Thursday, June 28, 2012
Blue Girl of the Wide Open Skies
acrylic on watercolor paper
3" x 4"
Sometimes I want to experiment a little. The other day while I was painting, I liked a stage of underpainting. I have often been attracted to an unfinished looking painting or sketch, there's something about the "developing" feeling that I like. So when I started a new little portrait, I decided to go all the way with the underpainting, allow the off colors to come through... well, no, not come through, to be the painting.
This is part of what it means to me to be free in art. I get a whim, a feeling, an urge, and go with it, even if it isn't the way you're "supposed" to do it.
I feel that this is one way to discover who you are as an artist. I believe that this is what it means to push boundaries or think outside of the box or be creative. When you get a "what if?" question, you try to answer that what if. What if I left off the finishing touches that make it all pretty? What if I let the insides show? What if I didn't use traditional colors. What if I didn't already have the answer?
Another experiment I tried here was with the color.
When I first started my painting every day exercises, I would often reach into my art bag and pull out three paint tubes, and whatever I pulled out would guide my painting for the day. It was fun to just go with the flow and see what would happen when I put the random colors together. Sometimes it was a disaster, but sometimes, using colors that were not my "usual" color preferences opened up whole new worlds for me. It was almost like speaking another language.
I took a chance with the random colors I first pulled out of a bag with this painting, and came up with the blue and a bright yellow. It reminded me of when I was in school and the teacher gave us the challenge of painting only with complimentary colors and white and seeing what we could come up with. So I added orange to my painting and the titan buff.
I like the freedom this experiment gave me. The freedom to break away from what it's supposed to be and to explore exciting interactions of color. The freedom from my usual solutions to representation.
There is a paradox in this freedom I experience, because I have actually set myself up with very tight constraints. I am allowed only four colors. I am allowed only 3" x 4" of space.
And yet, despite the constraints, my imagination is free to try new possibilities, new strategies, new paintings that go beyond where I was before.
Oh, I like this idea of limiting where I can go with a painting. At least until I find myself in a place where I have something definite to say, until I am ready to go deeper into something.
Give it a try. Create based on a narrow theme or with few materials. Try small things, or time limits, and within those constraints, see where your imagination and ingenuity can take you.