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Going with the Flow

September 3, 2009

Cosmos 1 Sm

“Cosmos I” – Acrylic on Panel, 16 x 16 x 2″

Oh my, I just read back through this blog and found an entry describing what’s happening in the studio today, and it was written almost exactly a year ago! Some things never change.

The creative and fun part of this project is done, after working till 1 a.m. and then a couple more hours this morning. The 12 paintings are tweaked and completed to my satisfaction, and now comes the not fun part of putting on the wires, making a dozen photographs, creating an inventory sheet for the gallery, and boxing everything up for shipping, then delivering them to Fedex.

It’s a huge feeling of accomplishment. When I’m working in a series such as this, sometimes I feel more strongly about specific ones. But these worked out fairly painlessly this time, and I’m happy with all of them.

Not that I didn’t have some struggles. There were two that I had to beat into submission. Underpaintings that I had laid down were interfering with where the paintings wanted to go, and in both instances I ended up basically covering up almost everything and starting over.

It almost always works out that making a drastic change, such as slopping on a big blob of a startling new color or covering up a huge portion of the image will free up a piece to become what it wanted to be in the first place.

I know this already, but have to re-learn it every now and then. If I just go with the flow, a painting will tell me what it wants. But some require more of me than others. I love that dialogue. It’s the essence of the creative process for me.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. September 3, 2009 6:39 pm

    I love your process description…so true that it is a dialogue with the painting. I’m painting full time now which makes it possible for me to be in the right place mentally to make abstract work…because I can really listen to what the painting is telling me. I still have a lot of unsuccessful paintings though, so I’m going to pull them out and just “slop on a big blob of shocking new color.”

    Am also interested in how you photography your paintings. I scan my small representational work which is my bread and butter, but my abstract work is getting larger and larger and it will be expensive to take them to a photographer …do you have a separate space that is always set up with proper lighting etc?

    I am a new subscriber and am really enjoying your blog.

    • September 4, 2009 8:22 am

      Linda, thank you for subscribing to my blog. It’s nice that you can paint full time. The time to “be there” mentally is a great gift.

      For photographing my paintings, I have a regular 6.3 megapixel point and shoot digital camera, which I use with a tripod. Most of my photographs come out well with artificial light in the studio, with all the windows. But outside is best, under filtered light.

      I do pay a professional if I want to produce prints. But that’s rare now.

  2. September 3, 2009 4:42 pm

    Beautiful painting, Martha. So true that we continue to forget that some work will flow easily and others just will not. Of course, it makes you appreciate the times of the ‘flow’.

  3. Sandra permalink
    September 3, 2009 6:08 pm

    Going with the flow would make a wonderful title for a series. You’ve obviously worked miracles to get 12 large paintings with the amount of texture and detail finished in such a short time. I love this one and if you’re taking photos hopefully we’ll see the others too. It is reassuring that “proper artists” occasionally have to start over, too.

    • September 4, 2009 8:14 am

      Sandra, thanks for the good words. And for the ideas for series titles! How about “miracles?” 🙂

  4. Jill permalink
    September 3, 2009 7:40 pm

    I miss you guys, and I have been thinking about you everyday. I am sorry I haven’t called…I’m finally getting all settled at my new place and started with school and work. It’s still no excuse – I miss you too much. We have to talk VERY soon.
    Love you and I hope everything is awesome in the new place!!!

    • September 4, 2009 8:23 am

      Hey Jill! Thanks for poking your head up from all you’ve been doing. We miss you and can’t wait for you to visit. It’s truly awesome!!

  5. September 4, 2009 1:04 am

    Sometimes we have to struggle and fight with a painting…it would just get boring if it was so easy all the time and once in a while you need a battle.

  6. September 4, 2009 6:33 am

    Hey Martha –
    I just wanted to let you know you’re not the only one who covers up what you may have spent many many hours working on just to start over. Of course, in my case, I would have spent many many less hours prior to the great coverup IF I had just listened, really listened to the piece. Still, sometimes, I think that colors and images that no one can see anymore still have something to give to the piece, you know? Aside from the pseudo-spiritualness of you knowing what’s under all that paint, sometimes those things give the new layer a lot of character. Still, I’m a stubborn one and it takes a lot for me to ‘give up’ and start over. Which is silly. It’s not giving up really, it’s allowing the pleasurable part of creating to come back in.

    It’s just nice for me to read your blog and realize, again and again, that even experienced artists still have the same struggles. Or I guess, that they should, IF they’re continuing to explore and learn and actually put a piece of themselves/theirselves (?) into each piece instead of following a rote system of production. I love the palette and texture in your work and a little meanie part of me is slightly not-sad that you still struggle here and there on a piece. The bigger nice part of me is happy that you are putting art in the world.

    Have a great holiday weekend!

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