With all the enthusiasm of a New year’s diet, at the start of January, I vowed to throw myself into judgement-free artmaking. The plan was (and still is!) to produce like nobody’s business, and at the end of the year – HOPEFULLY – end up with a massive output of art from which I will be able to detect certain patterns, like “what subject matter do I gravitate towards?”, “what colours do I use most often?”, and most importantly “what am I trying to say with my art?”. I know, I know… the pressure to have the Big Questions answered kinda short-circuits the whole “judgment-free” thing, but “Quantity Leads to Quality” and all that jazz…
Part of my plan also involves experimenting with different artistic approaches. My Pinterest account has an Inspiration page filled to the brim with figurative art, and quite a lot of it is done with large areas of flat colour, something I find completely fascinating but have never really attempted to do myself. And that’s how this portrait came to be! Going against my detail-oriented ways was both scary and exhilarating, but ultimately, I’m undecided about the success of this piece. On the one hand, it got me out of my comfort zone (which was the point), but on the other hand, doing it made me feel like I was wearing someone else’s identity. So maybe… I should do this more often? 😉
When I saw this young woman’s portrait (so-called “Cleveland” because I think it came from the Cleveland Municipal Archives), I just knew that I had to breathe some colour into her. Surely this is a woman who would have had no problem asking for, nay, demanding equal pay! Or maybe I’m projecting a little bit…
Another day, another re-paint! While I try to summon the courage to break away from digital art and actually pick up a paintbrush, I’m indulging in re-painting some of my older digital landscapes. It’s not entirely fair for me to disparage my old work and say “Wow! Look how much I’ve learned” because those first landscapes were just supposed to be quick studies done over my lunch hour (like I don’t spend enough time staring at a screen, right?). But with time, those early studies have started to look pretty clunky, and, quite frankly, a little embarrassing. I’m not saying that I’m going to give my entire portfolio a do-over, but… maybe a few pieces here and there.
I’ve never attempted a landscape dominated by a great expanse of rippling water before, and now I know why: painting it was a dreadfully tedious pursuit! AND YET, after a particularly wrenching week of work, forcing myself to solve the problem of how to paint all those ripples turned out be a great stress reliever (well, actually, more like a STRESSFUL stress-reliever, if you catch my drift)! Who knew? There were plenty of times when I thought I was in over my head, but seeing the final result, I’m glad I took the plunge. Sometimes, all you can do is just dive right in (and also “just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”).
(Sorry for the terrible water-related puns, but I just couldn’t help myself) 😉
After my self-portrait, I had a little spate of bad luck art-wise. While January was a really productive month, February has been one failed art experiment after another. I’m also trying to pep-talk myself back into picking up an actual paint brush and committing to a decent-sized canvas, but it’s slow-going for now. I’ve had this digital re-paint of my very first acrylic paint from 2016 on the back-burner for a few months now, and because it’s good for morale to actually FINISH things, this seemed like the perfect time to wrap it up.
When I look back on the original painting, I’m struck by how every single brush stroke looks nervous and hesitant. I had internalized so much negativity from my time at art school that it’s a miracle I’d managed to paint anything at all. I may not be as productive, nor as consistent, as I’d like to be, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come since this first painting.