The old year and all its festive eating are behind us and the new year awaits us with our resolutions and new plans and dreams As happens every year, I am slow off the mark and January is a month in which I am somewhat lost. I idle and can’t move into a chosen direction. Maybe it is the aftermath of a great time spent with my family and this year was extra special with us all being in the Haute Savoie in the Alps. My soul is still dwelling there in the snow and vagabonding the beautiful peaks.
I did however succeed in picking up some watercolor this afternoon, capturing the shrimps that will be our dinner. and why not a few shitakes mushrooms along with it.
watercolor and Prera pilot pen in Alpha series sketchbook, 22.9×15.2cm
watercolor and Prera pilot pen in Alpha series sketchbook, 22.9×15.2c
Now that I have the gallery, I have to do more studio painting, since I can’t lock up every day and go painting plein air. I’m having a hard time though, adapting to studio work “in public”. I’ve always preferred working privately in my atelier at home. Now I’m very self conscious and I worry about every stroke when there are eyes on me. I get distracted easily by what is going on outside and by people wandering in and out. I initially thought it wouldn’t bother me too much, but it does. Maybe down the road it will change.
…Two and half pomegranates…
oil on board, 40x40cm (15.7×15.7)
I’ve fallen into the habit of starting something in the atelier/gallery and then get completely distracted, leave it, bring it home and finish it here at night. Like this painting. And it results in not being me. I find the light very different, the atmosphere is different and even my mood is different. Working on the same still life in two different places just doesn’t sit right with me.
This is a very careful little painting, with no interest. If I look at it, I see a painting done by someone who was afraid to PAINT! Which was exactly the case. There is still this fear and uncertainty that has crept into my oil painting, as I’ve mentioned before.
I was never very fascinated by still life before and I still don’t get very excited about it. But there is a certain kind of meditation that creeps into doing a still life. I experienced it here in the barn at night, when I’m alone and painting on the still life…I sort of like the quietude that a still life conveys. Being someone who doesn’t have a “calm” personalty, I discovered that doing a still life is quite therapeutic for me. I think that is what will make a still life work for me…reaching that moment when I can feel my painting’s quietness, but without having it look and feel static. I will post some more still lifes later.
Painting this “fennel salad” yesterday made me realize how easy it is to lose some skills when they are not constantly excercised. Like our bodies, they become soft and flabby, sluggish and lazy and it takes work and discipline to get them back into shape. Such is the state of my current painting skills.
Painting done in watercolour on Fabriano artistico HP extra white, 30x23cm (11.8″x9″)
…fennel, pear and onions…
Not actively painting or drawing for more of two months had a paralyzing impact on my creativity, self confience and hand-eye coordination. I could clearly feel en see it in this little painting above. My wrist feels stiff and my hand feels disconnected from my brain. Or maybe it is the opposite; my hand being too connected to my brain, restricted by reason and not able to take its free course. I clutch my paintbrush in an iron grip and lock my jaw in frowned concentration. I zoom in on details and am afraid of taking risks. I hesitate on choice of colour and paint hesitantly with the tip instead of the stroking the whole brush.
Trying to do a waterscene painting, resulted in a complete catastrophe. It made me think of my professor years ago, who told me in first year graphichs, I couldn’t draw. So, remembering his “cruel-to-be-kind” teaching, I took some cheap pilot black ink and drawing paper and my chair and took off to the river this morning. It was time to once again, heed the professor’s words of years ago and get back to basics. Here is one of the drawings I did by the river this morning.
If interested, the rest can be read and seen over at Watermarks.
…with sticks and stones…
pilot black ink on drawing paper, with natural materials, found on the ground.
I have been taking a long break. I’m doing things I have been neglecting for some time, I’m enjoying spring and everything that goes along with it. I have been waiting a long time for summer to show up and now that it is here, I have to make every minute count, for it passes quickly. I’m basking in the fruits of the season. I have had an attack of fatigue and I am paying attention to my health. And I’m playing around on Myfrenchkitchen, which I’ve allowed to slip from me over the last few months. I’m stopping by here at Africantapestry just for a quick breather before I continue on my road of indulgence. And pretty soon I’ll be back here with full gusto.
Enjoy the season!
Watercolour and pen in sketchbook
…mangoes for spring…