Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Apples and Oranges

A few weeks ago, I created a few still life paintings. One of them came out pretty good (except for a few minor flaws) and the other one was OK but not perfect. There are always going to be issues with the things that I create and I realize that. What one pictures in their mind is not always what comes out on the canvas.  It's disheartening at times to look at a canvas and not see what you expected. Here is a picture of the still life I tried to create:

Here is what I painted. The colors are wrong. The orange slices are not bright enough or even positioned accurately, the background is too dark, the shadows are all messed up.

What I was expecting was that when I looked at it, I'd have this taste of juicy orange slices in my mouth, yet all I tasted was rinds. What happened (besides putting too much white)?  Discouraged, I put it aside and resolved to hold off on painting. "Maybe, I'm not any good at it," I thought. Except I don't think I'm horrible. Being good is not really why I paint in the first place. I paint because it is relaxing and takes my mind off of things. It lets me focus on one thing for one moment rather than on many things at once. So why should I quit?

I let these feelings sit with me a few days. As I looked at the world around me, the universe unfolded it's message to me giving me reasons to not quit. One answer came in the form of a comment on a YouTube video. A few weeks ago, I entered a contest by commenting on an instructional video about how and why to use gesso. Until that point, I had heard about gesso but wasn't sure about what it was for. Because of this instructional video, I can go into the many different ways to use it but I will spare everyone the details and just tell you that gesso can be used as painter's white out.  I forgot about the contest, so I was surprised to learn that I won a huge tub of gesso! So, lesson number one is one can always start over.

Lesson number two came in the form of a Brain Pickings post about Henri Matisse. Again, I knew of him, I'd seen some of his images, but I didn't know much about him. After reading the post, I found out that he started painting in his 40's and was pretty much ridiculed by the art community. It wasn't until he was much older that he received true recognition for his work. For me, again it isn't about recognition, it's about creating for me which is what Matisse wound up doing.

Lesson number three only occurs to me now. With all of the flaws that are in my painting, I failed to see what I did right. The orange slices are odd looking but one can tell what they are. The apple is round and has similar shading to what is in the picture. After showing my painting to a few people, I felt less disappointed. Many people had the impression that while there were some things wrong with it, they could do no better. Therefore, I must be more objective.

Here are the links to the above pages I've mentioned. Happy writing, painting and creating!