Saturday, July 24, 2010
Painting in the mountains
Although I have done plein air painting, I haven't done a lot of it. There are a mix of reasons for that. One is I am not that gifted as a painter. I got a lot better at sculpture (Sculpture Gallery); but there is something in me that very much likes the idea of being a painter more than a sculptor. Maybe it's the color or the freedom of expression which I feel is more limited with clay especially since I only did the human form (well a few animals mixed in).
When I am painting, I enjoy it but I often have a hard time thinking of subjects to paint. For awhile all I painted was people but eventually that wore out since my people were all imaginary or mostly anyway. Where Parapluie sees possible paintings everywhere, I don't. I know what she says is true-- start and the ideas will come. I know that but...
I like the smell of oil paint especially the water based where I don't have to use turpentine and linseed oil for cleaning and thinning. There is something about the feel of lush color on a brush that is sensually pleasing. Sometimes I mix the colors right on the canvas and that's satisfying too. What spoils it for me is worrying about the 'product..' I have a hard time accepting that it's the process that matters. I keep wanting a product that turns out as I visualized it.
Now if I painted as often as Parapluie (settling herself below where I had chosen to paint), which is pretty much every day, I'd be better than I am, but am not convinced I'd be gifted. But is being gifted what painting is about? Can't it just be an enjoyable time with paint and canvas without worrying about what comes out? You can tell I am trying to convince myself.
So, taking that attitude as my mantra, with a small bottle of water (which used to hold creamer for my coffee), my water based oils, a few brushes, a small canvas, and another bottle of water for me to drink, I settled myself under a big fir and looked at the scene in front of me. Actually the photo at the beginning of this blog is not that scene but it was the same type of flowers, the same energy with beyond it a patch of red earth and tall trees.
I didn't photograph what I decided to paint for several reasons. One was that Farm Boss had gone for a hike with Fisherman and taken the camera. But when he got back, I could have photographed the setting. I didn't. I wanted no visual left to compare to my painting. I wasn't really painting what I specifically saw anyway.
For me, it was about painting the energy of the whole day, not of one specific place, not with a center of interest. When it was finished, I named it 'Mountain Kaleidoscope' because like a kaleidoscope, it's full of many colors that are constantly changing. When I look at it, it will always remind me of that day; so it's more about that then whether it came out great. It did come out as I had visualized which is a step up for me.
(I will be offline the next few days as we are heading to Klamath Lake for some family time. I have blogs set to post every other day as usual but put the blog on moderation to avoid spam building up. Please comment if you are so inclined with your own thoughts on whatever is posted. I will get back to it.)