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Making Studies For New Paintings

January 4, 2009


As you may know, I like to just paint in an intuitive way without a plan and see what develops. But sometimes I get stuck and need a little kick start. Meanwhile, there are probably a dozen small square paintings in the studio in various stages of completion, some of them without a real direction yet.

So yesterday I created these little digital studies inspired by earlier paintings. This really helps me see possibilities for where to go next. The problem is that it was late last night when I did them, so I couldn’t sleep as my brain kept working on them further. The grown-up practical voice in my head kept saying  “Get back to sleep — you can’t paint right now! You know dog feeding and potty time comes early, weekend or no weekend. ”

Am I the only one with this problem?

Hope you’re having a great Sunday so far.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 4, 2009 1:47 pm

    These are great just as they are! I’d love to know how you set your “quota” for painting. I think I get overly invested in each little work and am (therefore) drained and uninspired to do another.
    Oh, and yes, I definitely have shifted my sleep wake cycle over the past 3 weeks. Tomorrow morning is going to be tough.

  2. January 4, 2009 5:50 pm


    I’ve just had some time off from work and spent a lot of it painting. I did find myself continuing to work on various starts in my head as I tried to sleep. Unusual for me but maybe caused by spending more time with painting than normal. I wonder how much we end up working some of this out in our unconscious or dream states that we may not even remember.

  3. January 4, 2009 6:11 pm

    PainterWoman, I don’t know the answer to that. Or maybe I should say I don’t set a quota for painting. It happens as it happens. Sometimes I need to produce work for a gallery that wants more paintings, which is the case right now. So that keeps me motivated to paint even when I might find reasons to do something else. And sleep/wake cycles! Yes, that is going to be a problem now after the holidays!

    Bob, I suspect there is a lot more that goes on beneath the surface than we are aware of. I do believe in the collective unconscious — the source of all inspiration.

  4. January 4, 2009 8:14 pm

    I certainly find my ability ‘to turn it off’ is directly related to how the work is going. If I’m in a state where I’m comfortable, things going well, I sleep like a a baby. If I have a lot to do …and feeling a bit overwhelmed- I’m sleep deprived.

    It looks like it’s going to be terrific series and with a lot more bold primary tones than what you’ve been doing. Best of luck with it, Martha.


  5. January 5, 2009 12:17 am

    Vikki, I sure can relate to that. A nice manageable work load always helps. But then there are times, when little (or big?) breakthroughs happen, that it’s useless to try to sleep. This has been one of those times. Maybe I should write more about this.

    As for the color, I definitely think it’s time for a few more primaries here and there. We could all use a lift!

  6. January 5, 2009 7:10 am

    oh Martha – your post made me laugh a little…I do my best (and sometimes only) art work when I’m dreaming!

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