11" x 14" painted collage
The thing I like best about painting is also the thing that is the hardest for me to tolerate: uncertainty. Uncertainty brings surprises. Surprises can be good or bad. It's this not knowing which will show up, the good or bad, that creates a kind of tension. The tension is physical for the painter as well as descriptive of what happens on the paper or canvas. Being in this state though is where some really wonderful things can happen. Things that make you say, "Gee I would have never thought to do that but look how well it works!" It's this sort of stuff, this tension between knowing and not knowing, that keeps me motivated when painting; this unexpectedness that results in something new and wonderful.
It's hard to remember this though when starting a new piece. It is for me at least. I tend to come up empty in the confidence department and have to remind myself that in the past, I have done some work that makes me happy. It's a fair bet I can do it again. I also have to accept that I might fail and that failing is just fine too. It's only paper and paint and some time. I don't want to not try. I have the luxury of time and materials right? Why wouldn't I apply that?
The above piece was started with the vaguest of ideas. I have a piece of china that is the same pattern as my mom's china:
This pattern is called Blue Danube by Royal Doulton. I have always liked it a lot and remember my mom using it during the holidays. The blue and white is so crisp. I originally wanted to combine that crispness of contrast with a kind of totem structure made up of different shapes. Building something and being able to balance the structure visually is of interest to me. I started in with a few shapes and quickly abandoned my idea! I felt I wanted additional colors and to try an allover kind of design instead. Once I headed in that direction I started to be happier. For a long while though I didn't have any ideas in my mind about the piece itself. Telling myself a little story about the shapes while I work is always helpful. It wasn't until about halfway through that I began to see baseball related images. Seeing those images and ideas helped me to keep going and to finish.
Now, the piece isn't really about anything specific, I admit that. But to me, there is a freshness to things that somehow is tied to the beginning of baseball season. (I don't even watch baseball but Rich does. I like to think I can appreciate the history and lore of the game, however.) The guys play 162 games, give or take, so to me that is an endurance sport. By the end of the summer I can't imagine how they aren't worn out and worn down. Come Spring though, it's a different matter. Spring means renewal and beginnings and a fresh way of seeing things. The colors in this last piece remind me of that so that is my story and I am sticking to it!
Hope everyone is having a good week. Thanks for reading and commenting.