Sunday, September 3, 2017

Back to Painting Again

It's been a long time coming but I've finally gotten past some obstacles standing in the way of finishing some recent paintings.
When there is no inspiration or time there is little I can do to get the process started again.

When the inspiration becomes clear it is a matter of showing up. The brushes and the colors seem to find their place, I am more like a vessel for the energy to come through into the painting.

I just finished probably my last commission, only because it is really hard to paint on command. I've said that many times and the great thing about a commission is that it causes an artist to use discipline to stay on course.

Teaching painting was another way for me to practice discipline when I was forced to continue when the impetus was weak. You have to work through some of the moments when the image is a bit less clear.

This is another reason why I paint multiple paintings at the same time, I'm not always in the mood or place to do a particular painting.

I've also started doing quick sketches in pastel which is allowing me to be creative without the commitment of a full painting. I have been sketching after every drive in the country and it is starting to become a habit and a way of studying from nature. I love the immediacy of the medium.

I am always at my best when I am painting. It is not something I ever want to say I used to do. It is a part of my life and big part of my future. This is just a preview to the full series that is well on its way.

Child of Ten: Introduction to a series of poems old and new.

The deep depression
Beneath the oaks
Death as a metaphor
In the grip of steel boxes
A life time of words
Bursting forth like seeds
In a garden
Alone in the morning
Listening to the clouds
What will this day become
With the same sense of urgency
The same sense of hush
The Awe of Septembers’ closing ground
The gaping wound that never heals
It just grows deeper
And the soil sinks down
Thirty years now
That space of life
That sculpted mine
Every broad stroke
Every thin line
A reflection in words
He spoke
With a whispered voice
A child of ten
Speaks even now
Thousands of words
A tapestry of lines
And shapes
And I have a child
That carries my name
And he will share his words
And  a voice
An echoe in still pond
And he will be my words
My eyes

Long after I’m gone…..

copyright 2017 Artbygordon

Friday, January 6, 2017

Commission, Discipline, Perfection and Chopin: An Artist Rejuvenation

I am working on a large commission and have had thought of never accepting a commission again.   A bit harsh but it's not that I haven't enjoyed working on it, it's just that I have a hard time painting on demand. I either have the inspiration or vision or don't, if I force it, it rarely works.

I've since changed my thoughts on commissions for several reasons. There is a wonderful aspect to the commission that I have only begun to realize: it's called concentration and discipline.

The only other time I have had to work through distractions was teaching painting. If you are teaching a student, it doesn't matter if you are having a problem with concentration, you have to maintain and teach the class. Discipline of mind is necessary to continue to paint in a scheduled time.

I have a short attention span when it comes to painting, I usually can have an hour with extreme concentration. I can paint longer if I work on multiple paintings because each time you switch to a new painting, it's a bit of a refresh.

An Older Commission

It's a matter of details. When you truly see a subject as it is without short cuts or assumptions, you can really get lost in the small details. I remember a recent student who learned to hate rocks, I feel her pain now in the details of water foaming.

If you look at a large area of foaming water it is a large nondescript white area, but as an artist you need to define the depth and the differences between tone and texture, it is the only way you can capture depth and make the image appear to the viewer in a way that makes sense. Also the colors change and the movements are different, the artist needs to pull these insignificant changes to the eye and make the viewer realize what they are seeing.

When it works, it is quite a magical experience. In this exercise of painting this most recent commission, I have forced myself to push beyond what is acceptable and trying to capture what I actually see. It forces me to see the painting and the subject so much deeper and intensely than I have in the past.

To add another aspect of the creative experience, I have started to listen to Chopin during the process. What I've learned is my lines are sharper and clearer and I stay in the mode longer. I will experiment more with other classical music but I think I'm on to something new.

It's been a difficult year for my art, lots of photography and writing but not as much art. I am excited to see the next series of paintings having more disciplined approaches to my subject, a deeper understanding of what I am actually trying to say and a bit of classical music as the cherry on top. I'm excited to see where the new direction will take my art.