Enjoy life now... it has an expiration date.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Maggie, framed and beribboned

Here's the finished version of Maggie - ready to go to her new home. While I'm not pleased with all aspects of the painting, it felt good to get the project finished and I think learned some valuable lessons for future paintings.
What did I learn?
  • That a limited time to finish a painting is a great motivator as along as I don't allow time pressure to rush me into making poor decisions or mindlessly slapping paint around.

  • That I need to constantly think about what I'm painting when I'm painting it. I've noticed I do much better if I've got some kind of an inner monologue going while I'm painting. For example, I start to paint an area and stop for a minute to study the source and ask myself questions about the size, color, shadow, direction of light, etc, and then try to put down a worthwhile brushstroke. I remember reading that John Singer Sargent would often start to paint a stroke and then stop, brushed poised in midair as he considered what effect the stroke he was about to make would have on the painting. He was thinking constantly while painting. This consistent attention doesn't come naturally to me. I start out being very conscious of what I'm painting and then my mind wanders off somewhere and I just simply paint... and inevitably mess up. So, I need to discipline myself to keep focused. I think this will get easier with practice.... I hope!

  • That I need more practice and little projects will probably be a good way to work on technique. There's a book out called "Work Small, Learn Big: Sketching with Pen & Watercolor" and though I haven't read it, I like the sound of it. Makes sense that lots of different little projects will give a wide range of painting experiences - I've noticed that a lot of art bloggers do this so it must work.

In non-painting matters, got my monthly newspaper article finished up. May post that here later in the week.... after it's been published since the paper has first dibs on it :-) Tonight we're having my parents over for dinner in honor of Father's Day. So it's off to the kitchen to make pasta salad and assorted other dishes.


"JeanneG" said...

Have a good celebration. When does the daughter get her new present?

Lin said...

Hi Teresa!!! Super job on Maggie!! And I so enjoyed your comments -- and so SO true!!! Today was one of those days of thoughtless 'slapping on paint' -- which I wound up scrubbing out -- so frustrating! And all those suggestions seem so hard to keep in your head at once!! LOL BTW, I have the Work Small, Learn Big... book -- excellent!

I keep painting - there seems to be so much to learn -- the more I learn, the more I HAVE to learn ..!! Good job on Maggie -- truly!

Rose Welty said...

Maggie looks great! I'm sure she'll be warmly received.

Teresa said...

Jeanne and Rose: Hollie had a fun day for her birthday (she spent the day at the beach with her husband and son) and stopped by on the way home and we presented her with the painting of Maggie. Her eyes lit up when she saw it... and that made every painting frustration worthwhile. I really like giving handmade gifts. Thank you both for the kind comments.

Lin: Thank you too for your very encouraging comments - and... it makes me feel a little better to know that I'm not the only one who is having to work on concentration! It IS hard to keep everything in mind as you paint, isn't it? I'll look into that book... although I just bought a new one yesterday.... I love books and buy one every chance I get!

Cathy Gatland said...

What a wonderful gift! John Singer Sargent is about my favourite watercolourist - good to realise it didn't all fall effortlessly off his brush, as it looks..!

Teresa said...

Hi Cathy,

About Sargent... does give encouragement, doesn't it? I stayed away from art for years because I (stupidly) thought that if you were an Artist then art just effortlessly flowed out of you. REAL artists didn't have to work at it... it just came naturally. Thankfully, I got a little wiser and was amazed - and encouraged - as I began to read about some of the great masters and read their comments about struggling with art. Yay!! There was hope after all!

veggy said...

maggie is beautiful ! whats your next painting going to be on ? hmm do you always paint animals ?

Teresa said...

Hi Veggy,

Thanks for the kind comments! Actually, I've painted very few animals and this is my first ever animal portrait in watercolor. I enjoyed it and would like to paint more animals (I want to paint the rabbits that are eating everything in my garden!)

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