My drawing and painting life
Sara doesn’t feel so well. She missed some sleep it seems. The dark under her eyes really surprises Elli. ‘What happened to you?’ ‘Oh, don’t worry, Elli, it’s just that I didn’t put on my make up today. I look like this on many days. I am just not a very good sleeper.’
Number ten in a series of imaginary animals. I loved working on this piece, working in many steps. I used several layers of gesso on the sheep and one the background. Finished on Jan 9, day 131.
Process notes : I started the series to find out if by doing at least ten I find out new things, detect something that might be called ‘my style’ or ‘my voice’. Now there’s a series of ten I see several things emerging, not really one style yet. It feels like I have to do at least 20 or 30 to get into my own rhythm and recognize whether there is ‘a style of my own’ in these.
For one, I still feel I owe a great deal to Carla Sonheims course: her examples and the media she used. But I am starting to want to add other media and see what happens next (and then I’d know they’re more my own). I do start to feel more at ease with the technique and I see progress. I slow down and seem to have accepted that some of these paintings take a lot of layering. I’ve also started to add more emotion over the past couple of days.
Secondly, I see more than one trend in these. There’s a couple of ‘non-real’ animals, truly imaginary, and a couple that seems stylized real animals. Also some look like they could be in a kid’s picture book or story, but others do not seem to fit that category. That’s the ‘I need at least 20 or 30’ line explained I think.
The motto ‘tomorrow there’s another day!’ still goes. Remember I chose the motto as it represents the embracing of imperfection. If I do art every day, obviously there will be better days and worse ones. The motto seems to be getting a deeper meaning. I find that doing the series – not just doing the daily work – helps to care less if one piece doesn’t want to work. I become less attached to the one piece of paper and paint and the time I invested. Doing a series helps to cut down on perfectionism and expectations about how my art ‘should’ look.
About my own expectations about my art: I found myself thinking “Do I really want to do children’s book illustrations?” in response to some of these images as some of them seem to fit in that kind of category. I have an impression that illustration isn’t valued as much as ‘more serious art’, whatever that may be. (I surprise myself: what the hell is that, where did that come from?) Also – I may start out with a small painting looking like an illustration. But I also find I want to expand on some of these small paintings, work on them on a bigger canvas.
I’ll let these thoughts simmer for a bit and will just get to work again tomorrow.
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