Saturday, May 19, 2012

You've Come A Long Way, Baby

How does this painting

become this painting?

Lots of paint and layers, and more than a month of sitting on it. I started this painting near the tail end of the online class I was taking from Flora Bowley. I started a few paintings following her step-by-step instructions. That's an ironic undertaking, and I'll explain why.

Flora has written a new book titled Brave Intuitive Painting.  Her style is to get many layers of paint on the canvas, using fluid acrylics, sprayed water to let it flow, and many tools like sponge brushes, stampers, and her fingers. Eventually, she'll look at the painting and begin to see some shapes and designs emerge. It's what I've heard other artists call letting the painting tell you what it's going to be. Intuitively, you will know where to go next with the painting.

Now here comes the ironic part. When I take a class, even art classes, I always try to follow exactly what the instructor is saying. I do their steps as they are given to me. So really, there's nothing intuitive about that. You're just following directions. But I agree with that approach, especially when you are learning. I also preach that approach when I'm talking to others about cooking. I say, always follow the recipe exactly as it is stated the first time you make the recipe. After you've made it once, and tasted it, you can then modify the recipe any way you'd like. I feel that if you don't do it the written way once, you'll never know how it is "supposed" to be. The same is true with taking a painting class. Recognize that the instructor is an expert, and she's made hundreds of paintings using these techniques. If she says to put your cool colors together, then hey, give it a try. Surprise! She's right. You try to sneak in a warm color when your acrylics are still wet, and you'll be making yourself some mud.

This is another stage of my painting. At this point, I wasn't seeing anything yet. It looked disjointed, so I decided to add some sketchy lines that could unify all sections of the painting.

I then added a lot more color, so much so that it looked very busy. I don't have a photo of it at this stage. That's when I put it down for a month or so. During that time, I had finished Flora's class, and finished two of the main paintings I started for her class. Putting it away allowed me to come back to it and really allow the intuitive part to kick in. I was done with the class, and no longer following her procedures step by step. I was separated from the daily tasks and could now just use everything I had learned, plus, the feelings that came from inside of me.

I'll show you the final painting one more time. Look at the darker bits, like the bright blue and magenta, but look at how I unified the whole piece with the creamy yellow. I call this piece "Forest for the Trees." I thought of that name as I was thinking about how many layers are in here, and how many colors and objects are there that you can't fully see anymore.

This piece was acceped into the Lighthouse Art Center show called "Art of Association." It will be on display June 1.


jacqueline said...

WOW it's turned out so beautiful!! I love reading your process and how this lovely painting came about. Thanks so much for sharing.
I've been feeling under the weathr laterly and it has stop me from blogging, blog visiting and creating. I am slowly getting back into the swing of things. Happy sunday and love to you!

carolynmackin said...

Thanks for visiting by blog and for your thoughtful comments. I am so happy to find another like mind that found joy in Flora's class. I LOVE seeing your progress layers- it is so fascinating. I intend on doing some similar posts soon of my process.

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Shelley Whiting said...

Your paintings are very loose and expressive. Beautiful and fantastic work.