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Friday, February 13, 2015

I Had A Job I liked. I Got Another One I Love

 Maggie is progressing slowly; graphite, 6 x 8", TMDD Series.
There's lots of measurement lines  and fine innuendos with this Dame.
Look close, you'll see them.

The only place we have ultimate control in our lives is on the drawing or the canvas in front of us. 

You know how many years it's taken me to figure that out?  For decades, I couldn't--no, wouldn't--accept I had very little, nearly no control over anything.  As life hit me with its ho-hums, joys and sorrows at  times that couldn't be predicted and were often inconvenient,  I gradually got the message.  I admit, I was a slow learner. I didn't want to know. I rebelled.  I used my art for that and slashed away at canvases saying I was expressing myself--painting intuitively--giving my impressions of what was going on. Art released tension. Art was therapeutic. It took me to another place where I was in command and my command was "let's see what happens when I do this?" Free association restored balance and produced some curious things, original things that were strictly mine. 

The  abandoned landscape I pulled to paint on as
the mood struck.  The carefree kid is bound to wake up
at times and want to play.
Into my old age, just two weeks now, I've put that kid to bed and entered into the world of  explicit control in the only things I do have complete control, drawings and paintings-- and what's for dinner?   It's a slow paced world.  It's tedious.  But it's steady, comfortable, a good outcome is assured and  that's rewarding.  I like the systematic approach--the fact that there are strategic points and angels--and they must be what they are, or the subject is not the subject.  I like moving methodically in the studio between mixing the absolutely right color, painting in a controlled way, backing up and squinting a lot, cleaning my brushes a lot more, knowing cotton jersey rags are so much better than paper towels and Murphy Oil Soap cleans brush and clothing in a flash.   I like the order at a time in my life when anything can happen anytime. --I like knowing I am a traditional, classical, portrait/figure oriented painter--only took five years!

The knowing, suddenly very clear,  is what got me back into my studio yesterday.  Ruby is ready for painting in.  I have a subdued variations of aqua mixed for Erin's bathing suit.  I have a painting to fool around with when scumbling gets to be too much. Like the work I choose to do, I am a work in progress--and that's why we never really finish a painting; our viewpoint is always changing.

Erin in progress.  Yesterday's square inch or three of interest was the shadow of the arm resting on her tankini top.
The actual color of her top is electric aqua,  I've toned in down, just as I toned down the beach blanket.
No one wants a portrait of their kid that screams.  I get better results scumbling with softer,
synthetic brushes, than I do with bristle brushes.



  1. Old age in two weeks? Are you rebelling again? Your work does not seem too Grandma Moses-like.

    1. Yes. I entered my middle years when I turned fifty five--at least that's when I said okay, I'm middle aged. Since then, I've noticed that the ravages of time are a doubling and it's very possible I've entered old age., but I'm not too sure. I haven't suddenly turned quaint and started painting cows and sheep and the family homestead.

    2. I am very lucky. I was blessed with a 200-year lifespan, and I intend to sleep the second hundred.

    3. ME TOO! It's been a fabulous adventure and will be a fabulous adventure. Unfortunately not for my beloved, who claims no life after. I told him. He's right--for those who do not believe, not for those who do. I'm feeling playful today. Yesterday was a total disaster. Today, the sun is shining. The most remarkable thing is we are constantly changing--as long as we are open to change and curious about what's next.

  2. Very philosophical today, Linda, but nice to see you've harnessed the illusion of control.

    Who was who said happiness is an illusion we use to stop seeing life as it really is? Whatever ... I think you, young lady, are liable to rebel into paint flying dynamics at a moments whim.... old age indeed. ;0)

    I am always living for the next painting/drawing. the one I'm doing is always an ambivalent wrestle ...which I can't wait to finish.

    It's like writing poetry...
    ... you get this beautiful idea, fight with it until you hate it and then (as Dylan Thomas said) know that any success that results is a pure accident!

    But we continue, knowing that one we might, we might just do something controlled from beginning to end ans achieve exactly what we set out to achieve

    1. My middle son has his doctorate in philosophy. He's an apple that didn't fall far from the tree--none of them did. I love seeing how the choices we make are exactly the choices we wanted to make when we needed to make them. ;-)) For all I know, today, will be the day I'm full of shite tomorrow? But there is something I like about working this way that suits me nicely at this time. Tomorrow, I could change direction, for my needs will have changed. Our next painting, drawing will be our finest--it's what keeps us going. I also know, that when I think I've really messed things up, that's when things come together. I do trust myself. It's a great state of being. --and no painting/drawing is ever finished, for we are never finished evolving. I'm counting on that.

  3. Oh wow - between you and John I dare not say too much. You both have covered it all...and then some!
    verrrry interesting.
    I like the way you quietened down the aqua. And guess what I think is fabulous on your drawing - the HAIR! Brilliant.

    1. Oh throw in your two cents! It's just sounding out.

      Maggie's hair has highlights. Just when I was thinking of giving up on my double process hair coloring, I decide to draw her. Her hair at her age suggests maybe I should color a few years more. --there are wisps of bangs in blond on her forehead that disappear into her shin tones. They have to be more prominent, yet still a suggestion, to make her her. Today maybe? This drawing might make it to the couch with me? I find her to be more than a thirty minute, now an hour, scribble and very entertaining. :-))

      I awoke a few minutes ago to no heat in the house and 8 degrees outside. Today is not promising all things good.

  4. The operating range of people seems reduced by passing years ...
    The time spent drawing painting,study around this, it seems to me the most beautiful time. I wanted to be so during youth, but it is also nice now. Often I understand with my head, things that my hands will do much after. It 'amazing to see that I can know something perfectly, then I will not be able to do, with the best will.
    The solution will come suddenly, when my hands one day will want, kindly obey my brain ... this has already happened and it will happen again, I hope to have time to understand with my hands all that I need, for paint ,what I want , really how I want it.

    I love follow your thoughts and your art work. I write my comment , after reading post, but before reading other comments, so I am happily naive,sometime but spontaneous .
    Have nice Valentine day,my dear Linda.

    1. What I might not have said clearly, is that it's really nice, after five years exploring the artist I knew I was, I have found the artist I might have been had I chosen the Fine Art path. I always wondered about it. It's nice to know portraiture in the traditional style suits my drafting abilities, my nature and holds my interest. It's also nice to know, that the path I did choose (architectural design) was the right one. Not only did I love standing in a finished space I designed from concept to completion, but I was well compensated.. Fine Art as a livelihood annoys me. Either I don't understand it or I understand it too well. I never met an artist who was totally sufficient by their art alone. The Fine Art artist must teach to pay the bills. They write books and make videos to supplement income. They give demonstrations and somewhere in between all that they paint twenty some paintings to exhibit at galleries or sell at art fairs on the walls and in bins of their own collapsible structure that they supply after renting space and making the trip in their van. The business looks gruesome to me. At this point in time, I'd love to have a skill that could supplement retirement, but this one is too tough to start peddling now and I get angry--at the way of things and myself for my bad attitude. So I gift the stuff. The receiver is happy and I'm happy I've made them so, plus it's out of my storage area. You do set me off Rita. Now I better get started on my gift card designs for next years holidays. Hugs always.

  5. I'm with Julie. you have said it all. I love the moment when you have taken an idea as far as you can, so you stop and say 'NEXT.............?'

    1. Me too. I am so glad I got rid off the self doubt and have taken on the attitude that that's as far as I can go with this one, on to the next! I hate the suffering artist thing. Never happy with their work, always looking to correct. It's just a picture for goodness sakes!