Wonder Mike and Lilly say it's been way too long since a reader challenge was issued. So I dare you, fierce creative, to leave a comment below with something you would secretly love to be dared to try in the coming year. One commenter will be selected at random by a couple of pooches who love peanut butter and sushi. That lucky human will receive a piece of original art in the mail. Woot!
About the art: beginning with an inspiration photo from a recent hike and a painting which was previously demolished with gesso. Loosely indicating a high horizon line and leaving the rest to chance. Using only rubber wedge and paper towel, slowly adding layers of oil point in broad strokes to create a landscape. Allowing the eye to fill in the details. Carving through layers of paint with the wedge to expose previous layers. Resisting the urge to refine details. Adding a few pops of color and then walking away.
I'm lost in space again in the studio. It's an exhilarating place to be.
Fueled by our most recent read, a delightful book in the Monk and Robot series. Filled with tea-serving traveling monks, robots who live in the wild and philosophies that just leave me weeping with delight. Life as imagined on this moon world is something to be carefully sipped and savored.
What have I done this past year? I've thrown purposeful productivity to the wind in favor of a more meandering existence. I mean, I get the important things done, but maybe the most important thing is really simply existing. Just being is good enough. In fact, it's splendidly marvelous. It does result in a very random path in the studio, with no less than ten paintings in various stages of exploration. Each of them on top of a prior painting that has been recycled.
And, thanks to the insightful recommendations of reader/artist Carol E, there is a huge container of cold wax and a new book of inspirational techniques waiting to become...something. Atoms arranged in the right way, perhaps?
About the art - using the Afterlight app to insert an inspirational photo of a space helmet into a portrait reference photo, I created a jumping off point for a light pencil sketch on linen. Choosing an extremely narrow color palette and adding thinned layers of oil paint with rubber wedge, brush and fingers. Allowing dragged paint to become highlights and reflections. Wondering what the woman in the helmet is pondering.
In the studio, that continues to look like buckets of gesso.
Painting over old work, creating backgrounds for new. The more I paint over, the more I want to paint over. You creatives may understand this - the weight of old work. Don't get me wrong, I am proud of what I've created and shared over the years, but the feeling of old paintings around is like a dress with the tags still on it from three years ago - it's time to make room for things that SING, both in my gallery of work and in my wardrobe. :)
Most of the pieces being painted over get a little time-lapse video posted over on my instagram feed. Today's piece is painted on top of one of those gesso'd pieces. Already building the foundations of 2023. Oh yeah!
About the art: beginning with a rough portrait sketch in colored pencil and jumping off with a limited palette of colors in oils. Embracing the way oil paint moves under the rubber wedge and exposing sub-layers with it. As always, resisting the urge for perfection and allowing texture and peculiarity to emerge.
I have a mighty will. As I imagine you do, dear reader - spirited creator, deeply feeling human that you are. A mighty will can get things done, can provide strength and endurance and tenacity and is good for triumphing against ill odds. But a mighty will will also get you taking on too much, solving problems that are not yours to fix, making things more complicated (perhaps) than they need to or should be. When your will is strong, it is hard to walk out from under anything, let alone everything.
But in facing away from and seeing other than the worries we are covered by, we have a glimpse of a sweet expansiveness - open to, available for, free from and rejoicing in the thing beyond that covering. I'm going to point my spaceship that-a-way. Wanna join?
About the art: beginning with a panel of a gesso covered old painting, a quick sketch and then layers of oil paint to create a visage. Painting over the entire thing with liquin- thinned color and pushing away the excess to leave a deeply textured surface. Using rubber wedge to carve into wet paint. Adding a paint thinner to allow some parts to run and create more exquisite texture. Adding back a few lost details with a small brush and a steady hand.
Want to see a video of the process? Head to Instagram.com/jenjovanart and check out the reel!