Oil and Gasoline
It's so hard to write about art. It's much easier to write about the PROCESS of art.
Forever, I have been following the visions that are before me and trying to record them. This seemed to serve me well all along and I never really deviated from this idea. Ma nature has done it perfectly, why try to improve it?
Plein air was my passion. Botanical studies imperative. After years of painting nature from life I started to really feel like a failure. No matter what I painted, or how hard I tried, I just could not seem to get it Right. Or Perfect.
I began to lose faith. I mean it's hard to keep spending hours at a time working on something, feeling okay about it most of the time, and then at the end feel like I didn't succeed. I began to feel stupid for trying.
Time to change it up, I said to myself. How about painting in different colors? Feminist style?! Pinks, reds, yellows, salmon, colors that ma nature didn't use in her splendor. Fauvists were my new heroes.
I still used nature as my direct reference, but instead I worked with photographs of my favorite spots. Photoshop was my favorite color altering tool and I started to use them more often in my practice.
I saw some measure of change in this mode. I liked going against the grain, not following the rules. But I still had so many of them. Only oil, only with a grisaille, no thinner, no mediums, only on canvas, only from nature, only from the photo... it was endless.
And yet I still felt like I was failing. My pieces looked stiff. Contrived. And certainly not like reality, not like the photo.
Damn I was just pissed off. Feeling dumb again for continuing to paint at all with this lame success rate. I talked to my husband and told him I just think I will hike instead. This painting is just making me have an inferiority problem.
He told me I should paint what I want, because I want and when I wanted. Seemed like good advice. So I decided to follow it.
This meant no more painting from reality. It is time to paint from my mind. Good bye photo reference. Good bye plein air. Use your memory. Good bye canvas, and goodbye grisaille. I grabbed the an end roll of newsprint from the day job and decided I was working BIG.
AT about the same time, I was reading a lot about Emily Carr. How she painted in the wilderness, armed with manila paper, oil paints and gasoline. The idea of roughing it really appealed to me and honestly I can't continue to paint unless I can cheapen the process
I tacked up a huge piece of newsprint. I poured some mineral spirits into a cup. I thinned the hell out of the paint. I closed my eyes for a moment and felt the scene I was to paint. It was a place that doesn't exist, but yet I feel like I have been there before. And it began. A brand new process. And some Brand New Work!
So exciting!!! I finally feel like I succeeded!! The painting has new lines, new movement and vibrancy.... This new mode is making me burst. I feel like I cannot wait to get back to the work, finish the piece, start another.
THIS is what I was waiting for. All My Life.