Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A painting in progress and the progress of painting

This painting is inspired by psalm 121: 

   I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? 
  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

This is in progress and there is still much to do before its finished. It is a slow process of learning (again) how to paint. When I was a younger gal without kids and a husband and home to care for, I didn't make art. I was just far too self conscious. Now that the desire to paint is swelling up inside of me so strongly that I can no longer ignore it,  I struggle to find the time. Oh, the irony.

But I am beginning to think that lack of free time is conducive to my creative tendencies! Typically when I first paint or draw something I really dislike it. All I can see are the flaws and my inner critic
picks it apart until there is nothing left but dry bones. I want to walk away from it and never look at it again. Many a time my attempts at art didn't make it past this first stage of creation; I gave up because the created thing looked so foolish and ugly to me.

These days the inner critic doesn't get a lot of opportunity to destroy my art. I paint for a minute or two or an hour at most, but then life calls: the children, dinner, dogs, etc. I must get up and move on. The inner monster might still voice an opinion of disgust over the "ugly" thing I've made but there is no time to dwell on it. Days may go by before I am able to sit down to the painting again. By then, I see it differently: it doesn't look so bad or I see what needs to be done next. Ironically, I think its having the children that has made it possible for me to finish paintings lately. I think I work better in small doses, when I am able to ride the creative impulse with pleasure and get up and move on before the monster of doubt appears to pick it clean. Also, life is very short and moving quickly. I don't want to miss out on the sheer pleasure of making art anymore. I feel very blessed to have a few minutes here and there to add a touch of golden green or a wisp of cloud.

I have given myself the guideline of allowing scripture to inspire my paintings, as a framework and a jumping off point. Its quite wonderful as scripture provides more than enough beautiful points to jump off from. Despite having this structure I still struggle about how to interpret the scriptures into art. I have gone at it three or four different ways now. First, I was painting a scene, then adding the text digitally over the paintings. Although, this is certainly an easy way to do it, I wasn't thrilled with the look of the digitally words over the painting. So recently, I tried hand lettering and making the hand painted words be the focus of the paintings rather than the images. That was unnatural to me and challenging in an unproductive way. I started three paintings over three times each trying to get the words and spacing just right. One painting will never be finished because I abandoned it all together. Now I am back to allowing the visuals drive the painting and I am still meditating on how to incorporate the scripture. What do you think?

Each painting is helping me to get closer to who I am as an artist. With each new painting, I am learning something about what I want to make and what my heart wants to see. This latest painting is the one that feels the most authentic to me. The one that feels closest to what is in me and really wanting to come out. 

No comments:

Post a Comment