to it gives me something to react to.
…colored paper for midtones with dark and white chalks is a classic drawing technique and a way of thinking that helps me organize my compositions.
I’m excited to get started. I have some new materials and heaps of ideas to try during the 30 days.
Thanks to curator Henry Biber for including three of my paintings in the current exhibit at the TVAA gallery, From the Mundane to the Specific. From his prospectus:
” Make the revisioning of commonplace objects worthy of display on a wall or a pedestal. A broken pot, worn old boots, antique dinnerware, the frayed arm of a chair, or a rusty part of a disassembled yard tool for example, can transform into something at home in a sphere beyond the ordinary. “
TVAA Downtown Gallery
Plaza of the Americas – Suite G-207
700 N Pearl,
Dallas, Texas 75201
So often an artist’s statement about their work contains a passage that begins “I have a passion for…..”. I’m a little jealous when I read things like that, because I have no overruling passion. It seems like absolutely everything is worthy of my attention. How do you pick and chose, how do you say no to a subject or a style of painting, that is just as attractive as any other?
I got a little insight when an artist friend posted this quote from John Cage on Facebook:
“When you start working,
Everybody is in your studio-
The art world,
And above all, your own ideas-all are there.
But as you continue painting,
They start leaving,
One by one,
And you are left completely alone.
Then if you’re lucky, even you leave.” John Cage
It’s that lucky experience of being totally in the flow that is my passion. Subject matter, medium, painting style, and all the rest, they could be anything. They could be chosen for other reasons.