Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Attention Span

I've been thinking all day about the differences in the way
artists work. When I was a student my art teachers
encouraged me to sit, sometimes for as much as half
an hour just looking at the model. It was great advice,
but it isn't the way I work anymore. Now I take in my
information in 10 to 15 minute sessions, and that seems
to be how I work the best. That doesn't mean that I never
sit, or stand for an hour or two at the easel, or at a table
drawing. It just means getting away from the work gives
me a space, to both think about the next step, and consider
my direction.

The training probably started when I worked with art
models in a group. They are smart enough to take a break
every 20 minutes or so. This forces the passionate artists
to stand back and consider what's happening, then everyone
goes and gets a cup of tea, talks about something else, and
comes back at the end of the break with renewed vigour.

I did some work on my little painting today.
The light parts will change and become
more interesting. It is still in the
blocking in stage.
acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches

Many artists need long, private hours to produce their
work. Perhaps because raising a family I have always
had distractions, and other obligations, I've learned
not just to work around them, but to need the escape
from what I'm doing, so I can get back to it.

Speaking of which -- thanks for being here, and teaching
me so much.

Have a getting-back-to-it-happily day


Liza Hirst said...

This is a wonderful painting, Barbara! I envy your looseness and strong brushwork - great!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Liza,

Thanks so much. It's far from finished, but your encouragement means the world to me.


Melinda said...

I really like how this painting is developing. Lovely contrasts, great color.

Sometimes a painting is similar to designing a house. It shouldn't be done hastily!

It might be that your have become such a mature 'architect' that you gather information faster and can meditate on it, as well as future elements, as you do other things. Yes, that's being a mom!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

Maybe that's it, or it's the move on factor. Next! Didn't the bathroom floor look like it hadn't been cleaned in a month? Can that really be true? Well isn't this exactly the ideal time to tackle that job, and wait maybe I should just call my mother.

All the while a little voice in my head is saying "settle, settle -- would you just settle and do your work!"

Thanks for your gracious belief in me.


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!