Sunday, June 06, 2010

mastery of medium

I'm excited that I have almost finished this series of landscape drawings. By this time next week I hope to have packed up and shipped two finished commissions and at least started packing eight pieces for Effusion Gallery. Their busy summer season is fast approaching and since opening two years ago have sold something like thirty pieces of my work, so I don't want to miss out on this year's rich vacationers from Calgary! :) Completing an oeuvre is good but the truth is, I'm long overdue for a change and a challenge. Doing these drawings is kind of zen-like. I know my materials pretty well now, so there are no surprises, and the subject matter, though endless in variation, also has few surprises. I have abandoned pretty much all other drawing media except coloured pencil for these. The upside is the subtle layering of colour I can achieve; the downside is that, being on black paper, these drawings require really good lighting to show at their best.

The other medium I have spent a lot of time with over the past few years is acrylic paint. My favourite way to use it is without any kind of medium (except a touch of water), applied in flat, opaque layers. No glazing or paint texture. I have climbed a lot of hills but also had a lot of fun developing a style not dissimilar to my coloured-pencil drawing style, though the imagery is usually different.

Enter my recent experiences with oil paint. I don't know the medium, it presents me with a ton of both technical and stylistic problems, and that's what excites me. At the same time I'm tackling new imagery. I really need the challenge. I need to get to that obsessive place again where my mind won't leave a problem alone, because that's when I make progress. Failure is a large part of it.

Onward to glorious failure!


Blogger dinahmow said...

Hmmm...I know that sort of obsession. A sort of "iron your own boots, dear,I'm working!" withdrawl from the everyday.

6/6/10 4:36 p.m.  
Blogger p said...

i'm glad to hear you are excited by the oil paints as that painting has a lot of life to it in a way i've not seen in your other mediums. maybe it is the freshness and challenge. all i know is its cool stuff.

so cool to hear you have had so much success with the gallery, that is impressive and i hope you get all those vacationers buying enough art for YOUR next vacation to huntsville!

7/6/10 7:28 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Di: And it's *so* hard to return to reality -- especially if you don't want to!

JafaBrit: Thanks. Like you, I find that if I have a couple of mediums and subject matter, you never get bored and can flip back and forth!

Paula: you're referring to the crow, right? I agree -- there's a freshness to it that feels like newness. As for Huntsville, it's as inviting to me now as Cicely, Alaska. The work I've sold through the gallery is mostly small stuff. Still, paydays are nice! :)

7/6/10 7:07 p.m.  
Blogger valerie walsh said...

my you have been so wonderfully busy ;) great work and i love the fence/gate in the this image, it is a nice touch!

7/6/10 7:27 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're taking the van Gogh palette to a more metalic rendering. I'd personally like to see more of that.

8/6/10 10:39 a.m.  
Blogger Hayden said...

Love that attitude! Obsession is engagement with life, I have no understanding of people who don't get it and prefer to drift.

also drives me crazy when people are unable to lighten up and accept failure as part of the process. I get HUGE negative reactions from people when I say I'm "working on my first failure" - I know that I can't do something really new and get results I'm satisfied with. I'm excited to be making my failures and acquiring my lessons so I can get to the happy achievement stage. Even when I try to explain they mostly want to sugar coat it and that irritates me.

I figure I'm entitled to mistakes and failures as a measure of not playing it safe. I don't intend to stop with failure, I just know it's the reasonable place to start.

10/6/10 8:32 a.m.  

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