Time to ponder and reflect is time well-spent

Triptych - 1 - ProvenceTriptych - 2&3- ProvenceFinding the time to write my blog has been tricky lately. Sometimes life just happens. Also, I’ve been rethinking the way I approach my art blog. I’m hoping to be able to share something that is more interesting than talking about the weather –although my painting is often influenced by the weather. I’d like to find a way to inspire you with some knowledge about art that I can impart, like a recent development or discovery in my approach or technique. Something that will contribute to your painting experience and mine.

 

One thing I’ve been doing lately is thinking about my approach to painting and the techniques I use to get to where I’m trying to go. Life has sort of been taking me on a ride lately, that doesn’t allow much time to actually put my brush to the canvas. But in my mind, I’m often working on the next step. This is normal. One thing I’ve learned about painting over the years is that half of the process of painting is the mental visualization you put into it before you actually pick up a brush. I’m in the middle of completing a triptych oil painting I started last year, and even though the canvases are covered with paint and the image is developed, I’m still visualizing what it will look like when I’m done with it. It’s a commissioned work, so I really want the completed painting to be right! As it stands now, I feel that the image is too literal. What I mean by that is not that it looks realistic and it’s also not impressionistic, which is my aim. There are some things I like about it, and some things I’m not yet pleased with. I don’t want it to look like a cartoon, and when I look it now, that’s what it reminds me of – like the sidewalk drawings in Mary Poppins. So, I’m planning the next steps to take to turn it around, because my intention is to create an impressionistic painting. To achieve this, I plan to soften the edges and add contrasting colors throughout the open spaces with an impasto layer. By adding oranges into the blues, purples into the greens, greens into the reds, etc. I will unify the overall color scheme, adding texture and dabs of light. Some of the areas of the painting are already taking shape in that way. I think because the overall size of the work is quite large, it has forced me to cover large areas with color, too much solid color, which seems to breaks up the continuity of the impressionistic style of brush work I want to achieve.

I’m glad I took this opportunity to express my thoughts about technique and plan the next steps I need to take with my current painting. Now, when I finally have the time to get going on it again, I can approach the work with clarity and make each brush stroke count!

Winter is best served with Christmas

It’s time for Christmas, to just warm up by the firelight, with a cup of hot cocoa or glass of red wine. But not until all the shopping, and wrapping, and cleaning and decorating is finished for the day. I look around my living room and see ornament boxes, wrapping paper, half-finished decoration trails and a mix of slippers on the floor, blankets on the couch, and newspaper advertisements stacked on the table just waiting for the coupons to be clipped. It’s kind of scary to think I need to finish up all this shopping for personalized gifts, get them all wrapped, clean up all the paper messes, bake cookies and pies, and have it all ready in a week before family comes over to eat, drink and be merry. Then we will all unwrap gifts, and when everyone leaves, I will be left to clean up afterwards.

But when I look at the beautiful Christmas tree standing in the corner, with twinkly little lights, and smell the cookies baking, and slip into my cozy slippers, all the heaviness of the chaos seems to dissipate and the spirit of Christmas ~ the joy, the love, and the hope ~ takes on a new life of it’s own. The joy of seeing loved ones and sharing our hopes and dreams. With Christ in my heart, the worry and stress seems to vanish.

The commissioned oil painting (triptych) that I’ve been working on up until a week ago, when it suddenly hit me that I need to prepare for Christmas, is on hold. But it is coming along – slowly. I will once again work earnestly on it in the new year. It has been an interesting experience working on large canvases (30″ x 40″) – all three simultaneously. Oil painting is a slow process, because oils dry slowely.  Plus, my studio space this time of year is generally quite chilly.  I open the doors and turn the heat on when I get ready to paint, and it warms up nicely. But in the meantime, it’s chilly. Oil paints take much longer to dry when it’s cold than they would on a warm summer day with the windows open. So, this painting may take a while to take shape at this rate. But luckily, I’m patient, and the client who requested the painting is not in rush to have it finished.  I will reveal photos of the painting when it’s farther along.

For the month of December 2015, enjoy the season, no matter how you celebrate it, but remember to keep Christ in Christmas!  He is a friend and helper in times of need, and He is the Savior of the world. And the world needs that more than ever!  Rejoice! Hope springs eternal.