Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Frustration and Fun

I am getting a bit mixed up on the days here, so I guess I will drop the day by day thing. Each day has been filled with a lovely mixture of routine (mealtimes and studio time) and special events (visiting artists and readings by the writing residents) but I am lucky if I know the day of the week, let alone the date.

My laptop computer has pretty much died here. As well as my cell phone, so along with my home computer dying (it was the logic board, whatever the heck that is, and replacing it costs almost as much as a new computer so I am getting a new computer I guess) last month, I am pretty sure that I must have some sort of negative magnetic aura surrounding me. Heh. Anyway, I will try to post when I can, but I am at the mercy of the availability of the two public computers in the resident's lounge. And I haven't yet established whether or not I can download photos. But I will keep taking them and post them when I get back home and get my new computer all set up.

Ok, update on the figures. I am struggling. The underpaintings that I posted a few days ago have mostly crashed and burned at the color stage. They are unfinished because I feel so unenthusiastic about working on them and I have spent most of my time lately avoiding them. Once in awhile someone comes in and says they really have some promise and so I try again, but mostly they suck. I have a few theories on why they aren't working, but I guess mostly I have found that I have to find a different way to handle paint when painting the figure as opposed to the landscape. However, they do each have a few redeeming elements and I have spent some time starting a few small figures by doing a drawing with sanguine pastel pencil (to get the detail), coating it with matte medium and then starting with the glazes. Those are in progress and I am interested in them so far. In the meantime, I did a bunch of small still lifes (plan b in case I became so irritated by the figures that I would flounder and waste time. which I did). I liked the still lifes, but they are more "rigid" and more precise then I usually prefer. I think it's because I worked from life. When I have the subject matter directly in front of me I tend to become more concerned with perfectly rendering the object rather than interpreting it, which is what I am able to do when using photos as reference. Should be the other way around so go figure. I have done the first layer of color on those, but have some ideas about how to soften them when I work on them tomorrow.

I also did a still life which included some beautiful red tulips yesterday afternoon on a primed piece of linen, about 38x32 or so, stapled directly to the wall of my studio. I thoroughly enjoyed doing it and was still feeling giddy when I went to dinner. It is maybe too rigid as well, but I can paint more loosely to compensate when I get to that stage.

I have had many people in my studio visiting and while the feedback on my work is wonderful, I am having some difficulty wading through the conflicting comments. I forgot about all that from art school! About half like the faceless faces and half don't. They are only faceless, because I couldn't get any of the detail in in the underpainting so planned to do that at the color stage. Not sure though that faceless is a direction that seems right for me and my people.

We have had two visiting artists, and one writer. I have been able to get to talk to of them at length (one just arrived tonight; he will visit my studio Friday morning) but I think I will write more about that next time. I'd like to discuss the studio visits as well as put up their links and I am too tired to do that tonight. I should go to bed but I suspect I might end up chatting with some of my house mates. I am enjoying that part of being here too!


Jayne Rose said...

You know what?? Don't worry that those figuratives are handling the way you thought you wanted them to. It's driving you to do something differently. Those tulips, for instance...can't wait to see them.

Looking forward to seeing your new stuff once those darn computer problems clear up.

Thank you for taking us on your trip Tracy.

Casey Klahn said...

Sounds like that old hump in the middle of a learning process.

Keep at it.

snapshot said...

Hi Tracy, I've meant to comment sooner and tell you how much I've loved seeing your work. I can't wait to see the new images that you put up. And it cracks me up to hear you tell us what each meal was, there is something about the food there, you feel like you have to talk about it beyond meal time! boy do i miss that crusty bread!!

Katherine said...

Sounds to me like you might need to fashion a 'keep out - artist at work' notice before the end of the month!

It must feel really odd to go from a situation at home where nobody comments much on your work as you're developing it to clinical dissection by everybody just as you're trying something new! It would give me the heebie jeebies!

I think good suggestions always seem to take the person into account as well as the work and you really need to know the person to be able to make decent suggestions.

Having said that I shall now suggest(!!!) that my inclination would be to say trust your gut and go with what you had in mind. You can make a note of what people say and try it later if your way doesn't work.