Tuesday, October 1, 2013

..Establishing productive breathing space (Soxy's portrait)

It's been forever (okay, a year and a half) since I've posted on this!

Life and art have intervened, as well as a new house in the Arizona desert.  Last year, I tried to split my time between Colorado and Arizona.  That's still a work in progress, but it's a really fun project--I have joined the Sonoran Artists' Guild and have a few series in progress that draw on the Sonoran desert for my inspiration.

Like this place--this is about 3 miles from our Arizona house!  Pretty fabulous, no?

In the meantime, I've been WAY busy, painting custom portraits of animals.  I have the most wonderful clients and models in the world and I'm really happy with what I'm doing!  And I have work lined up through next summer.

Of course, I've found that type of workload can have its downside...I'm a bit concerned about keeping my work fresh for my clients, as well as myself.  I am afraid of the bizarre but distinct reality that I might get burned out painting dog jowls! So I'm becoming a bit more selective about the projects I take on and making it a priority to schedule time for non-custom work.

The thing that got me to do this was SOXY'S PORTRAIT!

Here's the backstory...a celebrity hired me to paint five of the family's dogs.

(WOO HOO!  I was totally excited!)

It's a long-term project, that's for sure.  We are doing some photo re-shoots on 3 of the dogs, and I am 1/5 of the way finished with the paintings.  But Soxy, number 2 of 5, has been thwarting me FOR MONTHS.  To start with, she's totally camera-shy, which I think you might be able to tell from her expression..here's her portrait thus far:

It's alright.  The likeness is there and I think she has something to say, even with this rather sad pose...but it's not finished and THIS PAINTING IS DRIVING ME CRAZY!!!  I AM LOSING MY EXCITEMENT ABOUT THE PROJECT.

So what happened last month was that, rather than stare fruitlessly at Soxy's unhappy mug every morning, I would avoid going into the studio altogether.  And I would get into NetFlix instead.

And we all know that is the slippery slope to hell because even the third terrible season of Battlestar Galactica (the one where Starbuck and Apollo actually GET TOGETHER and then everyone does things that are ridiculously out of character) is better than looking at Soxy and not knowing how to fix her portrait.  I can tell you from personal experience that there is A LOT of junk on NetFlix preferable to failing again at Soxy.

Finally I pulled the NetFlix plug. Then I got into my Kindle and got sucked into the entire "The Mortal Instruments" series.  And it is NOT A GREAT SERIES.  I should have known that when Stephenie Meyer puffed it on the series because Stephenie Meyer and I have VERY DIFFERENT ideas about what good writing is.  But it is still kind of addictive in the same way that cotton candy is.

And still preferable to Soxy.


Finally, I weaned myself from all the electronic distractions and pulled out a bunch of different art materials I had lying around.  I just RUINED my entire patio table by sloshing/spattering these very intense watercolors/metallic inks/copper and gold leaf around in several experiments.  And I had a total blast and have been more productive in the past two weeks than all last month!

Here are the first two results.  (The actual pieces are not on the backing material; I have been playing with ideas about matting them, since I learned how to mat pieces in the past month too--and THAT was also an experience in which I started out being hilariously, incomparably bad and gradually have evolved to being less bad...)

 This one's called "Mantle" and has many, many layers of watercolor, ink, and copper leaf.  I love how translucent and metallic it is!  Plus I feel like it has a heavy presence.  There are ink spatters on it that make it feel a bit like granite to me.

The next one is called "Altitude" and was very different--very light and atmospheric compared to "Mantle."  Just some translucent watercolor with more intense patterns...I think they came out somewhat like trees, although to be honest with you, I was thinking of an EKG feed when I painted them.

Anyhow, I'm interested in these and I feel like my creative energies are renewed a bit from doing them!

At least it's better than NetFlix!

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