Thursday, August 11, 2016
concept and the best tool
Recently I have received two emails asking me how my painting process works. (Thank you Cris and Randall) They have prompted me to write a brief explanation.
First for me, when creating a painting, it is rarely about a specific place. Instead it can be the idea, the emotional response to that place or simply an idea and then I allow the painting to direct me. There is a trust with the painting. It knows what I should do. I just need to slow down and listen...then respond (rather than think). I try not to direct, those are my less successful paintings. For someone who is a little hyper this has been a serious learning curve in my life.
That's why I am not someone who leans on photographs to guide me. Yes, I take photographs.... but they are to remind me of the beauty I once saw. They spark an idea. I also do numerous plein air paintings and studies. The teach me about the possibilities of light.
The biggest tool in my toolbox is a walk. I paint then when I come to a stopping place I walk for a half hour. (I take several walks a day.)The walk is a quiet processing time. I don't talk, listen to music or have any other input... just the landscape around me. It's amazing how it can all come together without even "thinking" about the painting.
This particular painting began last year. I was in Skagit County Washington, where the light at sunset can be like a big cantaloupe filter. I returned home and did drawings that were inspired by my river, the Potomac and the Skagit. Now last week I was back in Skagit County and it was easy to feel what I was missing in the light.