Wednesday, May 07, 2014

"Afternoon Light, Shem's Creek", 9x12, oil on board, paintings of boats, Shem's Creek, Mount Pleasant Island, Charleston, South Carolina, marshes

"Afternoon Light, Shem's Creek", 9x12, oil on board
(Note: painted with a palette knife, click on image for a better view of the impasto.)

I have not been painting regularly for the last 6 months. Life sometimes gets in the way of our dreams and aspirations, and unfortunately I have lacked the ability to pick up where I left off 6 months ago.

I recall that when I regularly attended ballet class some years back, my technique and overall physical condition improved dramatically. There was a saying amongst the dancers that if you hadn't been to class in a month, it would take you two months to get back to where you were. In other words, it takes twice as long to get back to the point where you last were.

I think art is probably the same way. Not painting regularly has taken its toll on my confidence level, that's for sure. I know that drawing and  painting from life are what is now needed to recoup my confidence and joy in painting. Easier said then done, especially the painting from life part, as the Florida summer has already begun it's almost unbearable oppression on anyone who is outdoors for more than 10 minutes.

Anyway, last fall I was juried into the American Impressionist Society's annual exhibit, and to celebrate my success I decided to take a workshop with premier impressionist Kenn Backhaus in Charleston. The whole week was amazing, the show (my juried painting sold the first night!) was lovely and I met many new friends during the workshop. On the last day of the workshop we painted at Shem's Creek on Mount Pleasant Island just outside of Charleston. It was an artist's paradise- big shrimp boats, golden marshes and glorious sunsets.

My last plein air painting of the day was of a meandering marsh that led right into the inlet where some old boats were moored. This was the painting that I did there back in October and you can read more about it here.

I love how different it is to paint on location. You can practically breathe life into the painting when the scene is right there in front of you! Unfortunately, the scene was not right in front of me when I painted the same scene last night in a horizontal format. But I tried to recall my thoughts about the color of the day and the  warm light that lay across the marshes, as I painted the new one. I used a palette knife to paint the entire thing so I wouldn't get too hung up on all the details in the boats.

I was reminded of a bible verse as I cleaned my brushes last night- "Do not despise small beginnings", and so even though I feel as though I am starting to learn to paint all over again, at least I did it. And you have no idea how many beginnings have failed me these past weeks!

So onwards and upwards. I'll keep trying, and hopefully my confidence will return and my work will begin to improve again.

Thanks for reading.

No comments: