Saturday, May 22, 2010

Daily Painting Practice - What's the cure for Beginitis?

Every artist at some point... actually at several points... OK, most artists most of the time,  deal with hang-ups or insecurities, doubts and bouts of confidence. I know I do. I also have a recurring theme.  Begin, begin, begin... but when do I finish?
I should have started this post like an AA meeting.
" Hello, my name is Peter, and I am a beginner... no, I don't mean a beginner as in just starting... well, actually I do, but ... this is sooooo hard."  I need to take a deep breath and just say it.
  " I'm a beginner not a finisher!"
Ahhhh, there I said it, out loud, in public...( does a blog post count as public?)
Now what are the next 11 steps?


Well here are the next 14 steps. Finish, finish, finish.

You may be wondering how I got caught, I mean, how was my condition discovered? Well, my art psychiatrist/wife found me composing yet another still life. I had fallen to a new low. Instead of taking my time and looking for quality I needed a "quick fix". When she spotted the sketch, already on canvas, I knew I had been busted. That's when I decided to get help... well actually she decided I needed to help myself.
Step One... Finish one, any one, it doesn't matter.
So here I am in the studio, my hands shaking, my mind swirling with new ideas, and that little demon voice inside my head " say fella, how about doing something with all those peonies outside... you know you want to."
I need my support group!.....and another cup of tea.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Daily Painting Practice - How to Get in the Right Mood to Paint Maine


I often wonder how many other artists approach paintings in the same way I do. I think I spend more time thinking and trying to feel my way through painting then I do actually pushing paint.


As I begin to paint this scene of coastal Maine, I need to find a way to feel like I am there.... in Maine! ( Which isn't the easiest thing to do sitting in a basement in Nebraska).

So, I do a lot of sitting back and staring at the canvas using my imagination to make the scene real to me. But sometimes even more drastic measures are needed.


I had to put on my hat and boots and get a cup of blueberry tea. I also started listening to old sea shanties and snorting salt water.

You also can see my latest addition to the routine. I started wearing disposable gloves to keep the toxins out. I got a package of fifty fairly cheap at Home Depot. I use the Nitrile gloves not the latex or vinyl because they are not for use with turpentine.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Daily Painting Practice - Why do they call it "Still Life"


Why do they call it "Still Life"? Who came up with that particular phrase? I'm not criticizing, just curious, because I enjoy "still life" painting that has some tension or reference to movement. It might be movement of the viewer's eye through the composition, or perhaps it's the tension of abstract forms of light and dark, or movement indicated by light passing over objects.

When I started with this arrangement I wasn't pleased. No movement for the viewer. No movement translates into no interest.
I thought adding a branch from a flowering quince might help. Also, I like the stronger abstract forms in the painting if I strengthen the band of shadow at the top of the painting.


 Look at this detail. There is also movement during the painting process. I am moving between cool colors and warm colors, between thin washes of muted color and thicker paint  and more intense color.


click on the painting to enlarge the image

Studio Still Life - Work in Progress
20"x20"
oil on canvas

Speaking of moving. I am going to remove the design on the outside of the plate. That white patch is too distracting to the "Still" part of the still life.