After I finished Learning Jazz and Sunset at Patricia Lake, I was feeling really good about how things were progressing, both in terms of what I have been producing and the speed at which I’ve been able to finish things. Of course, the holiday break certainly helped but finishing 2 large paintings (that I really like) in just over 3 weeks is a pretty big deal for me.
So, a couple of weeks ago I started on a new small painting (mostly because I’d run out of canvas). I worked on it for about a week to the point where it was “finished” and decided it was awful. Or at least boring. So I put it away and started something else. Same result. I began to get quite discouraged and frustrated. (ya I know, a couple of weeks isn’t exactly a huge creative block but I didn’t like it…at all.)
One of the problems I’m having when starting a new painting, is thinking too much about it. I’ve been reluctant to revisit themes and styles of the things I’ve done in the past (other than landscapes). I’ve been having a lot of fun trying out new styles, techniques and themes but maybe too much fun. I’m not sure if I can expect to have something -completely- original every single time I start a new work. I don’t want to end up painting the same thing over & over again, but worrying too much about it was stopping me from doing anything at all.
Finally last Friday, I decided to head to the art store and pick up a roll of canvas. Maybe my problem has been trying to paint too small. I find I really like to paint big (well, that’s relative, but big for my condo studio). While I was there, I looked through the Williamsburg Oil paints. I love the depth of colours from this company. They’re pretty much the only paints I want to use these days. Williamsburg actually uses the real paint to show the colour on the outside of the tube unlike most who simply have a CMYK printed close approximation. You can actually see the brush strokes. Even so, actually seeing the colour in the tube is super important. I picked up a tube of Cadmium Yellow Extra Deep and furtively took the cap off. Inside was this glorious deep yellow, almost orange pigment that just glowed. I also picked up a tube of Egyptian purple which looks black in the tube but is deep, deep purple. I picked up my roll of canvas and walked out of the store $200 lighter (2 tubes of paint & some canvas – thank goodness for holiday gift cards!)
As soon as I got home, I went up and put some of the Cadmium Yellow on the pallet, picked up a medium, round brush and made a couple of curved strokes. Then I added some of the Egyptian violet. I knew exactly what I was going to do within a few minutes. This was going to be another in my SDO Project series. I’d been avoiding doing something like this so as to “not repeat myself” but as has happened before, the paint (specifically, the Cadmium Yellow, Extra Deep) was telling me what to do.
By Friday Night I had the basic outline complete and by this morning (Wednesday), it’s finished. I’m really happy with it. Like my first SDO project painting, CME #1, this is an abstract of a solar flare. My interpretation of something that the SDO spacecraft sees on a regular basis. As with CME #1, people have commented they have seen all sorts of things in the painting; a bird, a dragon, a lion, people dancing?! I was going to name the work “CME #2 [What I think it looks like]” But I’ve decided I’ll let the viewer decide what they see without me pushing them in one direction with the title. As I said to Twitter friend Denise, the great thing about art is that there is no correct answer.
Footnote: Just as I was finishing this yesterday, I noticed that the SDO Spacecraft just returned it’s 100 millionth (!!) image of the sun. I guess I have a lot of material I can work from.