Wednesday, December 29, 2010
This posting strays from my usual subject matter, yet might be of interest to those who are making resolutions at this time of year. It is intended as only a temporary detour from my normal nature writings.
For those of you who have been watching my progress at www.100paintingschallenge.com/ you have probably noticed I’m nearing my goal, i.e. 100 quick paintings in a 12 month period. I started January 30 of this year, so I’m on target. Sometimes it has been a challenge to keep up, but I have learned a lot in the process. It has been well worth the effort. I realize that often a quick sketch is more alive than something I’ve slaved over. Light and mood do wonders for a piece of art. I’ve learned a lot about new materials and realize I need to learn a lot more. Part of me will be sad when I finish my 100th painting, and part of me will take a deep breath and be glad. I’ll feel I have time to do a few serious works of art along with my writing and sketching.
Meanwhile, Laure Ferlita, who manages the Challenge ,wrote a nice posting on her blog ( www.paintedthoughtsblog.blogspot.com/ -- Dec. 28 post) challenging artists to put some thought into what they want to accomplish in the coming year. …. And to post it on our blog. She nudged me to go beyond my comfort zone. Ouch!
I chewed on the idea for awhile. At first I drew a blank as to what new goal I wanted to set. Then, while I was sketching last night, it came to me. I had just finished the Clark’s grebe with chicks. I don’t fault how well it is drawn, but I did feel disappointed in myself that I had picked such a static pose. A drawing becomes a work of art when it has life. ‘Life’ doesn’t necessarily mean action. There can be life in something that is sound asleep. There can be life in just a few squiggly lines. ‘Life’ happens when there is a little extra sparkle in there which makes the subject alive. I feel sometimes I get it, and sometimes I don’t. But I should always be aiming for it! Sometimes I need to let loose a little, and not get hung up in detail and accuracy. The aim is to capture both life and accuracy … and to do that I need to practice drawing, …..practice….. practice, but not just practice. Stretch my limits. Try for mood, action, light; whatever will give the drawing life. Feel O.K. about the failures. Be one of those artists who believes it takes 10,000 mistakes to really learn …. And start sticking my neck out far enough to make more of those mistakes. My early journals are full of what I call ‘encyclopedia drawings.’ The drawings in my later journals are much more interesting. Drawing is my fundamental building block. There is a lot more for me to learn. … so my goal is to draw regularly (I do already), but to do more of it and to put more thought into what I want to accomplish.
That means more field sketching .... more drawing from our wonderful collection of photographs .... and I can even draw from published photographs 'just for practice.'
And so I drew the dancing grebes today……. Both grebe drawings are from our photos taken during our day with them in Klamath Falls early last summer.