Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Did She Really Say That?

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I cannot be the only one who plays back conversations in their mind. I often know after the fact, EXACTLY what could have been said in reply. But how many of us play back what the other person said and wonder what they truly meant?

I am talking about taking classes and workshops. I have read too many books about art to list here. Lots of positive self-help stuff, because as most artists, I am plagued by wondering if anyone really appreciates what goes into painting. Especially plein air which I liken to painting on steroids, or the Olympics of painting, for the sheer effort that sometimes can be required. I have read what not to take into the field, but figure there’s a reason why I drive an SUV. I am not a backpacker, hiker or any of those young buff type advocates. I am looking at the looming end of my sixties with a real appreciation of being able to do this at all. Physical things take longer to bounce back from. Heck I don’t think I bounce at all anymore.

But I do take classes and workshops. I truly try to grasp with both hands what the teacher is getting at. I will try anything, go anywhere, if I think there might be a breakthrough at the end. There’s lots to learn and my time to learn it does not stretch out limitlessly. Nobody’s does. So even if it’s well after the notes have been taken and reread, that when I am standing in the shower, soaping up my head (or whatever), that when a revelation hits, I stop and think. Gosh I’ve even gotten goosebumps standing there all wet. But I have come to realize that not all of it sinks in. It’s often like watching runoff after a drenching rain. The earth is parched, but the water runs off. Likewise, my mind is hungry, but only able to take in and digest what it is ready for. But there are times when you are ready… times that stand out as that AHA, I’ve finally gotten it, moment.
  • Do Thumbnails – Yes I mean you! At least three variations.
  • Use a limited palette – That means learning EVERYTHING that primary colors can do.
  • How many greens can you mix? How many variations and temperatures are there in one color family?
  • Tone your board with an overall tone – NOT brilliant orange
Twisted Oak Winery, Sunkissed

That’s what happened when I took my first Kathleen Dunphy workshop this past April/May. I saw how wise counsel, trying it all, and saying “what the heck” can get you. It’s not the vast number of paintings I did (I only did three, and of those would only show two). Rather, it’s the willingness to fail, to throw caution to the wind and try everything she suggested, that brought me the best return. Everything she said I had heard before, read somewhere before and never really accepted.  I figured if it works for her, what the heck? I am so glad that I left my stubbornness at home and really listened. I feel that there is real substance in this approach for me. I am going to give it a good try for a while and just see if there is a difference at all in my work.

Soul Refllections
Here’s to growth. It’s not just for kids you know.