Saturday, June 21, 2014

artist food for thought

I've just begun reading "I Always Loved You," by Robin Oliveira - a novel about Mary Cassatt and her relationship with Edgar Degas. This thought on page 15 resonated with me:

"To fear that no matter how hard she worked, no matter how much she studied, she might lack the essential talent of seeing. For true art lay in seeing....a properly chosen palette, a true sense of proportion, an effective brushstroke: These were not gifts; these were technique, obtainable by tireless observation and practice. But sight? Sight, it seemed, was a gift from God."

I continue to focus on small still life paintings. I'm comfortable now with my oil technique but this week I changed my process a little. I'm completing the value stage and then moving on to another painting. When I get a couple more of these I'll go back to the first one and begin to add color. My reason is two-fold.

1. To let the value dry before adding color. Although this will limit my ability to remove paint back to the white surface, it will also limit my ability to remove paint when I should have left it where it was.

2. To distance myself emotionally from the composition and value stage, hopefully to approach the color work with fresh enthusiasm.

I'm always looking for ways to make better paintings. Now, the obstacle is not materials or technique but instead, my inner dialogue. Find ways to free yourself to create your best work.

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