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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.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

An insane day today with a million distractions: umpteen phone calls in the morning about my friend's care, then a big wind storm knocked the power out for almost seven hours. I live in the country and we get our water from a well. The pump needs electricity; when the power goes out so does the water, yuck. I can't get a cup of tea and there is no music in the studio. Music and tea are essential to my concentration. Did I mention that there was so much water in the air my brushes lost their spring and the paint was all gummy? But somehow I painted well. It was a miracle.

I feel a little more comfortable with the salter today. The new costume makes her look more modern and less like a character from the Sound of Music. I like the stance better too. One of the reasons I soured on that figure was a remark made by a visitor to my studio. Looking at this sketch she said she thought the salter looked "European" and wondered what the significance of that was in relation to the ethnicity of the other figures. I was completely taken aback. I don't think like that. I don't get my figures out of neatly labeled boxes. I live in a diverse world and that is what is natural to me to paint. So I felt awful: suddenly my happy group of gals jabbering away and making their soup together looked like a bunch of painted porcelain figurines - especially the "European" salter.

I think I'm getting over that horrible feeling now, but my new rule is that no one (except Tom of course) is allowed to see these sketches in the studio until I am finished with the big painting. That was always my rule with figure compositions (I wouldn't even discuss what I was doing with anyone) until I started this blog. But then I thought: I'm posting this for the world to see, how can I keep people out of the studio? Well, I've thought about it now and it makes perfect sense. Showing this work to you, gentle viewers, is completely different. We are not face to face. I never see your lifted eyebrows. It is true I check my stat counter once a day (okay, twenty times a day, but who's counting) but all it can tell me is how many of you stop by, the location of your servers (which may have little to do with your actual location) and how long you stay. It is as if I have hung my pictures in a gallery and, through a two-way mirror, I watch the people come in. Some turn right around and walk out; some pause and look at a picture. I never see anyone's face, all I see are shadows. Sometimes one of the shadows has a shape I think I recognize and I say "That's Gabrielle" or "There's Karen" but it is only a guess and I am probably wrong. I love it this way. I like it that people are seeing my work, but I don't want to know everything they think about it. And the life of an artist is very isolated; it is nice to have some quiet company. Thanks for coming.


Blogger brearley77 said...

It has been a few days since I visited... and I am happy to be returning to enjoy the journey of your creative process... and I would never raise an eyebrow in your studio... I am not really sure what was meant by "European" -but you seem to have dealt with the issue... that power outage must have been very frustrating... re the time spent elsewhere than the studio- hey we're only human!

6:33 PM  

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