A few days ago, I made a backwards step in my art journey.
The painting on the canvas 24×36 did not work. On the back, I had crossed out no fewer than 4 failed paintings. The first was “Out on the Town.” No idea was that was about. The second was “Follow My Lead” which had been a jazz piece that probably did not work because it required a canvas that was more square and I failed in my attempts to salvage the design. The third was “I’m Wet but am Still Dancing” which had the same problem. The title was great though. I turned the canvas vertical and the fourth was “Horn Man” obviously a horn player that I have done before, and it was most likely too redundant – been there done that and don’t want to do it again- at least not that way.
I decided to take the used canvas to the Virginia Living Museum where I paint once a week. I turned the canvas horizontal again. Then using my boldest strokes and large amounts of paint, I did my interpretation of a heron in flight. I like it.
I say backwards, because if you have been reading my blog, you know that I have been in mucho angst about painting with more meaning. This painting’s subject (Heron in Flight) has been a favorite for the three years I have painted as Artist in Resident at the Virginia Living Museum.
It was boring until I added the orange, red, and magenta bits.
My feeling about my work is this. If when I look at the painting and I feel good- really good – I think it is successful for me.
Once I gave a talk to a rather conservative group of women and said that I judged paintings including mine thus. If I studied it and intellectualized about the technique, I could appreciate it, value it, and applaud the artist and his or her skills. But that would be my second or third criterion. My first reaction needs to be an emotion. If I can stand before it and almost have an orgasm, then that to me was a really great painting. You might say I am no longer in the orgasmic age group, but you don’t know that. The ladies in the group were slightly appalled. Orgasm? She said orgasm? OMG!
My second painting I did is the rocky coast of Maine. The coast of New England has been my playground from childhood and I have painted it for years. So, no big breakthroughs. But maybe you don’t need breakthroughs when it is snowy outside and cozy inside and painting a well-known scene with a fire in the fireplace is a better fit.