Friday, March 20, 2009

Skipping Step #3

Reading a bit of Art & Fear today brought to mind the new process I've been working with. Just in the first couple of chapters, I've seen how good 'ordinary' feels.

Sounds rough, doesn't it? Really, it's liberating. The locus (bonus word of the day) from which the authors begin their treatise is that "creatures (perfect beings) having only virtues can hardly be imagined making art. Art is made by ordinary people."

This being so, this thinking provides freedom for us to paint in a way that is uniquely our own. Karen asked, in a comment recently, how I feel as I approach these new landscapes.

I feel ordinary, like me. Ah ha! As I was pondering this subject, I realized that I had changed my mind about painting. You know how it is. You decide that something isn't working for you and you drop it. There isn't a great epiphany or anything at that time. You merely do things differently. It's almost as simple as deciding not to touch a hot stove. And when something pleasant happens and you don't get burned, well, you experience a revelation.

There is, of course, the fact that we are all visiting fellow artists online and enjoying certain elements of each of their works. If we collect the most successful of these and apply them to a painting, we cannot help but imbue the work with our own distinctive and personal signature.

There is something else that I'm finding too. I'm now approaching the work without any concern for audience. Again, sounds rough, but you'll understand how subtly we artists are influenced by the push toward pleasing others (approval/sales). What if we let that go too?

So, I choose an image that I find interesting, start a painting of it, see too much detail (get annoyed here--step #3), wipe out detail and finish by stepping back and analyzing what I enjoy about the image graphically, color wise, etc..

Today, I was able to skip step #3.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

You made me laugh with this one. Yep, we're just people who like to paint. I'm glad you avoided step #3,
because what you've done is so joyous and lovely. The colour is great,
and the brushwork yummy.


Melinda said...

Hi Barbara,
It's so true. We love to paint. If we keep to this in all of its simplicity, we are more authentic, yes?

So glad I could make you laugh!

Joan Breckwoldt said...

Melinda, I've been out of town so I've missed your posts! These last landscapes are absolutely STUNNING. You keep doing what you're doing, whatever this "new process" is, it's working for you!

Jala Pfaff said...

So interesting that a lot of us seem to be going through the same frustrations/processes right now. I like this painting, its boldness. I read Art & Fear and really liked it. Need to get a copy of my own someday.

Melinda said...

Hi Joan,
Thank you for stopping by. Smiling here! I will continue this for awhile and then see if I can transfer the process to another genre.

So glad you were able to attend such a productive workshop. What fun, yes?

Melinda said...

Hi Jala,
Sometimes I think there is a kind of 'wave' that moves through the art community, influencing all of our frustrations and new ways of approaching the work. Too bad we can't study this.

However, it is great to know we are not alone.

Yes, Art & Fear is so wonderfully straight forward--guess it's one of those resources that belongs at the ready in the studio!

Linny D. Vine said...

"The Joy of Skipping" by extraordinary Melinda - I love it!

Edgar said...

Luscious, artful work, Melinda. I'm loving this stuff you're doing, skipping angry or not.

Although, I guess "skipping" is better for the stress levels, in the long run.

daviddrawsandpaints said...

I'm glad you are not painting to please us, but also very, very, glad you do!
This is just "STUNNING" (to borrow Joan's comment). The second I clicked on to your page I am blown away. The colour is incredible!
I feel myself climbing that mountainside, lost in the deep shadow, and looking upwards to that fabulous towering peak shimmering in the clear azure sky. I need oxygen in this rarefied atmosphere!!!!
But...I wonder if you can paint feet with the toenails turning brown?

Melinda said...

Ha! Thank you, David, for your generous comments. I'll try not to get too nervous about repeating this process!

Gee, I don't think I do know how to paint feet with the toenails turning brown, unless I use a red ochre or, perhaps a brown madder with a touch of cadmium red deep. I guess that might do it. ;)

Karen said...

That's so wonderful to remember that ordinary people can paint too and we don't have to berate ourselves every day for not being magically born with some mysterious super-talent. It makes all the hard work so worthwhile.
I love these paintings you've been doing lately. I think the liberated spirit shows.

(p.s. thank you so much for thinking of me with the Passion for Painting award. I'm very touched by that. Next I'm going to start one that is A Life Consuming Obsession with Painting Award.)

Melinda said...

Thank you, Karen. It means a great deal to hear that about a liberated spirit. Is this what we are looking for while having some skill to use paint and brush?

Yes, there is a restfulness in being ordinary. A good place to stay.

I love your idea for a "Life Consuming Obsession with Painting Award." I think you should award one to yourself first!

laura said...

Beautiful color, dramatic composition--I love it.
I think I need to read this book, Art & Fear!
(btw Really enjoyed your slideshow--so many beautiful paintings!)

Melinda said...

Hi Laura,
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you do get a chance to read Art & Fear. It can really calm the self-critique within.