Fresh Eyes.

August 4, 2011

Knowing what you see and Painting what you See is only part of the equation.

As an artist, I paint.  I record moments in history or life on a visual plane using the medium of watercolor and oil paint.  I have been on consistent painting schedule completing a small painting a day for most of  2 months straight.  Wow!  really? Then Life tripped into my studio and I have been a bit side lined prepping for shows and trying to endure our summer heat.

I just checked the studio thermometer, it’s 9:31pm and its a cool 97.3 degrees out there.  Did I mention that we are at voluntary power conservation here in Texas with our record triple digit temps.  So in contrast to 100+ temps 97 could be cool.  But not advisable studio conditions.  Those kinds of temps create lots of havoc trying to paint not to mention how it responds during the application.  Excessive temperatures be it heat or cold, really discourages long spells at the easel.  Even my water-soluble oils are limited to how much I will work with them in poor conditions.  And watercolors just want to evaporate and buckle just as quickly. No to mention the heat has an adverse effect to getting proper ventilation and air movement in a west-facing garage.

It does not thrill me to know the difficulties that await when I resume my mixing/painting routine, to regain the ground and consistency I am looking for in my work.  But it does lend more time to meddle in the mind and what to do with the precious time I can devote out there.

So back to my point here.  Fresh Eyes.

Required time away from the studio easel can be a positive.  It gives me a chance to see the progress in my paintings and determine if what I have actually painted matches or represents what I intended.  Did I capture and reflect the light and subject the way I wanted.  Are the values and shapes reading clearly to relate what I saw, what I felt, more than just what I know.

I will freely admit I have a difficult time putting the paint brush down and stepping away from the easel.  Perhaps even at the risk of ruining the painting, all to often.  I’m still learning my limits and effective processes.  But as an Artist I still have to step back and really look at what I have done and evaluate it for what it is.  Somehow I must remain objective and critical of my own work to achieve a credible visual recording.

No, the Texas heat is not an ideal set back in my studio schedule.

On the bright side I am able to look at some unfinished pieces with fresh eyes to determine what I need to do to finish them!  I’m hopeful I can grab a few hours to get some more fresh paint moving soon. Even if it just watercolors and only for a brief spell, between life commitments.

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