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Creative Process

This blog will follow the process of my current project: a series of three 5' x 9' figure paintings called "The Feast of Venus". I'll be posting the preliminary drawings and oil sketches as I complete them, and possibly add some commentary along the way. I have just begun this project and am working on the first painting in the series which has the working title "Stirring the Pot". All images on this blog are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I got back to work again today after four days without painting.

I hate to be away from my work. When I'm compelled by necessity (or exhaustion) to leave off I can't wait to get back. I miss my studio's pool of quiet light; I'm haunted by unfinished thoughts. In bed at night I see just which subtle stroke would make my budding picture bloom; in dreams my fingers close around a brush. But sadly, inevitably, when I do return nothing is as I imagined it would be: there is awkwardness. I can't quite concentrate; I can't get comfortable. I start and stop and wipe out, get a cup of tea, take a nap, and feel dissatisfied. If I'm lucky, at the very end of the day the magic finally happens. With the last wisp of light I make the connection and the energy flows. From me to my work or the other way around? I don't know, but I find the link again and am happy - which is to say I'm miserable in the usual delightful way.

Today I worked on the head on the left - again. I've posted before and after pictures here. This time I was trying to correct the size of it, make it a little larger. Tom suggested moving the right eye up and out a bit and pointed out that the bottom of the head seemed fine: it was the top that was too small. I did that and it was miraculous: without changing the outline the head appeared larger. Note to my fellow artists: if something seems too small, try changing the width, not the length. This is essentially what I did.

Eventually the light died and I was forced to abandon ship. Initially I was pleased with what I did, but now I'm not so sure. The size is fine, but I don't know if I'm happy with the expression. I can't keep painting this one head over and over for the rest of my life - or can I ?


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