Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Light and Shadow, day 3

I'm finally starting to feel some strength when I paint.  What I mean by that is that I'm learning how to use the materials more effectively.  Before I had to be very careful and pay oh-so-much attention to get each detail just right.  Now I'm starting to know better which brush to use, which color, how to apply it, how to get the effect I want.  I can do that with pastels, but, until now, I couldn't with oils.  I'm certainly not al the way there yet, but today as I was painting, I felt loose and capable and free to apply paint more rashly, recognizing that I can fix a mistake if I make one, but that probably the strokes I make will be right and interesting and will more likely work than not.  Maybe it's how an athlete feels when he/she finally starts to feel some mastery over his/her body's ability to run/dance/do the shot put, etc.  I've never had that kind of ability.  My strengths have been more limited to intellectual pursuits like memorizing or understanding Algebra or learning German.  It's exciting to be developing another skill fully.  As my mother, who's an excellent art teacher, says, "Practice, patience, and persistence is all it really takes to be a good artist."  There's much to that.

This week I hope to learn to paint plein aire - see if I can come to understand waves and how they move so I can paint them from life.  Painting from a photograph is substantially easier.  Everything is laid out for me in a photo.  In real life, things change constantly, especially the light, and with something like waves, there's no way to stop the motion for even a fraction of a second.  That takes understanding what's happening so I can represent it on the canvas.

I think I'll spend lots of time meditating on the ocean and the waves and the sand and sky.  It sounds like heaven to me.

This piece certainly isn't finished, but I'm happy with the progress I made.  I got the hands and face done a lot more and made the shadows and arm lok better.  I'm excited to get back to it when I get back from the beach.  It'll be nice to have that to look forward to since I'll probably not really want to come back otherwise!

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