Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Back to Work Finally

Pink Hollyhocks, 2007, Oil on Panel, 8x10

Today was the first real day of work in my studio in over a week. I should have gotten right back to it on Monday, based on how much I have to finish up by next Friday, yikes, but I kept finding other things to do on both Monday and Tuesday. Getting back to painting can be tough for me when I have taken too much time off, or if something dramatic has happened, which is the case this time. My chair feels funny, the easel needs adjusting, the colors look different. Everything just feels odd.

But usually I decide to close my eyes and just dive back in. This always works and today was no exception. I felt as if I was really back home finally, that I was wrapped in the comfort of creating something, anything. The end results didn't matter. Well they did a little bit because I do have to send new work out soon, but while I was painting I didn't think about all that. I did some very nice underpaintings as well as added color to a few pieces that were in progress.

And so I am back on track. For the time being, anyway.

The piece I have posted today is an oddball for me I think. I almost never use white, and I sure used it here. Doug liked it, I didn't. But it made the cut anyway (I trust his opinion, usually anyway) and is hanging in a group show at the Smithy-Pioneer Gallery in Cooperstown, NY.


indigomar said...

Hi Tracy,
I like the Hollyhock painting!
It is tough to get back in the studio, but yes, it does feel good to get the groove back. I spent a few hours today wrapping things up. Unfortunately, after a wonderful, intense art filled summer, it's back to work tomorrow. The teacher meetings begin and then students next week!
I don't feel ready, my mind is still immersed in my art. Gotta switch it to high school art...
But, I'll make time for painting, it's just less.
When you talked about being a prolific reader and your books stacked next to your bed, I had to laugh. Same scenario here. I sometimes have several books going at once. Like now.
I'm freezing vegetables, beans, zuchinni, corn. Haven't done canning in awhile and never tried cheese. We have potatoes to last us through Christmas. They're sooo good!

Unknown said...

The hollyhock is great. I've been enjoying your flower paintings. Your landscapes will always be stellar, but it's nice to see you using your great technique on other genre.

I had to laugh about the reading just a page or so and falling asleep. This girl feels your pain sister! I'm reading My Sister's Keeper by Jody Picoult right now. It's great (I think). Every chapter is written through the eyes of a different character in the story. I swear, I've read each chapter twice because I can't remember what they were talking about since the last time I was reading it.

Enjoy getting back in the saddle.

Shawn McCann said...

Welcome back to the studio Tracy. I know how hard it can be after a little while off, but it is fun to find that groove again and dig right back in. Great pieces as well the last couple of days. They are a treat to look at!

Steven LaRose said...

I am all for adding the white.
It is the biggest and freakiest thing that you can do while simultaneously not leaving your signature style. I just hope that people appreciate that you have been cultivating an under-painting shtick that relies on some fancy and casual brushwork. It is a brushwork that lets the underglow show through. All your previous paintings reached for that deep space/glow. Not only did the roads and barn perspectives point to a atmospheric vanishing point, the paint quality did as well.

But when you add white.
We are popping back out at us then. Things get opaque.
Light reflect differently.
Don't worry Tracy, because what I see in the end is your brush marks.
Adding white just makes it a little more spicy.

Madame K said...

As usual I love your floral stuff.

I too have trouble getting back into the swing of things once I've stopped painting for a few days.

I have this whole procrastination ritual I have to go through to get ready....which sometimes takes a whole day.

Tracy Helgeson said...

Thanks Mary Ann, Sorry you have to go back to school and will have to paint less. Must be hard to make that switch. Did you grow your own potatoes?

Jayne, Guess I am getting outvoted on the hollyhock:) Ugh, that is the worst about not reading as much, following the story is so hard and having to reread is so irritating. Maybe this winter I will make an effort to take an hour out of my computer time each day and read when I am not so tired.

Thanks Shawn, and you are so right it is a nice feeling to get that groove back. It's just the first step that is so dang hard sometimes!

Steven, wow, love your feedback concerning white as well as my brush work. White is a tough color for me to use, especially over my under colors, as it usually just looks all pasty. I also think the use of white tends to make my work look, kinda ordinary or something, I don't know. I do use opaque colors, usually a light yellow, blue or green, but maybe I will consider white a bit more now. Thanks.

Tracy Helgeson said...

MadameK, I didn't realize that you had an alternate personality:) What? You procrastinate too? wow...We artists are good at that aren't we?

Kesha Bruce said...

Oh man! The jigs up!

Yeah, on my other blog you can go see my various procrastination techniques. Cocktails anyone?

p.s. I don't know if you work from photos, but you will find lots of landscapes to work from at VSC in February....maybe snowy ones!

gary rith said...

gorgeous picture there

Chris Rywalt said...

Tracy sez:
But usually I decide to close my eyes and just dive back in.

I've never been very successful at painting with my eyes closed. Seems to be working for you, though.

indigomar said...

Hi Tracy,
Yes we, or I should say 'Farmer' Bob (my husband) grows the potatoes. His father did before him on this same plot of land.
Thanks for the sympathy about going back to school. I was wallowing a bit last night!

Tracy Helgeson said...

Kesha, Looks like you have a lot more fun procrastinating than I do:)

I will take plenty of photos to work from while I am in Vermont,but I will use them later. I think I am going to focus on some figurative work during the residency.

Chris, well I do open them up at some point:)

Thanks Gary. Don't you have hollyhocks next that purple house of yours?

Mary Ann, Oh I love wallowing. I always give myself a limited amount of time to wallow. And I may ask you, or Farmer Bob, for some tips on planting potatoes, I want to try some next year.

Mary Klein said...

This painting grabbed me right away. Maybe the white provides some coolness that makes the usual warmth of your palette seem even more intense. Very nice.

Daphne Enns said...

You paint with your eyes closed? That's a new one for me...

just joking

Funny, I don't use white often either. In university we did presentations with water colours (I have an interior design degree)and we were not allowed to use white paint...

Tracy Helgeson said...

Thanks, Mary, I think you may be right about that. And I should use more white, I guess. We'll see. I tend to prefer warmer colors, can you tell:)

Daphne, It's a trick I learned in college, painting with my eyes closed:) I paid a lot of money to learn how to do that!