Flying Girl Learns to Be in the Moment, or Live the Life You Have
004/100 in 100 Challenge, 6/4/09
Golden Fluid Acrylic and Pen on Moleskine paper, 5x8
Sometimes life laughs at you.
Sometimes it turns out completely different from the way you thought it would. Different from what you are comfortable with.
Sometimes life is challenging. Sometimes it places just the obstacles in front of you that you need to conquer in order to learn and grow and reach your dreams.
We are not amused.
Let me tell you about this painting.
Again, sitting down to watch So You Think You Can Dance last night, I had no ideas for painting in my head. So I thought I'd do the little trick I do in such cases, where I pull blindly some paints from my bag.
The first paint?
Gold. Metallic gold.
Eek I thought, because gold does not reproduce well in photos or prints. But, hey, I actually like to paint with it so, I decided I'd take up the challenge.
Cadmium Yellow Medium. With gold???? Nuh uh, I thought. No way. Clashy city. I wouldn't. So I put it back and dug in once more. Guess what I got?
Yellow. Again. I decided to not fight the color lottery, and instead go with it, although I could not conceive of what I might paint with gold and yellow, maybe the following colors would mitigate it.
Let me list the colors in order of the draw.
and, wait for it....
Holy moly. These are emphatically not my colors. I took out a dark (burnt umber) and a light (titan buff) to mitigate what I thought would be a disaster.
An image of a circle in square pattern came into my mind. I thought the colors could work, perhaps on a small scale pattern on the dress. But I imagined the background just the dark of the umber, with a red underpainting. There's no picture, but that was butt ugly. No offense to butts.
This morning I showed my kids what I had. They gave it the thumbs down. I said, forget it, it's not working, I'll just make the whole thing gold, and gave it a gold background over the dark. As I was painting, I though, hmm... that pattern is still the most interesting thing about this piece, so why not accept it for what it is. Accept the colors I pulled. Accept the weirdness of it... sometimes reminding me of a wall of lights and sometimes reminding me of boobies (I said it was weird). I decided to continue the pattern on the background, only slightly larger and slightly simpler.
And all of a sudden the whole thing went POP!
A little Broadway looking, a little Klimt, a little religious icon, and a lot of zoom.
This painting is out of my element. This painting was a stretch and a struggle. This painting was me allowing myself to be uncomfortable. Allowing my work to be ugly. Taking chances with scary things.
I'm going to take this also as a lesson in life. A lesson about struggle and risk and allowing things to be imperfect and hard. I'm going to believe that if I keep working at it, there will be a moment when life itself goes POP and becomes something bigger than expectations.
I don't know what it means to me as an artist, if I will continue in this direction or smush around a little. I do seem to be drawn towards patterns lately. And perhaps I am inching towards the gold and metallic again (I used to use them more). I don't know what's going on.
It's quite the adventure, quite the challenge.
Just like life.
And it turns out it's good that way.
PS I have taken a break from listing items in my shop, as I realized I was a little over my head with trying to be a full time artist and a full time mom, but I will resume in a little while. And this painting is going to have to be sold as an original, because I will not sell prints of something that does not print well (as metallic gold does NOT.) I'll post when I do a listing.