Apr 10, 2009
Recently, since February, after we returned from our sketching trip to the Black Forest, I have spent most of my outdoor painting time creating small size 6 X 8, on beautifully hand made 12 oz canvas mounted on wood. Regularly I return to the small size, mostly when I want an intimate contact with the landscape and develop a more creative approach. Something like an oil painting journal rather than more impressive, larger, individual pieces. I am quite happy to return home at the end of my 7 hour painting day with 7 little paintings, sometimes 5, but I strive for 7, a good number. It allows me to look at my work as a body of work rather than a series of individual paintings. I have been very happy with the results of this approach, less intimidating, allowing me to search for new compositions all the time, therefore having to search inside with my imagination as much as outside with observation. Think about it: if you are in one place for 7 hours or more, hardly moving the easel, you are going to have to find something interesting to say, besides the same old tree by the same old body of water and the same old mountain. So the question now becomes - the eternal quest for the artist - what do I have to say, what is it about this particular moment that makes it interesting, poetic, source of inspiration for a great composition. Because a great composition can be in a small size. Our relationship with photography and the computer technology has completely changed our concept of dimension. When I post an image, does it matter if it is 6 X 8 feet or 6 X 8 inches? On my blog the image will be only what the blog will allow. so I will soon post more of this series
Yesterday it rained on us. Very unusual in mid April, in California, but the day was gray and wet, so there is a lot of water mixed in that oil, no matter what they say, it is sort of a mayonnaise. Strange mixing color, the paint sliding on the knife and not mixing. Here is our 15 minutes demo, that was exciting. Try to do a bunch of those without too much mental judgment, pure action. 15 minutes, max. If you do not like the results, wash it out and again. this is the most exhilarating thing you can do with oil and brushes. Remember you are not after the result, you are after the action / the experience / the feeling. There is many examples of situations in your own life where you are after the feeling of the experience, not the result. Watching birds, taking beautiful rides or walks, listening to music, dancing, spending time with your loved ones, reading, watching a movie, you name it.. . You call this life, right? Just because we are more involved in the making of it, does not mean that putting a judgment between us and the action is necessarily a good thing. Look at it just as an exercise to progress, and mostly, mostly, have fun doing it. Being a painter, I want to believe that pushing paint on pretty much any surface is enough to make me happy... and keep your sketchbook alive , hallelujah! I completed my 120 page sketchbook in Feb/ March. A lot of those good for painting. Now all I need is time . So, in April I start a new one, my goal is to finish it by the end of May. You know what guys? at that speed it is 730 sketches a year. There is no way you are not going to get good if you talk to that sketchbook - your best friend - every minute you have available.