In Defense of Laziness

doll2

I was confessing in the previous post about how much I’ve neglected painting of late.  My attention has been fixed upon other things, and not only have I not been painting, I have not wanted to paint.  I “intend” to work, but don’t.  Little distractions lead me astray. 

I was thinking about it today — about the things that trigger for me a desire to paint.  For me, it’s color.  Even just thoughts about certain color combinations can make me want to paint — though I haven’t tried very hard to use these thoughts to get myself back to work. 

Part of the problem is perhaps about responsibility.  I do believe that being responsible is a central component of one’s character, a core virtue that one wants to possess.  Yes, I do aspire to being a responsible person.  But I have to admit that “responsibility” doesn’t paint pictures.  Sometimes I have done my best painting when I was “goofing off” with an idea.  Sometimes my most productive times have felt more like play than work — good enough to make one feel guilty about the exuberance.

In this unproductive phase, I’m wondering to myself if in order to be more “responsible” in the making of pictures, maybe I need to be more irresponsible.  Perhaps I need a strong dose of play.  Perhaps I am too diligent.  Could I be lacking in a certain kind of essential laziness?  Am I too uptight?    Perhaps the flowers will matter most when they become “just flowers,”  beautiful and useless and transitory like real flowers.  Just simple flowers.

Benefits & Hazards of Blogging

twohorsesdrawing

Hazards?  Well, here’s one.  You tell the whole world (or a largish audience anyway) that you’re working on such and such.  And then you get lazy and don’t work on such and such for just the longest time.  (My big still life of flowers berates me daily for my neglect.) 

Benefits?  Well, I’ve participated in some “drawing challenges,” and they can be really fun.  You join a group endeavor.  Others spur you on.  Everybody is trying to encourage each other.  And all that. 

Lately I’ve been drawing horses for another blog.  Each month someone suggests a different image.  This month it was horses which happens to be a favorite subject for me.  Mind you, I don’t know anything about horses and rarely ever get anywhere near one.  Alas!  But I have some toy horses that are reasonably good approximations of the real thing.  So I draw the toys.  

I love it!  This one above is not a new drawing.  But I post it now to cover my laziness!

Yellow Snow

yellow-snow

In the previous post I complained about the Carolina snowfall that has intruded upon my travel plans.  I had contemplated the possibility of making a picture of the snow  à la Monet, but gosh darn it, even looking at the stuff from the window makes me cold.  Then I fell upon this very modern idea.  And it’s partly a tribute to my Ellsworth Kelly fans since it’s just a rectangle filled with one color, and I know they like that sort of thing.  Yet, it has meaning too for those who still want a little narrative in their art.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I present you with my latest work: “Yellow Snow.”

It’s certainly faster and easier to do this Ellsworth Kelly inspired art, I gotta tell you.  Think how much more trouble it would be to follow Monet’s example (below from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris), to say nothing of how it might freeze my delicate toes.

monet-magpie

Still I am very grateful to how the Ellsworth Kelly folks boost my stats.  Thank you!

Come visit my store on CafePress!

Not Tropical

sunflower

As I write I’m in North Carolina. As some regular readers know, I travel to North Carolina fairly often. I was supposed to be returning home today. However, Mother Nature (whose caprices must always be respected — especially by artists) had other plans. As you might know, the Carolinas got a bit of snow last night. While it’s a pittance by Northern standards, snow like this can make for some really dangerous travel in the south. So, whether I like the song or not, I’m trying to sing “let it snow, let it snow, let it snow,” though I really wish it would stop!
Okay, putting on the thinking cap here…. I suppose I could do the Monet thing and try drawing it. (Don’t have the paint box with me.) But I’m not going out there into the cold and freezing my feet. If I draw snow, it’ll be from the comfort of the window seat while I’m sipping my hot tea. Granted, Monet’s paintings of snow taken directly before the cold motif are some of the most magnificient and charming pictures. But I am not going to stand outside and be cold. Not doing it.

I’d really rather be drawing sunflowers.

Making Money

on-the-money

The artist’s kid has taken it upon herself to add to the family finances.  However, please don’t send the Secret Service around to investigate.  We are not offering this anywhere as legal tender.

Think of it more as commentary.  I notice that Grant is looking a little miffed on this Fifty.  Could it be the scarcity of these things around the artist-household that’s got him in a huff?  Maybe he’s feeling lonely.

The injustice of it ….

Better make me some real money

Thoughts in Miniature

flowers

I will make many such little drawings while I work on my painting of flowers.  I posted an earlier one already.  Such drawings are made after the manner of  a person muttering to herself; they are my haphazard thoughts made in idle moments.  When I take a break and relax in my chair — or while I talk on the phone — I begin remembering my painting.  These sketches are my memories. 

These pen gestures each reveal subtle differences  in feeling about what the picture is “supposed” to be — what I think it is — in the effervescent moment.

à la Matisse

100_9151

I have blocked-in the flowers of my 36 x 48 inch canvas in a rudimentary way.  It has a “Matisse à Nice” kind of feeling in this early stage of painting.  Everything is thinly painted.  Everything is just “there” enough to suggest the composition as a whole, and yet I have lots of room in which to wiggle.

This is a wonderful stage for a painting — where there is a chance for firmness in the initial drawing and yet still so much opportunity to dream.

First Lines

100_9141

The first lines of my canvas look somewhat like these dream scattered lines of my notebook.  In the morning over tea I drew my still life from memory.   Now at the end of the first day, I realize that the first lines I drew with paint were rather like these precursors. 

First lines are the gathered essential thoughts, the first impressions, the longed for idea bundled up like flowers.  In their still vague dress of make-believe they merely point towards hopes and longing.  I will love this painting once it’s underway.  I am already enjoying work.  Looking into the depths among my objects I find the hints of so many possibilities.  One small corner of a room can contain radical amounts of color and tone, shape and meandering line, hidden questions and enigmas to satisfy the needs of a hundred painted pictures.  Yet soon after I had finished assembling my still life I found that one core set of forms had drawn my heart into this idea, so I’m inching along, laying down lines, trying to gain enough ground to see the first reward.

Perhaps hiking a mountain is like this?  There’s a lot of work with your head down before you get to enjoy the view.

My first fumbling sketches are a crude map toward my destination.