Monday, September 28, 2015

Painting The Moment

LWR, September, 2015 (Winter Blues)
Seen in this format, it needs tweaking

 
With a pleasant landscape reference in hand, I went down to the studio to select a canvas, paint in the ground and maybe start the rough?  My leg was feeling well enough to stand and pace a bit; I felt confident. I selected a landscape because they're not demanding. No likeness is required. Put in a tree, take out a tree, add some figures, nobody cares. The composition is mine to do with as I please.

I chose a twenty four by twenty four gallery canvas, a fine one I had been saving. For what? The estate sale? I unwrapped it and propped it on the easel.

Winter Blues sketch
Then,  I turned to the paint table and on impulse took Winter Blues down from the ledge above and propped it in front. The landscape could wait. A glance at the sketch aroused an urge to squeeze some paint and attack. Reality had changed. 

 An hour and a half flew by as I angrily pummeled the poor, frazzled looking woman for being old, for being fragile, for having lost the last two months of summer, for the next dreaded winter that looms ahead, for her new fear of an end to all winters possibly being closer than anticipated?

The session was the best time I've had in a long time.  I had painted my truth--not the truth in the mirror, but in the soul, in the moment.  Not a pretty sight.  Not decorative. Not saleable.  But immediately uplifting.    

  

18 comments:

  1. I liked the initial sketch a lot, but sometimes one has to dive in and make desisions, being safe doesn't take us anywhere.
    If you got something out of the experience! Then it was worth it. Hug! =)

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    1. I got a lot out of it: I was painting again. I got rid of some bottled up angst. I explored free wielding a brush and mixing paint directly on the canvas. I explored expressionism in its purist form. Pretty and decorative wasn't my goal.

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  2. WHAT a difference!!! I do like the new version so much more!!! It sounds like your session today was immensely therapeutic :)
    Kathryn

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    1. I like it too! I had no regrets as I left the studio. I was pleased I had made a new move. The painting needs some color corrections, more or less modeling of the forms, but I needed to change my approach. What I had been doing had been stifling.

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  3. I would love to paint "in the moment" !! I love how this turned out and I love the new version more!

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    1. Thanks Hilda. I was apprehensive about showing what I had done with this painting. The first pass had been rough, but this one went way beyond into the zone of taming personal expressionism. I have always liked interacting with a subject in an impulsive way that often entails my feelings towards the subject without regards to what others would think. Good chemistry is always maintained, but prettiness and neatness doesn't count. The idea is my viewpoint. My hero through out my adult years is Willem DeKooning--and over the last weeks, I've grown fond of Frank Auerbach whose work has brought me back to what excited me in the first place: wet into wet paint behaving as it will, happenstance, corrections and rethinking, happy surprises and "now what am I going to do about that"? Painting the moment doesn't take a moment. The first pass was done last winter and sat on that ledge annoying me. It was just a start. I may go into this again? But I am better off putting it back on the ledge and seeing if it moves me to action again or is as finished as it will ever be. Between you and me, paintings of this kind are never finished.

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  4. I felt an upsurge of joy as I read your post. I have experienced the joy of painting "truth" on occasion and I was with you. It is a life-giving, life-affirming experience even with all the troubles you attempted to harness. Worries about the winter, for example, only belong to the living, of course. No estate sale for the canvas, not at all - a fine sketch, and the painting session even better. Good to see.

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    1. Dan this painting session was a joy. It was all me with no thought about what anybody else would think. It was the absolute truth of my feelings. I don't know if I could be that truthful with anyone else's image. People get upset if you don't lie. Caught in the moment makes the best portraits. The rest are boringly pretty (Sargent), commission work--mother didn't look that old. The hell she didn't!

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  5. I enjoy your painting 'in the moment' by just looking at it! Wonderful!

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    1. Thanks Judy. The truth as we see in a subject is what all of us are after. In portrait class I took years ago, the model, a student from the class the instructor asked to sit in for the model who quit, was both sorry and angry she had agreed. The more I painted her, the more I distorted her. I was feeling her emotions; they showed in her features. I painted her as I saw her. I liked the painting; the instructor did not. It wasn't in the classical style, the traditional style. My next portrait was. It wasn't as interesting as the first.

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  6. How wonderful and exhilarating to let go, and paint for the sake of it intuitively. It doesn't happen often, not to me anyway. This is damned good to see!

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    1. It was a liberating sesson. I intend to carry on. I really got sick of scumbling. Of course, free wheeling a loaded brush isn't for the faint of heart or a cantankerous leg. Hopefully, it will be up for another round this weekend. PT seems to think no pain no gain when it comes to the IT band.

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  7. Expressive. Immediate. Energy. You sure got back on the bike with gusto!
    Bravo!
    Glad you are feeling much better.

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    1. After this session I did. I did "rage against the storm." Unfortunately, the storm's not over. A couple of hours or more pinned down unmoving in one position annoyed my right iliotibial band so much the muscles of the quads screamed rebellion. Now I'm spending my time hobbling to PT, taking Tylenol round the clock and icing. Tried drawing, but cool and calm is not my state. Slashing is. I've always been thankful for this God-given asset that's always helped me get through life's travails.

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  8. Hi Linda. Didn't mean to ignore you ... had stacks of health problems this end. Pat finally got a clean bill of health, so hoping things are on the up and up. Looking forward to seeing you in full-action mode soon.

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    1. Not to worry, I haven't noticed. I'm too wrapped up in getting myself back in shape too. Glad to hear Pat is doing well. Aging gracefully is really quite a crock, a luxury few of us are rewarded. It takes drive, determination, tenacity and being strong headed, the same stuff that makes art.

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  9. Fantastic. Self portraits allow us to show our anger at what's happening--I agree, I wouldn't be able to do it to anyone else.

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    1. I've been looking at and reading about Frank Auerbach's work. The immediacy of his work hit home. His portraiture hit home. While I think self portraits allow for this approach, his use of family members and friends as models also made sense. Who else would allow you to let yourself into their portrait than a loved one? Certainly not a paying client. My physical ordeal and how devastated I was by it was an opportunity to let go and work it out. Unfortunately, being a physical painter who must stand and must move while painting ticked off a side effect of lung surgery: stressed out leg muscles and nerves due to being in one position on the operating table for hours. I haven't painted since; I'm too busy going to physical therapy and building my energy level with several short walking sessions throughout the day. Painting will not be a priority till I can stand, walk, back up, dance-- be myself in front of that easel.

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