About the art - beginning with white, white WHITE Yupo and a colored pencil. Lightly sketching some large shapes. Blending neutrals for sky and foreground and loosely adding them with an extra large rubber wedge. Moving the liquin-thinned paint on the Yupo is gloriously tactile and creates lovely textures. Adding pinks, then adding color to the pinks to create hot and cool zones. Using a small brush and some dark darks with restraint. Gamsol-thinned dripping paint added as a final touch. This piece feels like candy. Yum.
About the art: the AI bot loves pink. I could spend hours just instructing it to make outlandish scenes in shades of pink. This piece is inspired by a series of cowboy images, all dripping in pink. Beginning with a canvas panel and applying layers of liquin-thinned pinks, alternating between rubber wedge and brush to create texture. A rough figure sketch in the middle, keeping the hot spots of pink close to the cowboy and letting it "cool" toward the edges. Alternating layers of darks and lights to create shadows and folds in the clothing. Creating "flowers" with loose brush strokes and resisting the urge to perfect them. A final touch of the lightest lights with a palette knife.
About the art: This piece was inspired by a very surreal and abstracted session with the AI bot, where I asked for wolves and women and Edgar Degas and Edvard Munch and Gustav Klimt. The resulting flurry of images was startling and impactful. I chose some elements of the images and decided on a vertical orientation with a couple of hot color edges to "frame" the action - there is distance between the malevolent character and the seemingly unaware human, yet they are forced into a confined space by the color. Thinned oil paint layers were used almost exclusively, with exception of the hair and hot edges. As always, resisting the urge to overly define, letting the paint whisper and nudge.
Whether it is the direction you point the art you are creating, your professional life, your personal life or your feet on the path every day, going the other way from everyone else is not the easiest route. There may be catcalls, heckling, judging, name-calling, intentional sabotage or tossed tomatoes. Once you're standing in the place of wonder, you may no longer even care what the naysayers are up to. Let's go there.
About the art: beginning with a primed linen canvas and thinned oil paint, marking the darks with loose strokes with a rubber wedge and dragging the paint. Building layers working dark into light, blending with a soft brush, paper towels and fingers. Adding more dark washes of glaze and dragging them to create movement. Ending with lights and hot spots using a palette knife and a small rubber wedge. This piece is inspired by both our adventures in the wilderness and our wanderings in reading books, combining the misty mystery of mountains hiked with the unpredictable tempest that is the ocean of seafaring adventures.
What has been uncovered while in the rabbit hole? The many sides of Alice, the peculiarity of life and the nonsense of trying to understand others and their realities, and the many dark shadows surrounding the creation of Alice in the real world. And as life imitates art, my own plunge into a rabbit hole has revealed nonsensical situations, people and dark shadows as well.
I've got a pile of books in the studio, and I pause to read and reflect while contemplating the paintings in their various stages. Permission to Feel (recommended by blogger, reader and artist extraordinaire Dotty Seiter) has been a map through some of the more challenging parts of my own Wonderland. The Book of Delights, by Ross Gay, has me teary and grateful. Journey of the Heart, by John Welwood, has me nodding and feeling seen in the world of sensitive hearts. And now, these and others are interwoven here in the studio with Alice and all the symbolism of an extraordinary, timeless story.
Let's head off together, dear reader, on the next adventure now. TTFN, Alice. I'm sure we'll be back again. xo
Here in the p-a-u-s-e there is a big grin. In the documenting (a spreadsheet which I have kept for over a decade) I recently typed 1600. As in 1600 paintings. One thousand six hundred pieces of art. And this really means something to me.
When I first began this journey from right-brained banker-type to left-brained creative, a workshop instructor, when asked how to become a good artist, said something like "There is no shortcut to being good. Paint 400 pieces. Then you'll be an artist. Or, at least you'll have some clue about what you're doing. Four hundred. There is no other way." (I am paraphrasing for sure, this conversation having taken place looooooong ago). I sat in that workshop and decided in that moment to paint 400.
At 400 pieces I did have a clue. At 800 pieces I no longer cared so much what other people thought and became rather fearless. At around 1200 pieces I sort of lost my way and totally cared about what other people thought and tried to paint for others and questioned everything. And now, at 1600, I am back to having a clue again and not giving a whip for the thoughts of many (but caring deeply about the thoughts of a vetted few).
So I am standing here in the pause, looking at this wall of drying paintings, wondering what the next 400 will bring and knowing knowing without a doubt that each of you, dear readers - those who read silently and anonymously, those who read and comment, those who read and share, those who maybe skip reading and go right to the art and those who take that art home with them - you are the melody to this rhythm. Thank you, thank you. I am so grateful. xo