progress report

thinking/feeling about my bi-coastal condition

I’ve said this before: I learn by doing (where doing is pronounced in one syllable). In learning how to paint, I am keeping Jylian Gustlin’s protip in the forefront of my critical mind:

Make art as much as possible to find your voice. Play as much as possible; don’t be too serious. Combine everything you learn like a soup — play, relax and paint. Mistakes are a way to bring the image into focus and to find your way to the finish. If it doesn’t work, it’s not finished.

Huh. If only. “Connection” is the painting I started right after the “You tell a story; I hear a story” canvas. But before I was through (although I may not be) with that one, I made this one:

I’ve had this feeling my whole life

Some of you will recognize the template figure from the workshop days. Somehow, its limitations become a starting point, a way in, a way to overcome the dread blank page (or in this case, canvas). So the current plan is to do a series of paintings in this format —hand cut painted papers, stenciled figures — to make an interpreted set of major arcana tarot cards.

Here are the first two layers of the next piece. I think it will be The Lovers.

The Lovers, 19 January 2012

Oh, and here is the somewhat reworked very first piece, the ugly duckling, which is still not right and most likely never will be. I would paint out almost the whole canvas, especially the face, but Mr Speed says that’s the part he likes best. So much for art by committee.

This is tale of the ugly duckling…

Finally, I have to tell you how stabbingly difficult it is show this stuff. I feel really, really exposed, not at all put together, kind of raw or innocent, like in a dream when you think you’re doing one thing, and then you find out it’s not that at all. Curious, and a bit harrowing. I want to improve my craft, find my ‘painting voice’, and make what pleases me. Maybe find out what I have to say in the process. You don’t have to pretend it’s good or that you like it. But! I hope that by keeping you apprised of my progress, by being less afraid to suck publicly, that you, too, will be moved to try something new, make art of your life (again).

2 thoughts on “progress report

    • nancyenge says:

      I can assure you I came from no blank canvas, sir. But thank you for the acknowledgement. Right now I think it’s about quantity, with quality bound to creep in sometime. That’s something, right?

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