My Great Leap Forward, Part 1

Here is the next in my catch-up blog entries. This one is dated April 28, 2014.

I have been on an artistic adventure recently! I have been painting only a few years and have definitely seen my skill develop in that time. It’s really been a revelation to me how much of art is learnable. I guess I always had a somewhat naïve idea that talented people make art, and you either had talent or did not. I have a very modest talent, but I have discovered that art is like anything else: practice and education do make for improvement. Who knew? Not me.

Recently, though, it has seemed to me that my progress has leveled off somewhat. I felt itchy, wanting to take the next step to improve my work, but unsure what that step was. So I did two things. I asked an accomplished artist (Cathy Carey: to take a look at my oeuvre and tell me what was working, what I needed to improve, and possible directions. (I just have to say, I can hardly believe I have an oeuvre!) I also did a kind of self-study……more about that in other posts.

Cathy’s comments were very helpful. She suggested several things to stretch me, including trying a bigger painting, trying abstracting an existing painting, raising my productivity, and painting to a theme.

I have tried one level of abstraction – here is the painting I worked from and the abstracted version.

To the Mountains

photo (6)

This was interesting! Abstracting was harder than I expected. I had to think about how to eliminate details, but I wanted to keep the basic shapes and I wanted the scene to be recognizable. I also, in keeping with moving a step away from reality, changed the colors to a triadic palette (green, yellow, purple), which was another way of simplifying. I will say that making this painting was certainly no easier than making the original, more realistic one. Next I think I will try doing the same scene with an even further level of abstraction. I have no clue what that might mean, however! But Cathy was right: this exercise is definitely stretching me, which is always a good thing.

Enough for today, but I will write more in the next few posts about this journey.

The snow is almost gone here, finally. It’s been a slow spring. We have had a rough mud season: my road had worse moguls than it has had in years. My car has a pronounced wobble at higher speeds because of impossible-to-reach mud caked behind the wheels; I hope to get that fixed when I get my summer tires put on. But there are coltsfoot and bloodroot blooming, and my garden has snowdrops and glory-of-the-snow. Although I shouldn’t say “garden,” because most of them are in the lawn where the mice have replanted them. Happy Spring!


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1 Response to My Great Leap Forward, Part 1

  1. True of all skills perhaps, to get help on how to mix it up, or try something differently. Your persistence is so remarkable. I love the abstract and look forward to even more abstract whatever that might mean. Your color mixes are what most draws me in the most, so I would think more abstract would be very doable.

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