Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pondering a Project

I have been thinking about my next project, and feeling very undecided. I keep coming back to a painting I haven’t finished—the old woman on my Projects Waiting page—but I simply can’t seem to muster up the confidence to finish it. I know, you’re probably thinking what’s the big deal? But interpreting black and white is harder than I estimated. I have learned from experience that there are so many subtle colors in what appears to be something rather monochromatic—like skin for instance. Look closely at some of my portraits, and you’ll see not only the expected reds and browns, but yellow, blue, green, violet—basically the whole gamut of the rainbow.

In the past, when I felt stumped (for lack of better word to describe that thing in my head that keeps me from starting or finishing something—pretty sad for a writer to not come up with the perfect word), I have eased back into it by choosing a monochromatic photo, and simply painting it as is.

Here are a couple examples:



These felt relatively unintimidating at the time I undertook them, which is what I feel like I need right now…but…I still want to find it challenging, something to spur a little growth…
Anyway, I keep coming back to this tiny snapshot from a collection of farm pictures from my Iowa kin-of-old.

I thought I might attempt a combination pen and ink and watercolor...I may have to think on it a little longer before I post an update…

Oh, and for you lovers of old photos, I stumbled across this blog, Tattered and Lost VERNACULAR PHOTOGRAPHY,via Google Images. She has quite a collection, and her remarks are witty and imaginative—well worth the visit!


  1. I think pen and ink and watercolor sounds enticing. I find it interesting that you choose to wait until the muses feel right before you dive into a project. I've never known a real live artist (actually never known a dead one either!) and I find the process of project development fascinating.

    Oh -- I may have lied, kinda'. I still now and then watch reruns of "The Joy of Painting" where the artist whips out where this artist whips out a painting of mountains and streams, trees and lakes in thirty minutes while I sit there telling myself, "I could do that!" I always suspected that he wouldn't be considered a "real artist" by...uh real artists -- because it seems he cheated a lot. But I still like him. If you know who I am talking about, what is your opinion?

  2. I know this will sound really lame, but I’m never entirely comfortable calling myself an ‘artist’—I guess I feel like more of a copyist or technician—I just paint what I see, Sometimes that requires more of an eye for discerning subtleties of color and object placement in relation to other objects, but not a whole lot of imagination.

    I guess the question of what qualifies as ‘Art’ is one of the oldest and most hotly debated issues out there (beside religion and politics), and I’ll be the first to admit that I really don’t know. I just know what I personally like or what makes me want to give it more than a cursory glance.

    I remember when I was a kid, watching Bob Ross on television, (maybe he’s who you mean—but there are others out there) painting “happy trees,” and while he seemed a bit nuts and overboard to me (I was a little embarrassed for him), he did teach me something about ‘illusions’ (and the benefit of watching someone else’s process). He makes it look relatively easy, and I think his process is easy—so, if it gets people painting and gives them confidence, then ‘artists’ like him have done a wonderful thing, because, as I well know, lack of confidence is an awful thing to wrestle.

    Right now, I’m just looking for a project that’s manageable—and can get me out of a little rut. If I go with an ink and watercolor combo, I’ll be stepping out there a bit, (for me) and I’m not entirely sure how I’ll proceed. But, I have accomplished the first step—sketch it out and transfer it to the watercolor paper…it looks really boring, so I don’t’ know if I’ll post that…

    See what happens when you ask a procrastinating ‘artist’ her opinion?

    And, to be honest, I don’t know too many real live artists, either—but I did know a dead one (you know, back when she was alive—I should write about her sometime).

  3. ...oh, yeah...and my husband is an artist--funny the things we take for granted! :)


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