19 July 2014

valuable lesson

Sitting at my desk with a long black coffee (shhh, don't tell the Italians) I am contemplating my last three efforts. I choose that word carefully. To pick up something long after the inspiration has past, or to try to "fix" a bad composition, does take effort.

I try to learn from everything I do. So, coffee at computer, I am going to try to put into words what the last three works have taught me.

My heart is really in watercolour, but I also enjoy using stronger mediums at times. When painting in watercolour I am in a quieter, more contemplative space.

I can be more creative and adventurous in acrylic and oil because I can always paint over the canvas again. Paper is expensive and has a maximum of two lives.

My portrait skills need honing, they were better "once upon a long time ago".

I have enjoyed NOT painting with the sorrow of war in mind, but with frivolous subjects to entertain me. Legato this year (70th commemorations of the battles for Cassino) left me drained, exhausted, sad, and even "burnt out" perhaps.

My painting really has gone back at least forty years, but I think I understand what I am doing with colour so much more now. So, techniques revived from long ago, but more comprehension and hopefully better results.

I would like to paint more fantasy, something joyful to counter the shocking news we read and hear every day.

Notwithstanding the above comment, I want to paint small, precious works that take the viewer into an intimate place of memory. These would be in watercolour, perhaps then under resin like my works from 2005.

I instinctively paint using layers, so there is no way I will ever be content with a one-stroke application. This means that the free sketch that I aim for occasionally will never content me. (Take a good look at this example - I wanted to keep this light, bright, SIMPLE and spontaneous! )

I can only paint for five hours a day when using oils or acrylics. Yes, I paint much longer hours, and then I am too tired to be useful for anything else. Watercolour painting doesn't exhaust me the same. 

So what was the most valuable lesson from the last week of painting? 

Painting takes me to another space, it does begin to "fill me up" again, along with some gentle music, when the world has taken its toll on me. Much as I long to write more, I need to schedule in more painting time. It really is good for me. Perhaps being a painter is, something that I had begun to doubt, a real part of me. 

Today I am grateful for coffee. 

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