Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Deep Cloudy Day, 2006, Oil on Panel, 16x20
Martha asked me about other subject matter in response to yesterday's post about painting in the zone. So I thought I'd talk a bit about that today, probably a very long and involved answer to a quick question!
When I was an illustration major in college, I painted and drew a variety of subject matter, figures mostly, but also other things like buildings, still life objects and that sort of thing. Interestingly, I never did anything involving a landscape. I went to a school right in the middle of Philadelphia and nature seemed pretty far away! I think I also had disdain for landscapes, thinking that they were way too hokey for me (like I was so cool! NOT) to take seriously. Later on, after college I did figure drawings and a variety of still life type images (I have a post in the works about the series of pastel still lifes that I did a few years ago), and I still had no interest in landscapes.
After moving out here in the country, I started to paint the landscape. The first ones were awkward, but there was definitely something going on. I felt an affinity to the land around us but also there were other reasons I took to it, I think. Moving here was difficult in a lot of ways, and in addition to adjusting to the isolation, Doug and I were going through the first rocky point in our marriage and had even separated* for a few months. After we patched things up (don't worry, we are totally solid again), I started painting every day. Painting helped me heal after what we had gone through and because of that, I think that often the landscapes come more easily to me because I have a lot more emotion invested in the imagery.
As I have mentioned previously here, I still yearn to paint the figure. I really want to incorporate the figure into my work, but I haven't been particularly successful with it thus far. I think that I really need to spend a few months at least, totally focusing on it (and maybe going through some other life altering event, God forbid), in the same way that I did with the landscapes. I occasionally do a painting of an object, which I would like to do more of, in fact yesterday I put color on an under painting of a glass bottle, but the same goes here, I need to spend more time on them.
Which is one of the drawbacks to what has been happening for me lately. I have "marketed" my landscapes and all the representation that I have obtained and the shows that I have scheduled are based upon showing those works. So I am busy with the landscapes, and I am NOT complaining here, I love doing them (despite getting a bit fed up, when I am in the midst of preparing for a show as I mentioned yesterday) and am pleased that the shows that I have coming up are because of these images. However, this leaves me little time to work on different things. I feel lucky though. I am still doing what I want and I know that at some point, when I really need to, I will find a way to work on different imagery. The gallery directors that I work with are also very receptive to seeing new work from me, and I am pleased to have that kind of support from my galleries.
So nothing is easy, the occasional painting that paints itself is a gift to my psyche and the rest is a struggle. As it should be I think, how else would I fully appreciate the gifts?
*Moving here for couples can be tough. Offhand, I can think of at least 4 couples who moved here and then separated or divorced within a few years. There is something about the long winters and isolation that really feeds on any problems that already exist in the relationship. We feel lucky that we made it through.