Uncovering the Layers

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I finished my first painting in some time today and boy was there a lot of angst attached!   Here’s the story…

So last week I had finished the months of interruptions that kept me from painting and was ready to start fresh.  I knew I wanted to start with painting landscapes because I hadn’t done too many during my 365.

I went to the library and amassed my favorites: David Hockney, Milton Avery and a few other books on Fauvist masters.

Next I pulled out ten big blank canvases.

Then I put them back and pulled out ten small 11×14 canvases.

Then I thought maybe I should work out some sketches on 3″x 5″ watercolor paper.

Then I thought well, maybe I should do three samples of each concept and figure out what color scheme I want to work with, then I’ll take the best, paint small 11×14’s acrylic paintings and from there take the best concepts and go to large canvases…

sensible right?…

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Well, I got two mini water colors into this process before I felt like I never wanted to paint again!  I had sucked all the joy and spontaneity right out of my own creative process.  Boy I felt absolutely discouraged and all-out bummed.

It took me a day to pull myself together and remind myself I have been dying to paint for the last 4 months!  I returned the books to the library.  I put all the canvases away.  I stopped looking at all the amazing inspiration I had pinned on Pinterest.  I put away everything.

Wow. I had gotten myself into such a perfectionist frenzy there was no way anything could come out yet alone create joy.

From there I asked myself “what do I feel like doing?” and the answer came.  “I want to play with fast strokes and swirl paint.”  OK.   “I want bright clean color and I want to be able to add layers if necessary.”  OK.   “I don’t feel like acrylic at the moment – it makes me too serious.  I’m not in a serious mood…” OK.  Got it.

IT’S CALLED LISTENING TO YOU INTUITION!!!

As soon as I dumped the preconceived notion of everything my painting needed to be, it allowed space for “me” to be.

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I felt a little rusty.  I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted it to look like or what I wanted where.   I did a lot of back n’ forth until I found something I could live with.  You know, I guess it’s like the warm up before the run. We’ll call this painting some well needed stretching.

There are quite a few things I’d change in hindsight, but I was happy with where I left it.  The color is beautiful.  The mood is how I feel this time of year.  There’s breeze, sunlight and so much beauty outdoors.  This painting is loosely based on a road I drove down in Jamestown.  It was quiet, well manicured and I just loved the turn I find myself wondering …where does it lead?

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Here is the final painting.

It is gouache on heavy cold press paper 30″ x 30″.   I put a bottle and can in the photo at the way top to give you an idea of the size and proportion of the painting.

So the unnerving first painting is out-of-the-way. Hopefully now I can do away with the angst and get back to work!

Ah, it feels good to be back :)

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One thought on “Uncovering the Layers

  1. Mary, I just love this picture. You are amazing and so talented. Still following you and love all your art pieces. Keep going girl! :) Sue Georgiev

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