Progession of an Artwork

The starting drawing.....

The starting drawing.....

Ever wonder about the thoughts of an artist while working on a piece?  Let’s give it a try.  To qualify this, I must first of all say that I am not a famous artist, nor have I sold a bunch of paintings…I’m an emerging artist, meaning I have a day job.  I’m good, yes; I’m goal-oriented, yes; and yes, I’d like to be “famous” to one degree or another as a painter.  So, this experiment may seem juvenile to some, but to others, interesting enough….

My process on this new painting began when I finished touching up the last two paintings, pieces I’d started and “loosely finished” in France.  “Yes, now I like it!  Parfait!”  And very quickly I began thinking about the next painting!  I pulled out my photos from my trip this summer (900 digital images) to see what “called” to me.  Many!  But what REALLY made its claim on my soul, what REALLY gave me the sense of passion needed to get started?  AHA!  The inspiration, the piece I felt excited about:  a beautiful light-filled nave in the Fontenaye Abbaye Royale!  In the photo the light spills in through undecorated, clear windows.  The stone is white with pastel values of pink and violet.  “There’s hope and a light shining through this one.”  Also, “This will be fun to paint because I’m learning more about values!  And I can draw the perspective to create an interesting composition!”

Canvas: “Can I use this purchased canvas?  No, the dimensions are wrong to create the feeling of height and that’s very necessary here!”  Settled on a piece of unframed canvas to be stretched later….

The drawing:  “Better use the plexiglass grid on this one….  Lots of deceiving angles here.  Don’t want to screw up the perspective with one column at the wrong angle.”  “Work at the table or on the easel?  Table…because I’ll need to use the ruler.”  I’m not a mathematical whiz, but I do love calculating and using rulers of all kinds, not anal, but love the challenge.  “Whoa, this is going to take longer than I thought…as usual, I’ve picked a complicated venture.” 

Three hours later:  “Halfway done…going blind.  Better set this aside before I screw it up.”

Four (yes, four!) weeks later, after deep cleaning the house for family visits, whitewater river trips, an Art Festival, trip to Glacier National Park, a week to unpack and reshelve my moved artroom materials and then the first week of school:  “Its Monday!  I only have ten more available days this month for painting!!”  I have a goal of doing one painting a month…not unrealistic when one has a day job.  “Ready.  Measure that.  What’s that angle?  Does it match that one?  Oh, look at that pattern.  Cool.”

Two hours later:  “Yes!  That’s a perfect perspective drawing.  NOW I can finally start painting!”  Tomorrow:  the fun part….

An interesting thought today after reading for a book club:  Everybody Who Was Anybody, a Biography of Gertrude Stein by Janet Hobhouse, Chapter One.   Gertrude was described as an adult Child, living in the present, egocentric and adorable.  I thought, “Of course, an artist MUST live in the present!  If we live in the past there are too many fears of what WAS said of our work; if we live in the future there are too many fears of what MIGHT be said of our work.  Children play.  An artist must play, with words, paint, clay, music.  I like to play with paint……..”

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~ by chezchristineo on September 15, 2009.

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