Sunday, January 16, 2011

Moving Forward

In the spirit of last week's post (where've I been, where'm I going?), I'm going to share a couple of images that I thought were done. I've even gone so far as to post them here recently for the world to see. However, after not having had them on my easel for a couple of weeks, I decided that, nope, there were still some things that needed tweaking.
This actually happens a lot. I don't know if it's the excitement of the creative process or the brain's ability to edit what we see to what we desire to see, but oftentimes a painting needs some breathing room and a fresh eye before it can be declared "finis!". What looks lovely and complete on Monday will sometimes look a bit unkempt by Friday. This sort of hide and seek can go on for several days or even weeks. It's just part of the process.  ( A painter I admire immensely shared with me that his wife will not allow his paintings to be hung in their own home because he keeps taking them off the wall to finish them - again.)

This pastel painting was "finished" a couple of weeks ago.  As you can see, I even wrapped it with a border and copyright notice. 
Yesterday I was straightening up my studio (no comments please) and looked at it one more time.  The delight and pleasure I'd hoped to  experience just wasn't there anymore, and that's not a good feeling to have.  Back onto the easel it went.
(Aside - when people ask how long a painting takes, it's hard to explain that alot of the work that goes into a painting involves thinking about it, staring at it, ignoring it and more thinking about it. I painted a delightful landscape that took 6 years - s i x  y e a r s - to finish, and it was only 6 inches by 8 inches! But ooh, baby, when it was done, it was finis!)

©2011 Patricia Scarborough Foxtail Winter, 9x12 pastel
The changes I made were subtle but important.  Deepening some colors, a few visible strokes in the right places, breaking up some of the spaces in the distance all helped to bring the painting to completion. Again. So far.

©2010 Patricia Scarborough Platte River Recharge, 9x12 oil
Same situation with this painting.  I thought I loved it, and then happened to glance across it looking for something else.  It hit me that I needed to make a few adjustments to be completely satisfied, or at least as satisfied as an artist can be about her work.
©2011 Patricia Scarborough Platte River Recharge 11 x 14 oil
Again, the changes are not huge, but important, at least to me.  And to be quite honest, seeing this painting in a new environment shows me that there are one or two more little tweaks...
In another vein altogether, Mavis and I are reading Michael Gelb's "How to Think Like Leonardo DaVinci". Over the years we've read Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way" and Molly Gordon's "Accidental Entrepreneur" together as well.  We've discovered that despite the fact that we live in different countries, we share a desire to learn and to challenge ourselves and each other. Discussing a subject from our different viewpoints is enlightening and challenging.  To that end, we've decided to read one chapter in Gelb's book weekly, and discuss our discoveries with each other.  I'm inviting you to join us in this adventure.  Artist or plumber, accountant or race car driver, you will probably have an experience to share that we can all benefit from.  We'll start here, at this blog.  We may change to facebook if we decide the conversation flows more smoothly.  I'll let you know.

Take a quick peek over your shoulder to see where you've been, and open yourself up to see where you want to go.  See you next week.


liza myers said...

I love the changes... subtle but significant. Such a great sharing of the artistic process!

Patricia said...

Thanks for stopping by Liza. I look forward to seeing more of your beautiful nests.