Saturday, January 09, 2010

Lesson Learned - When and When Not to Attack a Big Canvas

Sometimes I wonder if I'm sharing too much on my blog. Maybe I'll lose some of the mystique of my work if I put it all out there. But since it's mostly fellow artists that read my blog, why not share the downs as well as the ups? It's the reality of it all, right? The fantasy life of an artist goes something like this - artist wakes, drinks coffee contemplatively, turns on some music and then the magic begins and continues until a painting is complete. But that's not how it works, at least not for me. There's a lot of wrestling mixed in with the "magic". There's second guessing, laughing out loud, cursing and frustration. But all of that makes the moments that click that much more powerful and exciting. You know how it feels when it's not working and you know how it feels when it is. When you are doing nothing but fight it's time to put that aside and ask yourself why - these are moments to learn something and I learned a lesson yesterday that dawned on me as I was about to fall asleep.

I had a fantasy of stretching a mega canvas, attacking it freely and somehow magic would simply occur and lead me towards creating a painting that would blow my mind. The problem was it's been a while (maybe three weeks?) since I've painted and, as I said in my other post, it takes a while to get back in the groove. I got the painting to a place that I was satisfied to say "oh just finish it and move on" but with such a huge canvas, how I can really settle for less than my ultimate best when I expect someone to pay big bucks for it and dedicate a large space of their home to? I can do that with smaller paintings, they can (and should be) my experimental zone. So here's my own lessons learned and guide to painting monsters.

* Get back in the painting groove with experimental small/medium sized surfaces.

* Look at what's working in my smaller work, what I like and want to see on a larger scale and base larger pieces on that - aka KNOW what I'm getting into before I begin (which I don't often do in my abstracts, but it's needed on a large scale - at least a general direction).

* The only exception to the above is if I'm completely in the groove, feeling the magic, feeling the moment - that's the only time I can crank into a biggie with no guide or expectations.

UPDATE 1/10 - OR keep fighting, challenge yourself and screw the rules.

So after all of those various versions of the big canvas you saw, I honestly might gesso over the whole thing and start over. *gasp!* I know, I know... but it's just too big to be just okay.

TODAY'S GOAL: Process these lessons that came in the wee hours of night and work on some smaller canvases to get the ball rolling again...

On another note, I created this banner last night for - what do you think?

1 comment:

CountryDreaming said...

Oh goodness, I might scream if you start over with the gesso because I like where you left off! ( ... though I'll grudgingly admit it's now even better than the glorious purple beginning.) Of course you're getting me all curious as to what can be even better than what you already have, like what's behind Door Number 3?

As for keeping up the artist mystique among art bloggers, I'm a photographer who's tried dabbling in painting ... and as a result have come away with so much admiration for the talent of you painters! Such that the type of talent you have itself creates a mystique.

Your describing your process to my mind doesn't really spoil things like knowing how a magician does his tricks would, but rather lets me see into a world where knowing how it's done actually increases the mystery. Cool!