I’ve managed to free up Mondays through the fall for making art. Today’s Monday began with a glowing pink and orange sunrise which made way for our standard fall showers. We need the rain and it is the perfect studio weather. I am learning how to paint again.
I’ve never focused on landscape painting this intensely before and am finding it quite a challenge. The confidence I have with other mediums and subject matter slips away and I find myself doubting this direction. However, I want to paint landscapes. Well. So I continue.
What I really want to do is to paint landscapes en plein air. But for now, for the fall, I practice in the studio, prepare and gather tools for launching myself outdoors and watch the environment around me with an eye for light, value and composition. Learning to paint is one thing. Developing a personal style is another. The studio wall will house the paintings which show some progression, so I don’t get too discouraged. I am determined.
After art school I had the pleasure of sharing a studio with a couple other graduates. We had an amazing loft space in pre-gentrification Gastown in Vancouver with high-ceilings, exposed brick walls, 24/7 access… ah, those were the days. I had plenty of free time to make art while working a job (versus a career) but with the limited income to match, of course. During that time I created a series of large-scale figurative oil paintings. Walking in to that space, smelling the oils and turps and knowing I could relax in to the time and art process was heavenly. The social and critical aspect of that time is something I miss.
Since then I haven’t really sunk myself into working with oils until now. These days I carve out chunks of my holiday time to focus on creating art (but I do have the income to match!). This summer I took a week to delve back into oils; choosing and setting up a limited palette, getting my small space organized for painting (vs. sculpting) and choosing imagery. I also spent time looking at the work of other artists for inspiration, including the amazing skill of Jim McVicker. He. Is. Amazing.
I’m not yet prepared to do oils en plein air, so studio work was in order. The other part of my holidays was filled with the joy of exploring Maui, therefore I had a lot of landscape images to choose from. The 4 pieces I created each show my progress to once again feeling comfortable with oils and sinking my teeth into landscape painting (see below). I am very excited about this direction and though I can be fickle with my mediums, I intend to stay with this for at least the fall. 🙂
While life and space and some of the smells have changed (mineral spirits vs. turps), the feeling, challenge and pleasure of working in oils has returned. I always receive useful feedback from my artist-husband Andrew, but I am going to figure out how to get away from work to join a local plein air group once a week to create some spontaneous pieces and have that social and critical aspect again. Until then, let’s paint!