Saturday, February 18, 2012

Big, Bold, Colorful Paint: what happens when the weather is gray

Praise to the Morning (work in progress), oil on canvas, 30" x 30"

When the weather is gray, the primary colors come out. At least that's what happened this week. That, plus I finally decided to put color to the large (30" x 30") canvas that's been standing around, waiting, for months. 

I've been wanting to dive into the large white square but have been holding back. Unsure. A bit scared. What if I do something I hate and waste the canvas? (Well, then you paint over it, silly.)

A couple of weeks ago I used a brush and India ink to make a quick, loose drawing, then I had half a mind to ignore the drawing and paint over it. I partially painted over the ink lines with the red arc (so much fun to do!! just dipped a brush directly into red acrylic paint and had a few sweeps of my arm--unbridled fun!) and the orange blob. 

Now I'm at that delicate stage where I'm trying to discern whatever internal logic the painting may have that I didn't anticipate and juggle that with other possibilities that come to me. How much to fill in the white spaces? How much to honor the "original image" that inspired the ink drawing, without imposing stuff that doesn't really need to be there. That, I think, is what usually trips me up--honoring an "original image" rather than what is emerging on the canvas.

I don't usually leave bare white canvas, but somehow it seems to be what's called for, as if to contain the exuberance of the primaries, especially that red arc. Maybe more black would help, too. We shall see...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Year's End: Last Radishes of 2011, paint, colors, radishes

Radishes on Blue Dinner Plate, © Sukie Curtis, 2011, oil on canvas

The same bunch of radishes lasted me through several paintings and a few of my classes at Artascope Studios in South Portland, Maine. I haven't checked recently, but I have a hunch they are still occupying some space at the back of the refrigerator, much faded in color and certainly more puckery than smooth-skinned.

Though I never ate any of these radishes, I believe I got good mileage out of them all the same. Much more than mileage, really.

Inspiration. Delight. Amazement. Humor (those funny root tails!). Instruction in color, shape, invention, and the astonishing life-ward orientation of organic things.

I'm not ready to swear off radishes-as-muses all the way until next summer when there will again be locally grown ones at the farmers markets. But for a while, other colorful and shapely creatures may join the dance--clementines, pears, apples, bananas, maybe even pomegranates!