Monday, January 28, 2008

Directions

I don't like to talk too much about the directions I'd like to take as far as my work goes. I firmly believe in jinxes and I have noticed that whenever I discuss what I will be doing, it all fails miserably. Thinking about it too much and trying to envision what the work will look like has the same effect. But I need to do a little bit of planning here, and I have decided to risk a big fat jinx by publicly stating what my focus will be while I am on this residency.

When I began painting again after years of being a stay at home mom, I just sort of fell into painting the landscape. It wasn't anything I had done before and I certainly have been exploring that genre for the last four years! I feel like I have really developed my painting skills and so now I'd like to explore some different imagery. Back in college I was quite proficient at drawing and painting almost anything (EXCEPT the landscape) which is a byproduct of being an illustration major. We did a lot of drawing and had to cover a wide variety of subject matter.

Anyway, the figure was always a favorite subject for me and I had a pretty good eye for it, I think. I was good at likenesses, but I was still working on developing my painting skill in college and I never did get those two things to work together very well. Now I have the painting thing down pretty well and since I still love my painting process, it is still challenging and fulfilling to me, I don't intend on mixing that up during this time (someday I will, but perhaps that will be a more gradual process) and so I will focus on developing different imagery. Since there will be three hours of figure drawing sessions each weekday during my residency, I plan to take full advantage of working on the figure.

So this is my plan: First of all, I am going to toss off a barn or landscape or two just to warm up and get comfy in a new studio. After that I am planning to do a lot of drawing at first during the figure sessions, then will move on to doing some underpaintings directly from the model. In between all of that I am going to try and incorporate the drawn images into paintings along with some kind of background. In addition, I have about a million vintage photographs which I am going to take along. I have used those as reference before; I've taken figures from those and have put them into different backgrounds, with varying degrees of success. That was a direction I have always wanted pursue but didn't have the time and am hoping to do that now.

Now, having stated my plans, I have to add that I don't necessarily think I will follow through with them. I just need some parameters to start with. The thought of being able to do whatever I want while I am there is too overwhelming for me and I will flounder and probably accomplish nothing. I need a goal, a focus, along with the ability to be flexible and change directions later on.

So it's anybody's guess, including mine, on what kind of work I will be bringing home at the end of February!

7 comments:

Angela Rockett said...

Yep. Happens to me too.

I didn't know you studied illustration. That's what I got my MFA in, and you can see how that stated plan went. :)

No matter what you end up doing, I can't wait to see it!

KJ said...

I share your jinx feelings... going so far as: "If I think it, it won't happen." But that's a good way to ward off evil happenings as well. When I went to a France residency for a month I was limited by the supplies I could take so limited myself to drawing materials plus ink on rice paper... the results took care of my painting direction for the next year and a half and is still influencing my work. I like your idea of opening your artistic self to new options. You can't help but wonder what lies undiscovered inside...

Tracy said...

Angela, I think that making a living as an illustrator might even be more difficult than being an artist. I tried to work as an illustrator for about 5 minutes before I cried uncle and got a 9-5 job. Then I tried to work around that job as an illustrator and that was even harder.

Karen, limits are really very useful and I have many of them. But I also tell myself that I get to do whatever I want. Anyway, i am looking forward to being able to focus on some different things for awhile.

Sunil said...

Tracy,
Good luck and waiting to see the results...
Sunil

CMC said...

Same with me...I rarely want to state (even to myself) a real plan or it will never come to fruition. Last time I did that ..on the blog no less, it totally paralyzed me from starting in anticipation of failure. I much prefer the following of relationships from an arbitrary start. AND, it helps me come up with something different now and then.

Good luck with the residency, Tracy.

Martha Marshall said...

Tracy, I can't wait to see what you do with your time at the residency. It's going to be wonderful no matter what.

Dani Brandimarte said...

Hi Tracy- I love your work and have been lurking on your blog for quite a while. I love your landscapes (and I'm not usually a big fan of them) but I'm also very anxious to see your figures. Good luck (although I'm sure you don't need it)!