Thursday, June 04, 2009

Flying Girl Learns to Be in the Moment, or Live the Life You Have

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.

Damn Life.

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.

2nd paint?

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.

Metallic Gold,
Cad Yellow
Naples Yellow.
Primary Magenta.

and, wait for it....

Quinacridone Violet.

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.


ina said...

Ha! I was just wishing last night that I had some gold to paint with!

I really appreciate the way you describe your process. I am working up to that, but so far, what I say about my work sounds like whining!

Admittedly, it is only day 4, but I'm enjoying this 100 in 100! Thanks again for ringleading me :-)

Tess said...

Isn't it strange how this happens sometimes - with life as well as with paintings.

I like the idea of pulling colours out at random, might try that.

Leah said...

I enjoy painting with gold too. I just love, love, love that you did a bit of a color lottery. I've done that sort of thing before too and it can be enlightening!

She does seem to reflect a bit of the feeling from SYTYCD (which I watched last night too.) Interesting how that works isn't it?

Amanda Fall - PersistentGreen said...

Love this post! Thank you for sharing your process. I'm definitely a "color lottery" kinda gal, and have come up with some odd combos..but sometimes those are the best in the long run.

The funny thing is, though, this is one of my favorites from you--and possibly something you never would have tried otherwise. I love that you kept working it until that "aha" moment. Klimt is definitely right on for this piece.

aquamaureen said...

I am not at all a goldy person, yet I LOVE this one--it definitely does POP. But Rowena, I think I like your words this time even more than the painting. Thank you for taking the time to share the process--What you share is so much more than how that painting came to life. It helps me. (P. S. I so agree: "we are not amused"!!!)

Leone said...

As soon as I saw this picture, I thought, "wow, those colours are great." You are so brave to carry on and use them. The colour lottery sounds really scarey to me but maybe I'll try it one day. Your pictures are so much fun, they make me smile. The silver fish scales sound beautiful, I would love to see the real picture. I love using gold as well expecially gold leaf. Thanks for your positive and suppportive comments on my creations. It really helps to be able to show my pictures.

Marta said...

I understand the full-time mom/art thing. Take a break.

And the point you make here is important. Keep going and POP! You just never know until you're there.

Anonymous said...

sorry for the coming crazyness, but this site works as my byble. (is that spelled right?) so, at night i surf the web, come here (one of my favs) and somehow u/ur work translate what has happen or what i should be left thinking of the whole day. weird.great.magic

ps, sorry and thank u so much
ps2: i may have mispelled words or something, i actually speaks spanish
ps3, im a ginger so i LOVE when the day/life/lesson comes with one of this gals as a teacher

Lauren said...

beautiful image. love it.

Natasha said...

I love the new piece, how you created it and most of all your words...I needed them today...I gobbled them up life has felt more put together and yet more messy than ever recently...I took a much needed time out ...balancing full-time Mom and writer/artist got to me...I'm still sorting but realizing that I just need to keep creating...I just need to move forward with "the work" or "play" whatever that is....and then I can think about the POP....thank you Rowena for always inspiring me ....

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