So this week the studio is aflutter with little replacements for that inner trouble-maker. Imagine a herd of beastly picketers lined up on your sidewalk holding signs of support for you in the world. Reminders to fill your sweet self with encouragement.
I've also started work on a new abstract experiment - trying to replicate the feel of last week's salvaged plywood but on a new board. Beginning with the application of dimensional grounds and thick white gesso, followed by gold and black gesso and then paint beaten to smithereens (a highly advanced art technique, I assure you) with scrapers, chopsticks and palette knives. I'll be using a limited color palette again, but more vibrant. My wise intern says I should give you a peek at the painting in progress, even if that makes me a bit uncomfortable.
Here's the progression so far - it will be fun to see how this piece ends up. In the meantime, off you go, waving your flag of marvelousness. :)
So what happens when we discard the idea of perfection?
This piece is (ahem) a perfect example. It began is imperfect as a piece can be - the very board itself is a piece of salvaged lumber, discarded at a metal shop. It was already painted (light teal exterior paint), scraped, grooved and rough. By starting with something discarded and hugely distressed, each layer I added to it just made it better. None of the angst of beginning with a pure, white canvas and judging each subsequent mark and brushstroke.
There was NO WAY this painting could ever be pristine and perfect. I embraced its rough imperfection by adding even more texture (dimensional grounds) and using a spackle knife to carve back into the layers of paint. And it got better and better. It is now the best that it can be. Which isn't perfect at all. But it makes me smile every time I walk past and get a glimpse of it on the easel. Now, if I can just look at each day this way - rough and discarded, ready to be improved and made better, not made perfect. Hmmmmm.
You have always been good,
like a fiddlehead fern, like a Rough-legged Hawk riding
a thermal. Look up. Let the sun ride your cheekbones, slide
along your jaw, and fill your mouth.
You are good. Hear me.
Take this in like water dropped to a nomad, like a breath
to a cigarette quitter, like rain.
You are good.
from the poem MANIFESTO FOR THE GIRL
For Every Girl - New and Selected Poems by Kate Gray
I so love the voice of this poet.
Do you pick up on a theme threading through your days on occasion? This week, conversations across many days were zinging with the theme of believing in your own goodness. And then the universe plunked this little book by local poet Kate Gray into my lap, thanks to the reader-of-my-mind at Two Rivers Books, owner Christine. I scanned the table of contents and dove right into this poem...and smiled. Thanks, universe. :)
Wherever you are in this day, you are good. You have always been good.
It has been just over four months since we planted ourselves in Portland, and already I've met a healer, a shaman, a moon-whisperer, a rug wizard, a book maven, a rebel, a tree advocate, two yodeling hound dogs, burlesque clowns, drag queens, a modern-day caveman, a 90 year-old plant nurturer and a rabbit named Bellatrix Lestrange (to name a few).
If you're in the neighborhood Friday evening, pop in to The Salty Teacup for a little malarkey-filled adventure of your own. You just never know who you might meet along the way. :)
This week's giveaway is still in progress! Thanks to EVERYONE who has participated so far! Want to join in the fun?
If you're reading this blog and are not a subscriber, sign up (right column under "Subscribe to My Blog Posts") and you'll be entered in a drawing for a high quality giclee print! If you are already a subscriber, share this blog with others on Facebook and tag me to be entered as well. If you newly subscribe AND share on Facebook, your name will be entered twice! The winner will be announced in next Wednesday's blog post. Thanks for your support!
"Flume and Falls" - oil on gallery wrapped canvas, 30" x 40" Ready to hang. Available here and at Artfinder
It was FIRSTS week here in the studio! The FIRST super large oil painting and the FIRST process video by my amazing intern, Fiona (who single-handedly slayed the tech aspect of this internship in one afternoon. Woot!) Thanks to many reader requests for more "in process" peeks, we're going to keep working on videography over here in upcoming weeks.
This piece began as an acrylic underpainting in bold colors. Acrylic paints don't require as much manipulating and massaging as the oils, so the underpainting allows me to get the basic composition and colors down without a ton of upper body work (which my still healing spine very much dislikes). After that, several layers of thinned oil paint to soften, provide haze and deepen the color layers and texture. The final touch, as depicted in the video, is to come back into the painting with oil pastels to amp up the color and contrast, then blend with a brush loaded with Liquin and soften with rags and a squeegee.
Jen Walls and her imaJENation