Saturday, April 21, 2007

Another Beginning

Here's the underpainting for the third of my "Neighborhood Paintings." I wanted these irises to be large and dramatic, so I chose a 16 x 20 art board. I like to work from dark to light, so this first stage will tend to be rather dark. I think it's a good beginning, considering I didn't start painting really until later in the day.

Today (Saturday) I had every good intention of starting early, and I hit the ground running (after sleeping an hour later than usual) at 7:30 this morning, got dressed, kissed my still slumbering husband, drank some o.j., fed the cats, took Trixie for our morning walk and upon returning made some coffee, dragged my easel to my favorite spot in in front of the windows, sketched the outline of the new painting onto the board, and then promptly engaged in about four hours of what we artists fondly refer to as "avoidance activity."

I went into the living room to retrieve my reading (and painting) glasses, and it suddenly hit me that the coffee table, which has been in the same sorry state of chaos since roughly Valentine's day, could not wait one more second before being restored to order. Cleaning off the coffee table also included going through a stack of Country Living, Country Home and Cottage Living magazines and cutting out pages I wanted to keep before throwing them away ...

As I was sitting down to prepare my palette, it occurred to me that since I was about to use my fourth-to-last art board, and I only had a tube and a half of Titanium White left, I'd better order art supplies right away, which meant sitting down at the computer and of course while I was at it I might as well check my email, read a blog or two, check the bank balance, pay a couple of bills ...

So now it's time for lunch, another outing with Trixie, and an in-depth discussion with my husband about what items we might need at Target since he's going there anyway to pick up a prescription. Then a phone conversation with my brother. Then a quick walk a couple of houses down to my neighbor Penny's house to refresh my memory with a look at the irises in real life again, even though I had seen them at least four times a day every day for the past three weeks.

And FINALLY sitting down to paint, I look at the time and it's 2:30.

It's pretty much the same thing with every new painting. Why do I do this? I love to paint. God has given me great joy in this work. When I have other things I'm obligated to do, I can hardly wait until painting time is here. And thinking about doing a new piece is really exciting to me, so why on earth do I delay each new beginning? After all these years it's still a big mystery to me. At least with practice and the good Lord's help I've whittled the avoidance time from weeks down to hours. That's something I guess!


Leslie Pease said...

Although you say it's just the beginning it looks done to me. As if the flowers are sititng in the morning air.

I know what you mean about starting a new paintig and the procrastination that accompanies! I have such problems setting down. I figure it's because the first couple of strokes are amigious and somewhat ugly -- phase that usually has me questioning everything...

Later in the painting when things look better, that's when I feel better and it's a delight to tickle and tweak.

The worst feeling is when the painting is done. It's like reading the last page of a really good book; "Now it's over!"

That's when a whole new set of emotions kick in... What to paint next? Will it be as fun and successful as the last?


Karen Mathison Schmidt said...

Thanks, Leslie! I like the thought of these flowers in the early morning just waiting for the first rays of the sun.

I feel the same way as you do when a painting is done - but I do love starting a new one! Don't you just love all the ups and downs of making art? Guess that's why we can't help doing it! :)