As I mentioned in a post, I recently read “Brave Intuitive Painting” by Flora S Bowley and decided to take a couple of canvases that were sitting around my studio unfinished to play with. The first (Shiny Medals) started out as a birch tree composition and the second (Intuition) was a yellow background I’d started for another painting and then decided to go in a different direction. The idea behind intuitive painting is to follow your gut and just put paint where you feel it should go. It was an interesting process and very freeing – so much of the work that I do requires some precision, and this was about instinct. I really enjoyed making the paintings, but I had to sit with each of them for a couple of days until I was sure that they were finished. I put together a composite of Shiny Medals in progress as it took a while and I tried to get images in most stages, while Intuition came together much faster. I will definitely continue with method of painting, along with the other type of work I love to do.
So, I decided to be brave and put my art out there for others to judge. Last weekend, one of towns near to where I live was celebrating their migration festival and as part of the festivities, they hold an annual art and photo contest. I saw the show last year and thought, I could probably do that and had promptly forgotten about it until a couple weeks ago when I saw the signs for the show.
So I decided to put myself out there and make some art for the show. The challenge for me was not sharing my art and having it judged (I’ve come to terms with the fact that everyone has their own taste and opinions and that’s a good thing.) but to actually get some paintings completed. I now realize that I was fighting the flu during the time I should have been painting, so I was only able to complete one of the pieces that I was hoping to do. Since the festival is framed around Canada Goose migration, that was a no brainer to paint. I searched and found a sketch from 10 years ago that I had done in the park – and that was the leaping off point for the piece.
I had a vision of a goose standing in a beautiful fall field, with lovely golds and oranges, sprinkled with hints of white, red and purple – reflecting goldenrods, asters and the changing colours of the fall leaves.
I was happy with the result. It feels like a warm fire on a bright, cold fall evening.
I had fully intended to complete another painting, but with my work schedule (yes, I have a real job too – that I also love) and being sick, I just didn’t have the energy to get it right. I have a great start on the painting and I’m sure it will be something that will be used in the future
I’ve been inspired by art nouveau paintings and wondered how I could start to incorporate this feel into paintings that are based in nature. I’ve started some experiments and and this great blue heron piece is one of them. It may not be obvious in this painting, but this is where the spark started…
Now, back to the actually art show – I didn’t get this piece finished – it’s still sitting the in studio, hopefully to be tackled tonight. I had paid for two pieces and fortunately one of my owl pieces fit the criteria for entry into the show. All pieces had to be a North American migratory bird. And really, who doesn’t like owls – it seemed like a safe bet and it actually took a prize in the competition. And the winner (at least the Peleegirl winner) is….
Not all things go as planned seems to have been the theme for the last week of my life. Internet was down for several days, dealt with terrible customer service trying to get said internet back up and running…work was really busy and artistically, everything was either taking much longer than anticipated, or just wasn’t working the way I wanted to.
So, what’s a girl to do – take a deep breath, assess the situation and move forward. Here are couple cases in point. I decided to tackle a bunch of paintings yesterday that I had pen work completed on and thought I’d start with the backgrounds.
When I started with the Barred Owl, I was really thinking a crimson background would be really impactful. So, I went with it, let it dry and when I was getting ready to start painting, I just wasn’t feeling it. I took a step back and tried to visualize where I wanted the painting to go and decided that a green background was going to work better. And I went with it – happily, the end product was what I’d hoped it would be.
With that painting under my belt, I decided that I would move on to the Short-eared Owl painting. I’d worked on a lovely cerulean blue background that I was really happy with, but when I looked at the actual pen work and subject I was about to paint, I still wasn’t happy with it. I’d been struggling with the sketch from the beginning and never felt I’d really got the proportions and jizz of the bird right.
I had two choices, either plough ahead and finish what I’d started or go back to the drawing board. This time, I scrapped the entire project and went right back to the sketching phase again. I found a new reference photo and pose for the bird that I was much happier with. The image was transferred to the gesso original board (there is some satisfaction in covering up something you are really unhappy with) and the pen work is complete and ready for paint.
Lessons learned – trust your instincts and be patient. Sometimes it’s going to take longer to get the project completed than you’d hoped, but if you take time, step back and assess and follow your gut, you’ll end up with a product that makes you happy.