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Thursday, July 16, 2015
I Am a Painter at Heart
The CEO of my company thinks I make quilts, but forgets I am an Artist at heart. He keeps telling me that when I retire I'm going to make quilts, which I find hilarious.
Because he's never asked. That's his assumption based on what he knows. He's wrong.
What I truly love, almost more than anything else, is pushing paint around with a brush. Oil paint. The kind that takes a half hour to set up, and a half hour to clean up, and demands its own ventilated space. Which I stopped doing because I didn't have the space, and I had an inquisitive cat who kept walking across my palette. You think I'm joking?
Anyway, the painting at the top of this post is an unfinished one of mine from probably 25 years ago. Why post it now?
Because I have to remind myself sometimes, that at heart, I am an Artist first, quilter second. I don't draw because I have arthritis in my hand, but I really can draw. And just because I don't have the time or the space or the ventilation, I don't paint, but it doesn't mean I don't know how. I'm pretty good at that too. Knowing how to draw and how to paint really helps me in my quiltmaking, and not just in the ways you think (knowing color and value, etc.).
It's knowing when it's not working, when it needs to be scrapped and begun again. Or ripped out and redone. It's NOT working when it's not working and THINKING about what's WRONG and how to make it RIGHT. It's being PERSISTENT, and STUBBORN and not being afraid of what anybody else thinks. It's knowing when it's GOOD and to LEAVE IT ALONE and not overwork it (the top of the chair), and when it's beyond work, like the left side of the towel.
My problem in the painting above, since I know you are wondering, is that at the time I couldn't decide what it was. I was trying to paint using two techniques that didn't really go together - alla prima painting (all at once) and glazing (layers of thin transparent colors to build up a rich tone.) I'll leave you to figure out which parts are which, and which areas "work" and which don't. Parts of the painting are really terrific, the others, not so much.
It hangs in my living room because I like it, despite its faults.