Saturday, January 28, 2017

Trusting the chaos

Floral 3
I've started doing quick (for me, that is—one or two days) studies and improvisations. I started with an owl I copied from some photos on the web that appealed to me and that went well enough, after having to re-draw it after I blocked it in, that I decided to try another floral, totally from my imagination. I had a lot of paint left over from the owl, mostly purple, blue, and yellows, so I settled on blue & orange plus purple & yellow. That is not an official color scheme, but I started with it anyway. Along the way I added in some dark yellow green, which seems to have added to the harmony.

I've been wanting to give myself a little more freedom in choosing colors, based on how all the different ways there are to harmonize notes in melodies. Different harmonies convey different emotions, along with implied familiarity, or its opposite, exoticity. This harmony leans toward the exotic, but they're also very common spring colors, and my mind is pretty focused on Spring at this point, hoping to hurry it in a bit.

I collaged a couple paper pattern bits on it, like I did on Hum Day, then tried painting on top of them and made a quick, ugly mess. I let that dry, decided I did want to do a floral, and started again. In the process, I completely covered up the collage, which was fine. I was making shortish, broad strokes, trying to create a nice composition, and that got scary too, as it looked to be turning into another   amateurish mess, when I suddenly thought of Joan Mitchell's flowerscapes. I laughed at myself and decided it was okay to keep playing, just to see what happened. I think about playing at painting a lot,  and I write about it a lot, but I was so afraid of making schlock that I failed to recognize that I was playing. I let go and kept up with the completely non-thinking paint application, and in another couple minutes it started looking like an interesting blocking-in. It's like running down a hill where you can't see what's at the bottom, but it's so fun to run downhill you want to keep going.

So that was the creative part of painting—the scary part where you can't see anything good and you have to trust. Four, five minutes tops, was all it took to see that I had a nice color composition. Then I had to make it look finished. I went through about ten cycles of analyze, paint, analyze, paint over it again—fixing the bad parts, then adding new parts which were also part bad, and fixing those. I was 98% done with it last night, and added a couple tiny bits this morning.

The green strip in the corner was one of those happy accidents. I just wanted to add some more green to the background, and when I held a mat over it, I thought it added immensely to the composition. Without it there, there's just a vase of flowers, but suddenly it's more interesting with that green there as some unknown element in the room. It seems to anchor the flowers into the room, more than the purples in the bouquet do, and throws the darker blue-purple farther back.

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