Sunday, September 20, 2009

Starts of Three New Paintings

I started three paintings this past week. In response to a workshop with Michael Grimaldi, I'm switching my work habits from fast and furious to a more deliberate process. The first step is to determine the composition. This takes time, and will mature with practice. What I'm sharing with you all today are the seeds of paintings. There are aspects in all these compositions that I love as well as things I'd like to tweak.

In this compositional study of Drew, I like a lot of it, but don't like the importance that box his hand rests on is having. It looks like a a courtroom scene - swearing on the Bible or something. I'll think on this and see what I figure out. I want the picture to be about Drew looking out the window, about the light and color and tone, about the body. I'll be studying anatomy quite a bit in the execution of this painting - it's more of an academic exercise than the others so maybe the box doesn't matter as much - although on the other hand - it matters. Paintings will always have some degree of academic exercise in them. Make the composition work. Don't be lazy.

Honey, seated, looking out the window. I tried positioning her looking at me, but I just love the way a person's face looks when they're gazing out a window. - It's becoming a common theme in my work. I'm considering lowering the picture to include her leg. She has a very lovely hand hanging down,

and then the composition would have a little of this Velasquez thing going on.

Here's an interior composition. I'm looking out of my studio door into what we call the Gallery and then into the kitchen and sliding glass door to the outside. The color of the light is really interesting. Because there is direct sunlight shining in I'll have to work on this one during certain times of the day - I think maybe I'll have an hour and a half - two hours at a time for this one. I don't know if the changing season will affect it either. It may. I'm not sure if I want it with the lighter curtain on the right or without - as seen below - sort of.

It's not that easy to share these so publicly, I'm not sure it's a great idea to share the process. But it's helpful for me to put it up - simply to get clearer about what I'm doing.

Starting a painting is a little nerve wracking. First of all, there are more ideas than time to execute them. I admit to laziness too; many of my ideas require effort and sometimes I prefer the comfort of the studio over the effort involved in capturing interesting topics of family life, paintings out of doors etc. Of course I do work on landscapes occaisonally, but I'm talking about spending time with a painting. It takes effort to cart your stuff to a location day after day - in the same light to work for a little while. I tend to stick to my studio out of laziness and convenience. I should work on breaking this laziness habit.

So anyway, another reason I find it nerve wracking to start a painting is because I can get impatient - I want it to get where it's going and move on to the next thing. I'm working on enjoying the process, relaxing. It'll happen. Physical exercise helps.


Sam Marshall said...

Hi Sarah,
These are great sketches. Thanks for sharing your process toward your paintings.

Amy Greenan said...

I know what you mean about sharing the in-progress, but I find it fascinating to see from other artists... maybe wait to post them until the work in final, if you are uncomfortable? Either way, I enjoy documenting my own progress on a piece in this way. Thanks for posting these!

sarahfburns said...

Thanks for your feedback, Sam and Amy. my feelings change so much in regard to sharing work in progress. - On the one hand, who cares? - it's fun to have something to blog about, and on the other - well, you both know - it's unfinished! It's raw, vulnerable, naked. It just depends on my mood, I guess...