Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Trials Of Infidelity

It's a slippery slope really.  I mean, I was faithful for so long, but temptation set in.  What is the line from Don Henley's song The Heart Of The Matter?

What are these voices outside love's open door,
That make us throw off our contentment and yearn for something more?

Yeah.  I've strayed.  After years of the same ol' same ol', while casting condescending, self righteous glances at those who just couldn't stick to their one true love, I went and did the same damn thing---

I went and changed my painting technique.

Faithful readers of Maine-ly Painting (And stop bothering me, the check is in the mail!) will know that I've used up tons of precious internet space describing my routine of draw it, do a monochrome grisaille, then glaze layer after layer.  But for the last few paintings, I've done the opposite:  grab a brush and have at it!  Push that paint.  Don't like that passage?  Change it completely!  Just go with the flow and see where the painting takes you.  And do you want to know a little secret?

I don't like it at all!

One of the problems I have with having no plan, is not knowing how the picture is supposed to look. I would rather have an end point to work toward than just paint along and then decide, "Good enough!"  I mean, do you just jump in your car and drive just to see where the engine takes you?  Do you cook a meal by throwing random foodstuffs in a pan and seeing what comes out of it?  I, for one, have a Cook Book.  With Recipes.  But I digress...

Check out this picture of Ellen's grand daughter, Paige:

This is still a work in progress.  Mainly because I haven't a clue on what to do about a background.  I've tried various concepts, but nothing grabs me.  And that's another problem with "Just paint it:"  It's a throw-whatever-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach.  I'd be done with this painting long ago if I had only used my regular method.  As it is now, I'm hoping to finish this in time for her to give to her own grand kids. 

Oh, you foolish, foolish wandering heart!

Lastly is this painting a a bridge above the Neshaminy Creek in Langhorn, Pennsylvania:

This is another, "Paint 'til you're happy" piece.  I can't begin to tell you the number of changes I've had to make on this bad boy.  Among other things, I've re-painted the bridge at least three times trying to fix the perspective.  If I had done an underdrawing to begin with, I wouldn't have had to do that.  But that's the price I've had to pay by following my wandering eye.

Look, I have spent years and years working on developing a technique and style that best fits my own sensibilities for a reason:  It works for me.  Every time I stray from my tried and true methods, I look back and say to myself, "That would've been so much better if I had used my usual technique!"  Allowing myself to listen to the siren song of other techniques has humbled and shamed me enough to admit--

The heart knows last what the head knew first.



SamArtDog said...

Routine is French for stuck on the same old road.
Go left, young man!

rsouviney said...

Wow...an artist who lets you in on the process. Real courage my friend. I'm not sure I would want to show every draft of my writing to my readers, but with word processors making text changes cost free, my writing has become more like "paint until it is done (or you are exhausted!). I used to write from an outline when typists had to redo every page of a manuscript from the point of the change to be sure the page breaks worked (this is when text changes cost a lot, so I didn't make many, and maybe I was better planned before I started creating text). Very nice description of your process for us non-painters (and cleaver use of metaphor too!).

Susan Roux said...

Oh the process of moving paint around..! It's the trials and difficulties that you conquer that make it all the more exciting! I was admiring your water and thought to myself, he had to really paint on this one! No way to capture that foam with washes. Then I read your post...

Just don't go bashing the pushing paint around thing. Most of us artists types make our living that way. Passion lies in the heart, so following it is the right answer.

Anonymous said...

Drive, just to see where the engine will take me? Guilty. Throw random things in a pot when I haven't been to the grocery store? Guilty. Mush, push, or just "fling paint" at the canvas? Never.*

*This is especially important if you happen to have a tube of "Sorolla's light" or a "Rembrandt brush."

Charlie Gray said...

In your grand-daughters painting the light seems to be coming from a window ...nice painting. It's nice to go down that different path, but the vehicle your driving is working just fine! Its getting hot down here in St. Pete. Charlie

Kristi McIntyre said...

My husband an I had the pleasure of meeting you & your wife in New Hope for the plein air festival. The bridge over Neshaminy Creek is in Playwicki Park - where us kids would go when cutting glass!!! Love that place. Love your work.