Sunday, December 19, 2010

What's UP in the Studio- Switching Gears to a New Painting......VERY LONG!

I am almost ready to go back to my tulip painting, after studying it for a bit I think I know where I want to go with them.  It's funny or weird that as an artist, I'll focus on working at one kind of subject or style, only to find myself moving beyond it to other things.  When I started painting again 3 years ago, I didn't want to paint people, I wanted to paint flowers!  We'd been living in the Caribbean for 7 years and tho' there are many charms of living on an island, tropical flowers really don't do anything for me!  So I was obsessed with roses, and pansies and oh the TULIPS.......and so, that's where the flower thing came from.
At this point in my life, I'd also kind of forgotten HOW to paint so I needed an easy subject that I could paint over and over again as I relearned how to "see" the colors and textures and shape relationships.....
This was my first attempt and though you probably can't tell what kind of flower it is; it was during my "Moonflower obsession".....I can definitely see a difference in where I was as an artist at that point.  These pieces are much "flatter" than what I do now.  I suppose at that time, I was looking to create exact replicas from my references.  Not very creative, but I felt it was useful for what my goal was at the time- remembering HOW to paint, create good compositions, and building a body of work.
I think I've come a ways in my color choices- this remains my least favorite of any painting I have EVER done!

In my mind, this Nasturtium piece was where the "lights came back on" for me and I really turned a corner with the quality of my work.  I was finally seeing some improvement!  Even though, I was still not making progress with creativity at this point- I was getting closer to my goals :)
These two, were a bit "daring" for me at that point in that I started moving away from matching exact color palettes to my references and began using my own color choices whether they were part of the reference or not.   It's also where I became a bit more abstract in my comps- less concerned with the flower being recognizable as what KIND of flower it was and more interested in the shapes, colors and inflections of light.

This is probably my favorite of my flower paintigns.  It's also the last flower I did where I was completely inspired to DO a flower as my subject.  BUT I was at a loss as to what direction I wanted to move towards.  And for me, it's really important to paint on a regular basis, whether I'm inspired or not.  So, I kept doing flowers, and more flowers, always waiting for inspiration to lead me where I wanted to be- even though I didn't know where that was!

One of the reasons I joined my Etsy team, Inspiration Avenue was in hopes of being guided towards new areas in my paintings......I was still feeling so uninspired.  I knew I wanted to change, but HOW?
This was from an IA challenge, and the first painting that sparked a glimmer of recognition that I was moving in the right direction for me- it felt RIGHT and poured off the brush onto the canvas.  I wasn't worried so much about detail- I just knew I wanted light and movement- the suggestion of a garden....

After that, I went back to more flowers, and more flowers......and some MORE flowers- always waiting for another inspiration.  Then IA's theme was coffee or tea- something along those lines.....I wanted to do a lady, and I wanted her to have lime green in her face and this reminded me of Matisse's portrarait of his mother which I decided to use as a reference....which led to my "Mocha Mama"
And I knew that THIS is where I want to be as an artist.  
I felt like I was finally figuring out how to "spark the muse"  And I now know that it won't happen every time.  It's important to keep painting and to keep loose.  I've come a long way, and still have further to go.  But I'm (slowly) getting there, and that gives me a measure of peace :) 
So, here's my new painting, I'm not done with her, but I'm VERY happy with her!  She was inspired by a Klimt painting, and I tried to follow what I did with Mocha Mama in taking inspiration and then going my own direction.......
So there you have it- I really didn't plan to write a novella this morning, it just kind of poured out.  So if you've stayed with me for this long, I must thank you for your patience and promise that my next posting will be more along the lines of "short and sweet"!
Have a bright and beautiful day!


Lynn said...

Even your earlier work is beautiful to me, but it is wonderful to hear and see how your art has evolved, thank you for sharing it with us :)

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I read every word and truly enjoyed your journey. Your art always amazes me, and I am always pleased to see whatever you draw, color, paint, shade, and compose. I can do none of that, but that is what makes you so very special in my book. Thanks for sharing this progress report, even though I thought your early work was fantastic, too.

Dianne said...

Thank you so much for sharing your painting story... I too struggle to find my own direction and style and have focused on birds. Unfortunately (at least for my painting)I have such a short attention span and move from medium to medium (Creative Carmelina says it's called "scanning") I don't move forward as quickly as I would like.

mermaiden said...

wonderful narrative through the pages of your {beautifully illustrated} story, my dear!

Regina said...

Stephanie..I love post like this. It lets us see a but of who the person writing the blog is. Thank you for sharing with us. You have always been very talented but to see just how your painting has emerged is awesome. I LOVE the new piece...the colors and hues are perfect.


Kiki aka Victoria said...

Hi Stephanie..a wonderfully magical post..super inspiring seeing all the pieces of art unfold..gorgeous gorgeous..i love them all..and of course love the newest oen..she is mysterious and her!
HUgs..shine on!!

Healing Woman said...

Stephanie, you have got the shading down pat! She is so lovely and very Klimt looking yet has your own (new) style. You are going in a wonderful direction.

Jaime Haney aka ArtsyFartsy.Me said...

Stephanie, I feel like I'm right there with you as you tell me these things about each painting and the way you felt at the time about your art and your progress and THAT is the single most type of post I want to read!! (without getting your flu... hee hee) which I hope you all are recovering quickly from.

I think it is interesting at how we all are so critical of ourselves, when obviously there are so many in awe of your talent (including me!). I also chuckled when I read that you were trying to remember how to paint... hahahha (out loud!) AS IF!

In saying that though, I understand that we all do need to have constructive criticism. Or at least someone else's view on things. Like when you talk about the light coming back in with the nasturtiums. I do see what you mean, after you pointed it out.

Now I'm the one writing a book, lol! Sorry, but I do love the mysterious look you've got going on with this new lady. She looks very 1940's to me and yes, she looks like you've painted her loosely. Almost like you're becoming very comfortable painting in this fashion. I'll need to look up Klimt to refresh my art history memory ;)

Charlie said...

Stephanie she is awesome! I love her. I can't believe you had any struggles at all. I enjoyed reading about how you came to this point in your paintings. I know how you feel about getting inspired. It's such an up and down for me. Wow, and you lived in the Caribbean for 7 years! That must have been nice.

Mila said...

Stephanie, great & lovely post :)

My dear web-friend, I would sent you and to all your family, my Best Wishes for health & Happiness in the New Year!
Many hugs,
Mila :)

Kelly Jeanette said...

Lovely bright and bold colors, great brush stokes. I think you have found yourself. Here's to the next year and new horizans. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

artangel said...

It's so fascinating (and such a privilege) to see your journey as an artist unfolding Steph. Your work gets more beautiful and has more and more depth as time goes by.

Your new painting is stunning - the depth of colour amazing. It is a wonderful feeling when a painting just "works" isn't it?

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and I can't wait to see what beautiful work you do next!
Angie xx

dthaase said...

so much beauty in this post - wonderful

peggy gatto said...

You made me want to get back to painting large again!
These are stunning and I love the botanicals and the color!!!