the cause of my unhappiness as I sit in a garret without a glass of wine

2 March, 2011 at 11:57 pm (art, blue-eyed crow, life, Uncategorized, work) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

at this stage I still hold out hope

here I'm fatally unhappy with it and call it terrible names

Okay, you probably guessed I’m not really in a garret. But I am sitting in a little upstairs room stewing, without a glass of wine. And can’t step out on the miniature balcony (3′ x 2′) for some fresh air and sprinkling rain because I’ve not tidied and some panels are blocking the door.

Is it bad to post frustration on an artist’s blog? When I read other blogs there are pictures of lovely new works and happy news of openings and sales, which is always nice to read (especially in difficult economic times!).

But tonight I am too irritated to post about the piece I worked on yesterday that I am happy with, because of this blue roof-scape.

It’s not even from a sketch that I was really wild about, I just wanted to complete it to work out some things before I start a piece whose sketch I do love. And after a day out and about I was looking forward to an evening of progress and foolishly put off a friend’s weekly visit to get to it. So instead of pleasant conversation over warm bread, cheese and a glass of wine in the dining room I am grousing over a painted wooden panel and haven’t made so much as a cup of tea.

Part of the frustration, I suppose, is trying to figure out when to give up. I spend a lot of time on colour sketches and usually know for certain when I finish whether I want to go on to paint something or not, so I normally do not find myself spending time on I am not fond of.

And I paint in many layers, so working on something means I am spending a lot of time with it. (I was very happy when I learned that an artist I love (Vija Celmins) works so slowly that museums wait decades to get enough of her work together to put on an exhibition.) By the time the first image above was taken this panel had gone through many incarnations and could still conceivably surpass the original sketch.

But now it’s murky, it doesn’t look like the sketch but is not an improvement on it, and although I have a bit of Renaissance script that was supposed to be the finish it’s currently dark enough that I think I’d have to do too much to make the final layers work.

So, devote more time to this piece? A look at my tiny supply of panels makes me feel less than generous to the uncooperative. But limited time means I don’t want those hours to have been unproductive.

I’ll look at it tomorrow after working a while on another painting, maybe the mood will change.

Edit: Below is how it looked last week, I have since changed it some more.

Permalink Leave a Comment

blue

2 May, 2010 at 11:05 pm (art, blue-eyed crow, life, work) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

This is the current stage of the center of the piece I am working on, it is going slowly.

I’ve been off my groove lately, this has somehow been a very complicated year, and I’ve let things eat away at my work time – a dangerous trend especially since technical problems are also hindering productivity.

These last few days I’ve been re-inspired and mad to work, but found myself instead enjoying spending time and eating (a lot!) with family and friends. Saturday I ate each meal with different people (ending up in an incredibly atmospheric old building full of wandering passages for a delicious dinner), but after lunch today it was time to get serious and focus, which feels great and frustrating at the same time.

The first few hours in the studio I generally spend flailing, the longer I’ve been away the longer I spend lost and wandering before I find the path, but I even resisted the holiday parade going down my street this afternoon and am finally making some progress.

Tomorrow I’ll be getting my little flame thrower fired up, it’s time to layer encaustic.

Permalink Leave a Comment

tulip

15 November, 2009 at 1:16 am (art, blue-eyed crow, work) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

tulipletter

A day of frustration – my materials were not in the mood to do what I wanted today. I knew exactly what I was trying to achieve, but couldn’t get the spark I was going for with the ink, pencil, encaustic and other pigments at hand. I’m sure that, along with the intimidation of a blank page, this is not a rare experience.

Part of my frustration is I’d like to do a couple larger pieces to go along with this series (so far they are 5″x8″, 6″x7″, and smaller – tiny!), but on the bigger pieces things keep warping and going astray. New materials are only 20 minutes away at Dick Blick, but this is not a good time for me to go because I tend to get distracted and find myself with a basket full of gold leaf, sheets of nickel, and a better riveting hammer when that is not what I am supposed to be working on right now.

Permalink Leave a Comment

urn

3 November, 2009 at 12:50 am (art, blue-eyed crow, family, life, Uncategorized, work) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

shutterstroughsa

These are from this summer, all in my mom’s neighbourhood.

I’m working with photos for a few days to distract myself from some technical difficulties with the other series I’ve been working on. I’ve looked around to see if anyone else is doing a similar process with inks, pencil and encaustic, but haven’t seen any, so I’ll go back to experimenting with the propane torches tomorrow. So far nothing big has caught fire or blown up, that’s good anyway.

Earlier this evening I was showing a friend the website of one of my favourite photographers, Michael Eastman – his Cuban and Italian photos are incredible. Then I learned of the death of Roy DeCarava, another amazing photographer. I was trying to pick a few of his photos that I liked best, but it is so hard to choose. This is one of many, and this, and this. They are so evocative.

Now that I have loaded my photos onto this post I’ve decided I don’t like the way they look small. I love how art has such a different effect at different sizes (except when it doesn’t work small on my blog). I spent the day at an art museum with some friends recently, and was loving the difference between various pieces close up and at a distance. And the texture, that fantastic delicate texture of drawings and miniatures, it’s all completely lost in reproduction.

grassurnbells

Permalink 2 Comments

dawn

14 October, 2009 at 5:25 am (art, blue-eyed crow, work) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Xochisun3a

I started this piece with a chalk sketch of a lovely 10-year-old I know. She has a beautiful wavy blond mane and a lovely singing voice, neither of which shows up here. I love her eyebrows, their angle gives her a vulnerable look.

Sometimes when I sit down to compose a new picture I can’t figure out how to start, the visual equivalent of writer’s block, I suppose.  Suddenly I can’t remember how, as if I’d never done it before, and I swear it happens every third time I sit down to sketch out something new – absolutely ridiculous.

After struggling for a couple hours somehow I finally tap into it, then spend the rest of the night sketching out new pieces.  Until when I should be getting up the next morning.

Luckily, there’s the work of creating the final versions before I do it all again.

Permalink Leave a Comment

beams

3 March, 2009 at 6:47 am (art, blue-eyed crow, life, work) (, , , , , , , , , )

cedarbeamcrowa

In all the excitement of the Eglu, I forgot my bag of electronics up north and cannot charge my camera or load any photos of my work.  Very frustrating.  Hopefully it will only be a few weeks till it gets here.

Permalink Leave a Comment

a richness

18 October, 2008 at 7:20 pm (art, work) (, , , )

Frustration!  I haven’t really been productive since moving into my new workspace.  A lot has been going on outside work, and I got another mass of totally different material to create with, and somehow the wealth of everything has paralysed the tinkering.

Hmm, re-reading this, I’m even less articulate than I usually am (hard to imagine that would be possible).  I think I should take a day away to do something completely different (no one expects the Spanish Inquisition!), and resume Monday morning.

Permalink Leave a Comment

virtual geography

16 October, 2008 at 2:41 am (art, work) (, , , , , , , )

I saw a list of blogs that a search engine thought were similar to mine and clicked on one at random and the top post was about the blogger’s paintings being photographed by Eduardo Calderón, whom I’ve known since I was a kid!  I love his photographs, but it’s much nicer when I run into him in person because then we can go to lunch and chat.

The picture is of a shallow etching I am trying to work into a piece.  It is not cooperating.

Permalink Leave a Comment