Sunday, 24 January 2010

Feeling Behind then Gaining Clarity

At the end of my first week back at work after a long four weeks on leave, all I wanted to do was shut myself away and paint. I had been feeling huge frustration at not being able to complete all the paintings I had started during my leave. I learned a lot from that experience: the work I am doing is too ‘complicated’ in the sense that I need to wait for layers to dry during the process. I have to learn how to paint a la prima, and learn it soon. I think a couple of workshops are on the way. Unfortunately, as far as my research has taken me, the best ones are in the USA. Time will tell.

During my break, I wanted to finish work and good work at that – at least paintings that I was happy with. I usually stick with a work to try and resolve the problems and that strategy has always taught me something. However I realised that some of the work I had done was just not redeemable. So, I wiped out two and re-primed them with Titanium White oil paint, so heaven only knows what will appear on those surfaces. For at least two weeks it was far too dark to paint during the day and I had to paint with my daylight lamp attached to my table easel. Even with this lamp on I felt I wasn’t using colour very well. Also, it was far too dark to take any decent photographs – it still is, here in London. These are not complaints; just facts.

Today, I had planned to see an exhibition at the National Gallery, but when I woke up, the whole event and outing just wasn’t ‘speaking’ to me any more, (which was very strange for me) so I spent a few hours working on an outdoor scene I had photographed two years ago. This was one of the paintings I started during my leave, but couldn’t complete. Yet another work, too complicated to paint in a day; well for me at least. However, I made progress and learned a lot and even with these tiny, and I mean really tiny, movements forward with understanding and getting back to ‘seeing’, told me that I had made a good decision to stay at home. By listening to my own inner voice, I gained clarity. This clarity revolves around staying with my own work and spending more time on it instead of rushing around trying to absorb the whole art world in one weekend. It also revolves around really sticking with paintings that don't go well from the beginning. It also helped confirm what makes me really happy.

I also have to learn how to manage my time. I am awful at it. Not going to the art exhibition, gave me time. The painting I am working on will not end up on anyone’s wall, but it is in the completion of it that I get clear about what it takes to be a painter and the feeling of satisfaction is incomparable.

Until the Summer light comes, I think I shall spend the nights working on charcoal drawings just to try and keep creating each day and practicing, practicing, practicing. The weekends shall be reserved for painting. I have one nearly-finished still life from my weeks off work which I tried to photograph today but for that, again, the light was poor. It is the weirdest still life I have ever attempted, and maybe, if I am in a quirky mood next weekend, I’ll post it here.

a.m. - Feeling Behind & Out of Focus

p.m. - Progress and Clarity


Chartan said...

Do u use Liquin? or any quick drying medium? the drying time is one of the reasons I'm trying to switch to Acrylics.. Love your photographs!

Anne Campbell said...

Hi Charlotte - yes, I use copious amounts of Liquin, but the paintings have quite a few layers to go through before completion. If I didn't have Liquin, I'd go quite mad. I've tried acrylics but find them too challenging at present. Suppose I shall have to rethink that one! Thanks for compliment regarding photos.

Claire Beadon Carnell said...

Oh my, I read your thoughts and had to laugh because I was going through the exact same thing through my break. Although I did get a lot of painting done, I have to say that my saving grace was the birthday gift my husband gave me - an Aerogarden that has two grow lights. I programmed it so those lights are on when I am painting. In addition to the other lights I have had to use because of the dark and gloomy weather, I was able to continue working. In the bargain, I have some nice fresh cilantro, basil, thyme and oregano to cook with!!!!
I love your photographs - they say everything, and it's great to see the work you did when clarity finally came to you.

AutumnLeaves said...

Anne, I'm not one to use oils often (as I attempt them occasionally with no background knowledge), but I know that there are ways to paint wet on wet with them. Of course, I do not know how to do it well, but I know that Bob Ross always paints that way. LOL Listening to your thoughts I am reminded of my own...artist angst. I love the painting you did. Is this after a rain?

Anne Campbell said...

Hi Claire - sounds as if you have the ideal set up there for painting in the dark Winter, plus a very thoughtful husband. Thanks for the compliments on the photographs.

Anne Campbell said...

Hi Sherrie, thanks for the tips. The painting IS of a scene just after the rain - well spotted and thanks for the compliment. I have a few hours more work on it and then hopefully, it's finished. I hope to post it this coming weekend.