Paint Out Loud...the story behind the art
This is a preview of a new painting that will be available at my SoloShow October 11. "Blue Evening" Acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30.
I have been painting, painting for the past 3 months. It is interesting that when you consistently and I mean really consistently, paint everyday, things change.
When I paint like this I begin to recognize patterns...in the way I start, in the way the strokes look. It becomes more automatic. Is that good? Well, I think so.
Why would it be good to be in automatic drive while painting? It seems that it would be better to be hyper-aware of everything you are doing. Paying attention to what you want to happen on the canvas.
But for me I don't want to be aware. When I am painting in auto-drive, I am just letting things happen. I am putting color and texture down and letting them do their thing. This is my right brain, where the creativity happens. Where I fully connect with the brush in my hand, the colors sliding over the canvas. This is where I allow some patiently waiting Guide to appear and start the process of creating a beautiful piece of original art.
I love it when I am there, and generally these paintings turn out the best.
Eventually I will have to allow my left brain to take over. That is when I have to make decisions about the painting - what to leave, what to take out, how to connect elements, and look at the canvas with a critical eye.
Because I am painting so much, I am getting better and better about slipping into auto-drive to get started. Then at some point, I become very intentional about what is developing on the canvas and begin to pull it all together.
My Solo Art Show is October 11 in Asheville, NC. I am inviting you to attend. If you can't get here there will be a pre-show online sale of the art and you can purchase online. Go here for more info:
Making Art is personal, and to create something that is truly satisfying the artist must find their own voice.
What the heck does that mean? Something I have fought with for years - making something that the viewer will like (and purchase) versus making something that really feels to me that it comes from me. It is challenging to me to hear myself, my inner self, over all the voices in my head - and I am sure I am not the only one that enjoys that pat on the back.
So how do I know when I am painting something that comes from inside me? How do I know when I have shut out all the voices that are telling me about the other art that is successful and so I need to create a version of that? Let me know when you have the answer to that, will you?
The best answer I have come up with is pretty new for me, and it comes to me as a result of painting consistently over the past 3 years. As I worked and worked on my version of "successful" art, one day I had a body experience. Like the way your body reacts when it is in danger. In the middle of a painting, I actually could not go any further and I felt like I wanted to run away from what I was doing.
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Not a good time for this either, because I have a big solo show coming up in October. I need to be producing. But my body said NO! And I could not make myself paint.
So for the past 2 months I have been looking at lots of things and I have been experimenting, and I took the pressure off of myself.
I started painting again a week ago. And the way I know I am on the right path is because when I was working on this new painting, my heart lifted. I felt energetic and I felt satisfied and I felt good.
Not to say that a masterpiece was created - no...but I had fun, and I used colors and marks and brushstrokes that really felt like me.
I am accepting myself and the way I like to paint. This is my voice. It is not philosophical, there is not a great message to the world, but it feels right to me. And that is really all I have and all I can do. I cannot know what would make you happy - what would make you love my paintings (and buy a painting).
So, I'm going for it. I don't think it will be easy - because those voices in my head can get really loud. So we'll see.
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Painting seems like so much fun and relaxing when you are looking at the finished result. Most of the time I find it challenging, frustrating, exhausting. Sometimes not so much fun. Bummer.
So why do I do it? Good question, and one that I ask myself often. Working hard to be a painter is not any different than what a vocalist does, or a musician, a writer or any kind of master craftsman. Practice, practice, practice. But there has to be some drive to express, to put your mark down, to uncover your uniqueness, and finding that way and excelling in it ...is quite, well, challenging.
I love the materials I work with, and I seem to be driven by a desire to use color and then I also love texture. The paint is totally a physically beautiful substance, and in my work I want to let the paint and color and texture be the star.
So I look for subjects that will allow those elements to show off. And I have to deliver them and somehow put them together as a pleasing, exciting, wonderful piece of art. Something that you will look at again and again. Something that makes you want to take this fabulous canvas home so that you can explore it more and more.
How does the artist do this? Good question. For myself, I believe that part of the lessons I am supposed to learn from this chosen path is to dig down and find what it unique in me - what entered the world with me and now I am finding a way to share it.
I always say that I do not have political or philosophical meaning behind my paintings, but, you know, the process of painting, for me, is political and philosophical. It is the method that forces me to look into myself and it is the method that I use to present myself to the world.
So I am committed to finding ways of painting that are spontaneous, unexpected and impulsive. That is where I feel my gifts are. And then I take those bursts and I make them into something beautiful...that's what I want to do.
I'm starting a new painting - and I am going to work on a canvas that has about 3 failed paintings on it. Maybe the canvas is doomed - I don't know - but it has lots of great texture on it and often that can be a good way to start.
Sometimes, however, it just won't work - and if that happens this one will be tossed. Poor canvas can only hold so much paint.
So with high hopes for a successful day - here I go.
It is oil paint on the canvas and so it has to be oil paint to continue. Which is fine - I have been working in oils consistently for about 2 years and I like it.
I do think about some of the easy things with acrylics but in some ways I would have to learn again, so I'm sticking with oil paint for a while.
Continue to Part 2 here:
So I add paint to what is there, I scrape with palette knives, I stand back and look. I am building a painting.
I am working from a photo, however at some point, I leave the photo behind and make the images work on the canvas. That is when it really becomes mine - and that is one of the goals. I like to start with an image - it gives me a place to go - but I am not interested in copying. It is up to me to find ways to let go and make the piece become mine.
The piece has lots of nice marks, scrapings and I make even more. I don't like to be careful. I want you to see that this is paint on canvas. It is made with hands using wonderful tools, and it is an interpretation of color and shape and form.
I check to make sure I have a focal point - which can be a large or small area - but it needs to be a place that your eye sees and goes to first. Then there needs to be significant color changes, shape changes, size changes - something to lead your eye around the painting.
I like the variation in the color - I like where I have scraped through. Is it finished?
Did you see Part 1? Go here: https://www.nandavisart.com/paint-out-loud/painting-over-a-failed-painting-part-1
I never worry about capturing the reflection perfectly, just the essence. I am not a mathematician for sure. I want you to feel the shimmer of the water reflection, to enjoy the colors from the trees and light and darks reflected.
This is a large canvas which makes it even more fun for me. There was plenty of room on the canvas for me to smear and brush and scrape. And the paint and marks and scrapes began to take on a life. I love the light peaking through the trees, and where the reflection in the water has such wonderful changes. I really enjoyed painting this.
Light and Dark - that is what it is all about.
"In Sunshine and In Shadow"
Oil on canvas
36 x 48
Click here to see the details.
What is lovelier than a tree? There is a famous poem about that. I love them too and I have several wonderful paintings of trees. I am now offering them as art prints on Fine Art America, in different sizes, and you can even get tote bags and throw pillows with those images.
Here are some of the available images below. Please use the link below and visit my website on Fine Art America.