Friday, October 10, 2008

Cheerful struggle

I'm a subscriber to Mike Dooley's Notes from the Universe,
and do believe that, "it's not hard, it is working." But my little
portrait of the mother and baby is making me crazy.
Not severely crazy -- just-- well, I've spent tonight working
on it, and a few minutes last night before I went to bed
after marking all night. I incorporated Theresa Rankin's
suggestions, which improved it greatly. But that
baby has an awkward, medieval feeling -- not what
I want.

Is it time to open my huge Mary Cassatt book, or to paint
over that painting?

I'm not opposed to struggle. The back story to almost
every successful portrait commission (in my terms
-- i.e. I liked the painting, and I thought it was a decent
representation of the sitter) had moments of triumph over
that failure to gel. But every now and then with my
other paintings I quit. I take a good, long, hard look
at what I've done, and back off. I put it away, and then get
the thing out a few weeks, or months later. Sometimes the
solution is an instant no-brainer, and the painting makes it
into the light -- gets on a wall. But sometimes
that sucker gets a good thick coat of a new background
colour and starts over.

I have never regretted that decision -- thought, 'Yow,
I shouldn't have covered that almost Michelangelo,
that just shy of a Vermeer work.' I've felt the way
you feel when the break up is in the way of
your happiness. That wonderful "goodbye
kid!" feeling. A quick breath of relief and a loud
cry in the heart -- 'Next!!!!'

Another cranky woman sketch
from the Tuesday night figure class
acrylic on watercolour paper

The painting tonight is the head from a figure
I painted at my Tuesday night class. She's a bit
stern for my tastes, but she'd have no trouble
looking through my portfolio and tossing the
stinking fish into the garbage.

Have a letting-go-of-garbage-paintings day,
combined with a welcoming-super-work day.

No comments:

Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at:
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!