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Art as a Solitary Endeavor

October 21, 2015

Panels - pristine

As artists we often struggle with the tension between isolation in our studios and the need to collaborate with other artists. This would have been a good week to have an artist or two over for tea — or wine — and ask them for some honest opinions. It’s not that we are necessarily going to follow our friends’ advice, but sometimes we just need a little more courage.

Case in point:  these four 8 x 24″ panels that I’ve started, and to which I have added drips and splatters and then layers of texture.

New Panels 10_19_15

Another day, further development, more texture.

New Panels 10_20_2015

At this point I looked and looked at them off and on for a whole day. Since I was in love with the texture and the play of light and dark contrasts, I was tempted to just let these be finished. That was when I needed someone here to tell me to stop, if that was truly what the paintings needed.

However, I have already committed to an idea, inspired by a triptych that I did a while back in panels of similar dimensions. That triptych is no longer here but I still have a good image of it. Those previous panels were broken up by irregular rectangular shapes, and I’m convinced that is the feeling I want. I don’t want “boring.” I want a little excitement .

Urban Rhythms, Triptych - acrylic on cradled panels, each panel 6 x 24"

Urban Rhythms, Triptych – acrylic on cradled panels, each panel 6 x 24″

So onward and upward I go. It was hard just starting on those beautiful pristine white panels. Now it’s just as hard to proceed from the beautiful backgrounds they’ve become. (Beauty being in the eye of the beholder, right?)

Thanks for being there. I’ll let you know what happens.


28 Comments leave one →
  1. October 21, 2015 2:17 pm

    And they are on their way to perfection! Yes!

  2. ggmissm permalink
    October 21, 2015 3:12 pm

    Martha, you hit on a problem I’ve had, too. I’m a fledgling artist, so I think just getting something on the canvas or board seems brilliant! 😉 But I find that when I get a great (my view) color pattern going, I tend to want to just leave it at that – don’t want to spoil what I’ve got. I find that it takes a big inner push for me to keep going and add the excitement. I’m never disappointed when I do, but each time it seems like a mountain to climb. Thanks so much for your insight here – love what you’re doing…

    • October 21, 2015 4:22 pm

      Molly, it just goes to show that it’s a universal problem. In all my years painting, I can tell you that it doesn’t go away. You just have to tell yourself that “it’s only canvas.” I was encouraged by something I saw in a video recently. If you are using acrylics, you can retard the drying by adding retarding medium to the paints. This gives you time to remove something you don’t like. I didn’t do this with the current paintings I’m working on, but I’ve saved that idea for later.

  3. patqu permalink
    October 21, 2015 5:35 pm

    Martha I love these. The color variations, texture, and the rhythmn speak of great art.
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. October 21, 2015 6:05 pm

    love where you are going…and glad to see the new size canvas, it is one of my favorite sizes margaret

    • October 22, 2015 8:50 am

      Thanks Margaret. I miss being able to just see you and show you the things in person — and to see what you’re up to on a daily basis!

  5. October 21, 2015 7:46 pm

    Oh the joys of balancing alone time in the studio and the company of peers 🙂 I shall be curious to see what you end up with Martha and always a pleasure to stop by.

    • October 22, 2015 8:52 am

      Ahh, nice to see you Terrill! Yes, and the isolation is greater now, which is my fault. I haven’t reached out to local artists the way I should. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Glenda permalink
    October 21, 2015 8:07 pm

    As a viewer, I think they could easily be finished now. But as the artist, you have to stop when it feels right.

    • October 22, 2015 8:52 am

      Thanks for the feedback, Glenda. I agree with you, but it’s the “feels right” part that’s tricky. 😉

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