Well, it has been too long since I’ve written. Numerous distractions had kept me from the studio in April: a charity walk with my students; Easter; and most sadly a death in the family. While it does take me a month of Sundays and more to complete a painting, this one, the one I decided to blog about, has taken even longer–with most of that time spent in contemplation rather than in action.
At the art school where I paint, we have the option to leave our paintings hanging on the wall between classes, but I never do. The reality of why is simple: my dad didn’t. I follow in his footsteps. I do what he did. Of course, logically, I know that Dad had the time and the space to paint at home between studio sessions. He was retired when he started there and had an attic space he called “The Garrett” for his painting. I live in an apartment and work full time and then some. I don’t paint between classes. But I wish I could. And, well, Dad took his painting home, so I do too.
I have found, however, that bringing the painting home is good for me nonetheless. I have a table top easel that I leave on a sewing table in the second bedroom/office/exercise room. Every day I see the painting. Some days I even really “look” at it. I think about what I’ve done and what needs to be done: both on a conscious and, more often, subconscious, level. This is an important part of my process: contemplation. While I have less recognition from fellow artists who attend the studio at a different time than I than one who leaves her painting there all week, I internalize what I’m doing and what I need to do. This is what I need at this stage of the game. My painting is for me (and for my father, but that’s a different post). I hope you, the plural you and the individual, enjoy it, praise it even, and hopefully, with this one that is for an auction that will benefit the high school where I teach English, buy it, but the process is for me.
So below are a few more photos of–I cannot call it my current painting anymore, I finished it–my most recent painting. This is the one I started blogging about at the end of March. Slowly, I was able to achieve the depth the entryway embodies and make the colors more vibrant. The details of the door really helped to literally center the view. And then there were the benches and the lines….
As I struggled to make the deadline that this auction has imposed, I found I could not stop fiddling with the benches and the lines. While a few other artists commended me on the shadow across the front hall, with every praise came suggestions for improvements in other areas of the painting. The vertical lines, which are not straight in a photo but should be in a painting, demanded attention; the church pew style benches lining the sides of the hallway insisted on special treatment; the delicate details atop the arch claimed a light touch. On the last possible day to finish, my teacher, JMS, gave a few final pointers including telling me to ignore some of the “advice” of more seasoned artists; she showed me small touches that made big differences, and then, she let me be. I finished it alone.
I am happy with the result. And I hope the bidders at the auction on Saturday are too. Enjoy the photos below of the painting’s progression. I only wish the final result photographed better. There are some things that are better in person.