Saturday, September 19, 2009

September 19, 2009 - Day 40

Da Vinci watercolor on 140 lb Aquarelle cold press watercolor paper

I didn't know what I was going to paint again tonight so I was going through my old photographs from years ago. Seeing people dead and gone. People who were once friends and lovers but now are acquaintances at best - enemies at worse. Remembering the pain and loneliness. The guilt of bad decisions. I just became really angry at life and at all the crap.

I definitely wasn't in the mood for fluffy kittens and sunlit flowers. I decided to pour out my anger in an abstract painting. This is what my anger looks like tonight.

Friday, September 18, 2009

September 18, 2009 - Day 39

Da Vinci watercolor on 140lb Aquarelle cold press watercolor paper

Today I tried to paint a crumpled up Kleenex 3 times but just couldn't see where the shadows and highlights should go. I thought it would be so simple. It looked easy but I just couldn't do it. Ironically, the crystal bowl that I did on August 18 - Day 18 looked so difficult but was much easier.

I know how to paint hard objects. I instinctively know how to shade and shadow - to some degree at least. With soft objects like clothing or fur I don't have that knowledge so these subjects don't come easy to me.

These repeated failures are making feel blocked.

It isn't really that I am blocked though - what I am trying to do is press outside my comfort zone by attempting to paint things that I either don't know how to paint or that I am not good at painting.

Repeated practice is the only way that I am going to learn and become better.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

September 17, 2009 - Day 38

Da Vinci watercolor on 140lb Aquarelle cold press watercolor paper

Totally disgusted with my painting abilities today! I am sitting here swearing and freaking out at the level of frustration that I am feeling right now!!

I started the night attempting to paint another pin-up style painting but that one failed completely. Then I thought that maybe I would do a floral close-up. That one failed as well. At that point I was ready to throw the towel in and say "forget it! I can't do it tonight" but that would have ruined the entire project so this was my final attempt. It fails as well to come even within the ballpark of what I was attempting to do.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

September 16, 2009 - Day 37

Da Vinci watercolor on 14lb Aquarelle cold press watercolor paper

Today was another of those days when I felt totally blocked. I spent over 1 1/2 hours trying to decide what to paint. In the end I was almost hyperventilating because I was freaking out so much!

I love the pin-up art of the 1940's and the World War II propaganda posters so I decided to paint this dancer in that style.

I would like to do more of these types of paintings but I don't have my own reference photos and I can't use pictures of recognizable people without a signed release.

I had a thought though - why not do paintings in the pin-up style but have the subject matter animals?? I might have try that over the next couple of days.

I tried to center the headings for the pin-up propaganda poster images below by blogspot won't let me do it :(

Art of Edward D'Ancona

Rosie the Riveter WWII

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September 15, 2009 - day 36

Da Vinci watercolor and Prismacolor colored pencils on
140lb Aquarelle cold press watercolor paper

With each day and each painting I am learning a lot. Some paintings are turning out great while others I really hate but with each one I am learning something new. Today I learned a new way to paint distant trees and white fur. Last week I learned how to create realistic crayons. Sometimes I learn because I like the effect that I achieved other times I learn from my mistakes.

I am starting to see how daily painting has the ability to take my art to the next level. Last year I painted 25 paintings. I wasn't painting often enough to benefit from my successes and my failures. Now though, with painting every day, I am able to say to myself "I really liked the way that part of that painting turned out so I am going to do that technique in this painting" or "I really hate the look of that I wonder if I tried this it would work better?"

Also, by stepping outside my comfort zone - repeatedly - I am pushing myself to try new subjects and new techniques. I am learning to not fear failure. There are always going to be people who try tear you down. They make innocent little comments that can smash at your self-esteem without them even being aware of how their words hurt. I am learning to not care what some one else might think about my art. It really has nothing to do with them. It's about me expressing myself regardless of whether the art turns out good, bad or ugly.

I am also finding that art really is subjective. Everyone views it in a different way. The things that I hate some one else will love and vice versa. I have had one person say they love a certain painting and then have some one else say they hate it. Some people like realism while others like their art to leave something to the imagination. There is no right or wrong just personal preference. That's a big lesson for me to learn because I have always hated certain styles of art but now I am starting to see it from the other side.

Monday, September 14, 2009

September 14, 2009 - Day 35

Da Vinci watercolor on 140lb Aquarelle cold press watercolor paper

I think I may be getting the knack of painting fur. I started with washes of the base colors of tan and gray. I then used my liner brush to paint individual hairs. I used different shades of blue/gray, brown/gray and tan to build up the fur.

I am starting to get bored with cats now so I think that tomorrow will be the last one for a while. I don't know what I am going to move on to from here. There are so many things that I would like to paint that I don't know where I want to go next. I guess I will decide on Wednesday.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

September 13, 2009 - Day 34

Da Vinci watercolor on 140lb Aquarelle cold press watercolor paper

Wow, it is amazing what happens when you change the type and size of brush! On previous paintings I was using #4 and #6 round Robert Simmons brushes for the main body of the work and a #2 round Kolinsky sable for the details. Today I used a #00 gold sable liner brush for the detail and it made all the difference in the world.

The Kolinsky sable isn't that much larger than the liner but it was just that little bit too big for the small size of these paintings (3 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches). I wasn't able to get the fine fur detail that I wanted with it. The liner allowed me to paint individual hairs in different colors to get a more accurate fur detail.