Friday, August 23, 2013

I Don't Believe It For a Minute!


Many more brushstrokes than 37

37 brushstrokes doesn't give you much
in the way of excitement.
I gave the 37 brushstrokes a try this morning and I got as far as the painting on the right.  Not far enough for me.  I concluded the thirty seven strokes were done on a 5 x 7 or 8 x 10 canvas, something tiny.  The subject was also simple--a pumpkin, if I recall, was the illustration in Genn's previous newsletter.  When choosing my subject this morning, yesterday's results from the 40 minute exercise made me realize that portraits are not to be used for these blockage breaker techniques.  Still lifes and landscapes would be better.

I chose pastries.  By the time lunch rolled around, I realized my choice was too complicated.  The simpler the still life, the better.  I spent the afternoon doing many brushstrokes more to get the featured painting. The good of this exercise was that I did reach a degree of finish that would satisfy others who like an abstract feel.  As for me, I learned I am a traditionalist.  While I love gestural work--working loose, I need many gestures to satisfy my need for discernible  form.

Painting exercises like these as well as all the sketching we do are great for keeping in shape. For a painting with quality though, I do like taking my time with the brush and allowing for in between observation periods to take a more critical, less emotional,  look at what I've been doing. With oils, I like those in between times to allow for some drying too. I do favor linseed oil half and half with mineral spirits as the medium.  Mineral spirits alone may dry faster, but because they do, they lack some blending benefits that linseed oil allows.

NOTE:  I am loving 11 x 14 for daily exercises. The canvases are big enough where my brushstrokes do not flip off the edges too much. I get the bounce I like as I pounce.

ALSO: I did take a few minutes today to soften Ellis and do some correcting on my charcoal study.  Watching it over the last couple of days, errors that needed correction did show up.  I guess slow and steady is my modes operand um.


23 comments:

  1. I think it's well done I have never counted me paint strokes found it quite funny hugs Danielle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too--BUT if you have painter's block, it is a good way to break it--better than the 37 minute exercise I think.

      Delete
  2. I love how you always pushes yourself, eager to learn and grow. You are a real inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well aren't you curious to see what 37 strokes produces? I was. I had to try it. And I'm not so sure I was honest. I might have over stroked around those pink pastries on the top shelf? I do think that if Painter's block gets you, this is a good way out using any thing laying around the house as a still life subject.

      Delete
  3. I love the experiment and I agree with you, it has to be a small painting. Looks real yummy, Linda! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It definitely has to be a small painting OR YOU HAVE TO USE HOUSE PAINTERS' BRUSHES. Hardly anything I would do. Oil paint is too costly. :-)) I think I chose pastries because this was an exercise for the fun of it.

      Delete
  4. Well, so much for the 37 brush strokes. Must have been the subject. It is still intriguing though, I'm going to count my stokes next time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A coffee cup, an egg, a pumpkin, one thing, maybe two, as long as they are simple.

      Delete
  5. 37 minutes, which Genn cites first, seems to offer a more reasonable challenge. Not that I've even managed to do that!! I assume that provides at least a limited membership in the club. Great that you tried the challenge - when I read his newsletter I didn't even consider so few strokes - no way - the time limit seemed better.

    I feel recalcitrant. Your blog so deserves wonderful comments, and I've popped in and out here and there without commenting because I am always on my cell phone which isn't as wordy as I am and have been kind of absent on multiple levels.

    I love the double portrait with Ellis - what an expression on his face!!! Priceless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dan. I did a bit more simplifying on that sketch of Ellis and me and the likeness got much better--good enough to frame and hang in The L.W.Roth Museum :-))

      It's just an exercise, a bit of fun when new practice canvases are delivered and you're dying to practice.

      Delete
  6. I could not achieve that in 3700 strokes, so I remain impressed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks JJ but I couldn't write 3700 words that made sense that I'd be satisfied with in a month. We each have our talents.

      Delete
  7. I also prefer your more finished piece. Agree that time/brushstroke limits are instructive. You are inspiring me to think about painting again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a good exercise, but also a side step from the paintings I've been allowing to percolate.

      Delete
  8. Replies
    1. It was pure curiosity and a whole stack of new practice canvases that made me give it a try. No need to be impressed, just a need to see how something works. This exercise does.

      Delete
  9. Love your persistence in the pursuit of perfection. Not sure I am that far engaged with painting yet. "Ellis and Me" is a really happy work that seems, to me, as if you enjoyed doing it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did. This one gets hung. As for the exercise, I think there's a place for it in the artist's bag. It does get you to see what's important and what isn't very quickly.

      Delete
  10. I want those pastries! ---I think if you ever get 'blocked'---you should just paint desserts. You're awfully good at it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you can't eat them, paint them. Thanks Celeste; they are fun. I don't think artists get blocked. I think we get discouraged from lack of validation and the thoughts that that puts in our head like: what am I doing this for? For the fun/love of it isn't enough some days. A little atta boy recognitions ill usually break the despair--OR A PIECE OF PIE ALA MODE OF COURSE. :-)))

      Delete
  11. I thoroughly enjoy your choice of pastry as subject matter - for short studies and for finished paintings! I read the Robert Genn newsletter also but haven't tried the 37 strokes yet. I did try counting the strokes in the paintings he displayed on his website though - that may have been enough of an exercise for me. I agree with your comment "... I need many gestures to satisfy my need for discernible form." As do I.
    Glad you are enjoying the 11x14 canvas size.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't think to do that. So? How many strokes were in that pumpkin painting? What was the overall size? What size brush? These are the questions, this skeptic thought to ask. Then I decided, I didn't care. The idea of breaking a block by limiting ones brushstroke and setting a very short time limit is worthwhile. You could say the block I had lasted forty years with just enough breakthroughs to paint when I needed a painting to finish the decor of a room. Then, I got cancer at the same time the housing market was going to shite. What better time to pull out the canvases and brushes and paint? The block was lifted by circumstances. BUT I ALWAYS DREW THROUGHOUT IT ALL. I do like 11x14 for practice play. Beyond play: 16 is a number.

      Delete
  12. I love both works Linda! Great idea to continue with more strokes!
    Art is so wonderful! The artist gets to choose! You make great choices. I love your art and I very much enjoy your writing!
    Both these very successful pieces evoke emotion! Luscious comes to mind for the featured work. The 37 stroke painting evokes a calmness for me. I enjoy you blog very much Linda! Thanks for posting!
    Your art buddy!
    Michael

    ReplyDelete