And I’m right back to that same spot on the shores of Lac Monroe that I love so much! I could paint a million variations of this one view, which is very convenient because I happened to take a metric ton of photos while I was there, so I have reference material for quite some time to come. Last summer’s visit was particularly important because it was our first outing since the beginning of the Pandemic. We were so happy to get out of the city, and so cognizant of the fact that it was probably going to be our only getaway for some time.
Two things I learned with this painting: 1) painting clouds is more challenging than you’d think, and 2) DO NOT rush into overlaying those clouds until you are completely happy with the gradation of the sky behind them. I might tweak a spot or two later on, but for now, I consider this piece done.
I have made some New Year’s resolutions – although not many because, let’s face it, 2020 was an abysmal year, and I think that, on a certain level, it’s enough just to keep going every day. So with that in mind, and with the bar at a very low and comfortable level, I have vowed to devote 15 minutes a day to making art! And it can be anything: digital art, painting on canvas, serious studies, doodles, original work, fanart, commissions, prepping a painting surface, or gathering inspirational images for a future piece. As long as I’ve done something, I can check that day off my calendar. The goal is to have an unbroken line of check marks for the entire month. And so far, so good!
Thanks to the pandemic, I have been permanently ensconced in my dining room since March while my husband has taken over the office/studio. I really hesitated to break out the paints because the only space left in the house for artmaking was, well, right back in the dining room, and I felt that I was already spending enough of my waking hours there – not to mention the slow and insidious breaking down of the boundary between work and home that is a feature of Life these days. Mentally, how would I make the separation? If I’m sitting down at my easel, would I feel guilty and be unable to work if I heard that tell-tale “ping” from the computer letting me know that a Teams message has just arrived? If I crack open the water-soluble oils, will the smell of linseed oil (which I’m not a fan of) linger long after I’d done a final clean-up and make it harder for me to concentrate on my job the next day?
Thankfully, none of this has turned out to be a problem! Windows can be opened to clear out the smell of the linseed oil, and computer speakers can be turned off to ensure a peaceful studio (it helps that my co-workers also want to reclaim their lives outside of work, so the threat of urgent e-mails at 9pm isn’t really a thing after all). If anything, I find myself turning away from the computer every now and then throughout the day and looking longingly at my easel! (If any of my co-workers are reading this, you now know why I occasionally turn my head screen right and gaze wistfully into the middle-distance…)
I think we can dispense with all pretense that I’m in any way keeping up with the “30 Paintings in 30 Days” challenge. So now that that’s out of the way, let me just say that this is my favourite “hair painting” so far. Not only did I let myself get carried away with details (so much for “daily” painting), but bonus! I also took the reference photo myself, so, FINALLY, I can claim to have created an original painting. Many thanks to my lovely and patient model, S-A, who’s probably convinced by now that she works with weirdos.
Ever had that one painting that just refuses to die cooperate? Well, for me, it’s this b*tch right here. It’s my fault, really: I drove her off the lot without any clear idea of where I wanted to take her. Honestly, her face has about a litre of paint on it! Memo to me: pre-production is your friend! (Or, to borrow an example from my former industry, computer animation: be like unto Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds”, not “Pirates of the Caribbean”)
Anyways, I am officially pretending that she never happened at all and will now move on to something else. Huzzah!
Back in January, I started listening to a lot of art-related podcasts while I set up my studio. One of the subjects that kept coming up was the value of daily painting. The idea is that by painting small canvasses every day (or nearly every day), you could not only increase your productivity (obviously), but also give a serious boost to your skills. That sounded like a win-win situation to me, so one week in February, I armed myself with a bunch of 8″ x 10″ panels and went to town (or rather, to work). Behold the results:
I always knew that I wanted to focus on the figure in my artwork, but seeing as I didn’t have a posse of models at my disposal, I decided to try landscapes instead. I suppose I could have simply painted images from fashion magazines, but I kinda have a problem with straight reproductions. If you didn’t have an actual hand in composing the original image, I think that merely copying it is a bit of a rip-off (unless you specify that it’s just a study).
All of these paintings were done from my own photos of our Best. Trip. EVER – a 2-week Xmas camping vacation through the South Island of New Zealand about 10 years ago. We were living in Wellington at the time and decided to stay in the Antipodes over Xmas instead of hemorrhaging money on a trip back to Canada (my family’s in Montreal, his is in St. John’s, so, yeah… complicated).
So what did I learn from this little experiment? A few things:
producing a finished product every day makes you feel AWESOME
every painting is a chance to try something new
every painting is a chance to fail, and that is a-ok
landscapes, while I do enjoy them, are not something I want to do for the rest of my art career
Have you ever experimented with daily painting? Did you love it or hate it? And most importantly: what did you learn from it?