Since my last Facebook Page post, I purchased eight tubes of acrylic paint and I am “playing around” with them using palette knife and brushes. I find them “lite” as compared to my water-based oils, and the colors too intense. This is not to say that I can’t use available mediums or texturizers to thicken the paint. In fact, I did try a couple of products however, I just don’t feel I can get what I need using the acrylics even though they are “heavy body.” For the moment, I am returning to my oils but, have enrolled in a beginning acrylics class at The Clearing in July taught by Sandra Place.
I have decided that I will return to some degree of “realism” in my latest painting (as opposed to the abstracts of the past few years), so I am embarking on a lovely landscape inspired by my favorite place to paint – Kiawah Island, S.C.. The marshes and grasses with their ever-changing colors and inhabitants inspire me in a way I can’t explain.
Using an old photo as reference, I sketch an early morning view of the marsh as seen through an upstairs bedroom in my daughter Sharon’s home on the Island. Essentially, they are horizontal lines of varying shades of green, blue, orange and earth tones. Today, I lay out my full palette, light cad yellow through ultramarine blue with ivory black and titanium white, assemble my brushes and knives and begin to paint, or at least I assume I will.
Suddenly, I am overcome by a growing feeling of dis-ease (you can call it anxiety if you wish). I don’t know how to paint the scene! I know, or think I need an undercoat or “wash,” which means an appropriate color, watered down, which will dry quickly and become the base or background of the emerging piece. I apply a light shade of lime green, leaving the sketch intact. Then, I ask myself, “Do I have to paint inside the lines? Do I have to plan my colors in advance? Do I have to use small brushes? Do I actually have to have a vision of the completed painting?”
I feel like I have forgotten how to paint and am back in kindergarten again!
I realize I have not completed a representational painting in at last three years after “evolving” into a painter whose passion is abstract art. My paintings have always been contemporary reflections of an evolving journey through a typical life – an equal mix of beauty, joy and love, challenged by frustration, fear and loss. I work predominantly with palette knives for the freedom they afford me. I paint while listening to jazz, salsa and standards. What I create, originates from my right brain, thinking without thought, spiritual and intuitive, more about process and flow, color, form, texture and energy.
Tomorrow, or next Wednesday, I will return to my easel and give myself over to that process once again as opposed to something which seems like a good idea in the moment but turns out to be my left-brain, challenging me to return to a place which no longer exists. I believe in the “whole brain” now, where knowledge and intuition go hand-in-hand; where learning doesn’t really take place without evoking the greater challenge – change!