Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Round Flowers: Stuck for Awhile

Partial view of a painting in progress; temporarily named Round Flowers
I've been asked to document some paintings as they progress so that you can see what changes come about as layers are added and sanded down. Although it may be more wise to post them in retrospect, I'll take my chances and start with this image, a partial view of a 40" x 66" painting. I say "take my chances" because I'm currently at a loss as to where this will go next! There's a good chance that most of what you see will barely be visible in the end, if at all.

This is a nice example to demonstrate the endless decisions that are made during my creative process. Yes, sometimes I do start out with a layout/design in mind. Interestingly, it does give me a starting point, but often changes drastically before the piece is done. Sometimes I just start laying down paint to see where it takes me. That was the case with this particular piece.

As you may imagine, this approach often creates dilemmas. For example, I am pleased with the white circles and drips that suggest flowers and stems. But now I need to decide how much presence they can still have when the whole piece is complete. Sometimes a successful area will get covered up to make it all work. But these predicaments are what makes the process both challenging and rewarding. If I'm not learning something as I go, I lose interest pretty quickly.

This process relies heavily on the ability to sense when a painting is "done". Sometimes I'll have to step back for a few days or even weeks to see everything with fresh eyes. Then I may decide it is indeed done or that it may only need work in a certain area. Or I may have even lost enough momentum that I decide to change the majority of the work and what had been a potentially finished piece becomes a background layer in the next step of the process.

I think I'll be setting this one aside for now. ;-)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Watching Shadows on the Wall

© 2011 Rebecca Lambing
Finally, after over a week of fighting an awful virus that just didn't want to give up, I've re-entered the world again! As fate would have it, my daughter was sick at the same time so I wasn't needed to drive her to all of her obligations. Everything was put on complete hold for both of us. We even missed the undoubtedly adorable trick-or-treaters on our doorstep at Halloween.

It's difficult for me to stop everything and just take care of myself (don't think I'm alone there!). But sometimes there's really no choice. Lying horizontal for days I thought of all the things I wanted to be doing... all the things I wanted to feel well enough to be doing! Instead I mostly just "watched the shadows on the wall". (Also, the Food Network, which helped us to keep up our appetites. If only we could have eaten some of those America's Top Chef creations - yum!)

The image here is a shadow treat I discovered before my eyes. I love the table itself, but what looks like a contour drawing that the shadow creates is even more striking! It's difficult to tell what is sitting on the table, so I'll have to explain. The solid spot is a carved wooden buddha. It's sitting on a handmade doily that was crocheted around and connecting small plastic rings. Does it look like a vase of whimsically drawn flowers to you? That's what I see. The most interesting part to me is how the table appears upside down and the vase of flowers does not. It's actually that tension that makes this composition work beautifully. If the vase were facing the other direction the whole photograph would look upside down. If the table was switched to be coming from the bottom of the picture it would not look nearly as intriguing.

I guess that's what can keep life interesting. The contrasts. The unexpected. Finding the good in what was otherwise a forgotten day. ;-)