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Letting go a little more- journey in paint continued

July 11, 2013

Mango and eggplant  - Oils on canvas board

Mango and eggplant – Oils on canvas board

Still on the journey in paint here.  This one is a continuation of “Anne’s kitchen series’, the first one was Pears in sunlight a few posts back. My friend Anne’s (and her husband Jim’s) kitchen in Pittsburgh was a place I felt instantly at home. Visually, I loved the richly decorated ceramic bowls from all over the world, and how Anne loaded them with whatever fruit and veg were at hand. The bowls regularly caught the sunlight streaming in from the windows.

My challenge here was to keep the spirit of the first sketch I did with oils directly on the canvas. I loved it and for awhile didn’t want to do anything to it at all.

'Mango and eggplant' sketched in

‘Mango and eggplant’ sketched in

Painting is continually teaching me. In this case, the sketch was telling me it was fine just as it was. That in a sense, that first spontaneous response to the subject was already enough. That the loose, unselfconscious sketching in, which part of me says is ‘not finished’ and messy, is actually lovely in its own right. If you don’t compare it to an image of a finished work, it has its own appeal. And many artists,the Impressionists come to mind, have used this thinly painted rendering as their style.

The reason I returned to it and began to develop it anyway was because I loved the richness in colour of the original scene. So I went for that but promised myself I would do everything I could to preserve the freshness of the sketch. I’m happy with the outcome because, although it looks ‘finished’, I worked on it with the same looseness and enjoyment as the first stage.  It was very different from working on this one below, which made me tense throughout, trying to get things ‘right’.

Classic still life Jan 27, 2013

Classic still life Jan 27, 2013

What my painting is teaching me as I move out of an overly perfectionist, into a more playful, inexact rendering, is that I don’t have to try so hard. And that some things do really take care of themselves, I don’t have to plan and control everything. I don’t have to explain every little detail, I can leave room for people to fill in their own impressions, both in the painting and in relationships.
I can play and experiment to see what happens without worrying so much if it is ‘right’.  Things can be suggested, other areas can be left raw, the process itself has an intelligence I can trust.  And this applies to life off canvas as well!

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