Saturday, April 23, 2016

Non Dominance, A New Series

How to Start a New Series of Paintings

In this series I was looking to do something different; I wanted to go back to painting with oil bar.
I started by attaching paper to a hard surface and painting the paper with gesso and pink acrylic.  I then covered it with another layer of clear acrylic medium. 
As I was doing this prep work I was contemplating life and the idea of doing things the same way again and again with no better results.  At that point I chose to paint the series with my non-dominant hand, something I had never done in the past.
I began each session by practicing moving my energy out of my head and into my heart.  You can learn more about that meditation practice here: Rohini Ralby's Practice For Us. The overall design and subject emerged from this practice.  
The entire painting is done with oil stick, oil bar, painting knives, putty knives, razor blades and occasionally a brush.  The diagonal line was created by snapping a string covered in oil paint.  There is layer upon layer paint applied over 5 weeks.  Texture was created by applying oil paint and scratching and scraping the surface when wet as well as when dry.

Oil Bar Painting Steps

Below is the progression of painting from start to finish:
Click on any picture to see a close-up


Some detail photos:


This is the first in the series Nondominance,  To see works from previous series, On marriage, click here.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

How to Paint 3: No Judgment

Paint Without Judgment

It is my job to live the life I was meant to live and to learn from my experiences.  For me that means expressing myself and my tools are paint and paintbrushes. I also believe that I have to paint in the face of all the "reasons" that I concoct to not paint: I don't have a good idea, I don't have the time, I don't have enough talent, the end result won't be any good.  I believe I have to paint what I am capable of painting today and to tell the story I am capable of telling today from my own unique perspective.  I communicate with paint and it is not by job to decide (judge) whether a painting is good or bad.  It is my job to paint until it is finished and then start another one.


Saturday, January 16, 2016

How to Paint 2: The Art of Staring

Why a whole post on staring?  Well, because staring is underrated.  I used to think I was a weirdo with the amount of time I spent seemingly doing nothing but staring.  Having been taught to work hard, staring made me feel like a wastrel.  I would sit hours and stare and stare and stare.    Sometimes a blank canvas would await me, sometimes not. 

Imagine my surprise when I read these words:

  • "But as for the rest of my time, the activity I'm most likely to be engaged in is staring.  If staring were an Olympic event I'll be bringing home the gold.  While other people go to work, I stare out the window.  I stare at my dog.  I stare at the blank pieces of paper and paragraphs and single sentences and a buzzing computer screen.  Hours of my day are spent with my eyes glazed over, thinking, waiting, trying to figure things out.  The muse is a sweet idea, like the tooth fairy.  The muse supposedly comes down like lightning and fills your fingers with the necessary voltage to type something up brilliant.  But nobody ever made a living depending on a muse.  The rest of us have to go out and find our inspiration, write and rewrite, stare and stare and stare until we know which way to turn." Ann Patchett from What now?

Validation from a kindred spirit in the act of staring; for it is an act- an active pursuit.  Now there is all kinds of staring.  The purposeful staring I am talking about is goes beyond non-purposeful, diffuse staring with a flurry of random thoughts and ideas and memories and hurts and joys and wants and regrets and to-do lists and, and, and.....

Purposeful staring is more disciplined and more one-pointed...a concentration...a waiting.   A good illustration of disciplined concentration:  Balance Goddess, Lara Jacobs at a TED talk (click here trouble viewing video below) from  TEDx

There is a quietness of the mind (I talk about this here).   This takes practice like anything else; it takes disciplined concentration and control.  Purposeful staring takes this same disciplined concentration. 
The Art of Staring is critical to the act of creating.  It is allows the space for the work to present itself.  It allows us to wait and perceive what comes next.   

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