Tootsie started…

I loved the way the sunshine hit her face as she was looking up.

As I was putting down the basic sketch, I was using pencil rather than charcoal, and was working in a more detailed way.  Normally, I just throw down some charcoal lines and go, but I was kind of getting into it.  This canvas is 20″ x 24″ – which is smaller than I’ve been working, and I was reminded of how much I loved doing smaller, more detailed work.  I wanted to just sit and use tiny brushes and be anal.  It also made me want to just draw, which I haven’t done in, um… years.

Tootsie is an awesome, happy little Pit Bull.  Maybe it’s not so coincidental that I chose to start this at a time when McDonald’s issued a new ad saying that it’s safer to eat Chicken McNuggets than to pet a Pit Bull (which is, of course, completely ludicrous on so many levels).

Anyway, I’ll pet Toots any day over eating a box of toxic crap.

fun with experimentation…

So, in stepping up to the easel… one night I just suck, and the next I’m completely in the zone. I know that this is just how it is for all artists, but what is up with that?

Because I’m hiking or walking dogs all day, I paint at night. I also love NPR, so I often combine the two and listen to On Point or Terry Gross or the Moth Radio Hour or whatever is on. I love them (until BBC News comes on and I run to turn it off before I develop a facial tic).

The thing is, if you allow yourself to paint without any talking, your brain goes into this beta-mode kind of thing where it’s like a waking meditation.  Hard to explain, but it’s like you have absolutely no conscious control over your thoughts, and they’re just below consciousness.  I assume it has something to do with the left brain shutting down and allowing the right to kind of take over, but…  I don’t know.  I should probably dust off one of the books I have in the bookshelf dealing with creativity and the brain.

Anyway, I’m wondering if what I’m listening to is influencing my painting.  Am I forcing my left brain to butt in when my right wants my whole head to itself?  What if, instead of listening to a show on, say, some scientific theory, I have Verdi playing in the background? Hmm.

I’m sure Harvard has done some study on this, but I need to see for myself…

I’ll report back.

Clare, Finished ~ I think

I say finished, but really, it’s more a case of me needing to move on.  I could spend an eternity on every painting, always seeing the details that were added wrong or differently than intended or perhaps never even added, at all.  There is always a correction to be made, another brushstroke to be added.  But these things will niggle at the insides of my brain in the deep of the night if I don’t just put them to rest.

There are certainly things that could be corrected or improved or added, here.  And maybe I will…  it’s not signed, yet.  But for now, I need to focus on another painting.

Goodnight, Clare.

Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.
Edgar Degas

Sometimes, I approach the canvas with a clear objective in mind, knowing exactly what I’m going to work on – be it a corner of the canvas or a feature of a face or whatever.  Other times, I have absolutely no clue.  Just step up and see what happens, letting it form and evolve kind of organically.  And, yep – it’s the latter approach that yields the best results.

Clare Progression

Hm.  Had meant to post more updates as the painting was progressing.  Now it’s almost done.  Oops.

It’s interesting to me that as a holistic practitioner, I am trained to see the whole body – or, the sum of its parts – rather than focusing on just a part; and yet, in painting, I find myself in a zone where I am seeing only one part and working on only one part with no regard for how it fits into the whole.  An interesting dichotomy, and one which I need to correct.

Anyway, Clare still needs her muzzle done, and I’m hoping to finish this painting before Christmas.