Upon reflection on my first two posts I thought I had better do a search to see if I have been inspired and driven to finish a project. I came up with a few examples.
This is my first real painting, I should warn you that I do get a little crazy with the naming of this piece, Iris in oil. My inspiration came from a photo I had seen and I was mesmerized. I knew I would need some help to capture what the photo had captured in the real Iris so I took a self directed painting class. The class helped to keep me motivated throughout the process and the instructor provided some really good technical advice. I remember the background in particular provided some lively discussion. I wanted to use a pallet knife to apply the paint and was intending to use a straight black. I recall the instructor telling me that I would use too much paint doing it that way and that paint was expensive but I had an idea in my head and couldn’t be swayed. She finally gave up trying to convince me after I told her that I was going to do it my way regardless she got on board and suggested I mix paint to come up with black, I am glad I did. If the light hits the painting just right you can pick up the crimson, yellow, phthalo blue and sap green in areas of the painting. Knifing the background provides an interesting textural component as does the flow of the brush strokes. My motivation for this painting wasn’t fear or greed but rather the love of creating something I find to be beautiful.
This painting is on the other end of the spectrum. It was in fact inspired by fear and I think you can see it in the eyes of the horse. When I started painting this I was recovering from my injury and was dealing with the idiocy that is WSBC. I do like using the pallet knife and I used it almost exclusively in this painting and I think it adds to the fear, chaos and uncertainty that I was feeling at the time. In both instances the paintings have struck cords with people but in different ways. As an artist I am happy to get that feedback, it means that whatever I am doing is stirring something within the viewer. What I find really interesting is that the interpretations are quite different depending on who is looking at it.
A few years ago I had an idea for a cartoon strip about chickens … yes chickens … as well as other barnyard animals. The idea was that the chickens and their friends live their lives as “people” and just like that Sam n’ Ella was born. Samuel Foster and Eloise Foster live interesting lives and have funny adventures alongside their Harley riding German neighbour Oskar (who happens to be a pig), Elmer the carpenter (yes he is a horse) and Susan Vlakis (the Greek sheep) who loves to dance the Fisounis. This project encourages my slightly disturbed sense of humour and I think the strip above is a good example of that. My goal is to self publish a book, I have been leaning towards a cook book with the cartoon strip worked into it and who knows maybe on TV but not sure how popular a cook book titled, “Cooking with Sam n’ Ella” would be. As I thought about the inspiration of this project I couldn’t remember why this idea popped into my head. I am frustrated with myself because I have enough content to publish a book but for whatever reason I have put the project on hold. I do have a specific idea on how I want the characters drawn so I tell myself that until my skill level gets to the point of being able to draw the illustrations I won’t commit to a goal. I know … it is a weak excuse.
My latest completed project is a Gerber daisy which was painted at the behest of my very encouraging wife. In this instance the initial inspiration and motivation came from her. She had a specific idea on what it was that she wanted and the colour she wanted it in. In fact she wanted it so bad that she went to the diabolical extreme of enrolling me in the previously attended self directed painting class to ensure I would get her daisy finished … the nerve. To give you a little history, when I was about 3 I refused to get out of the car when we were visiting my Grandma and Grandpa. My Grandma came out to the car to try and coax me into going inside. When I refused she asked why. My response … I don’t have to if I don’t want to. This decision at 3 has plagued me ever since. So it was no surprise to my wife when I was resistant, I worked on a waterfall painting for most of the first session (12 weeks) and through guilt I ended up taking a second session to get the Gerber finished. As I worked, something shifted, I became more and more attached to the piece and I went from being resistant to persistent. I finished the painting, it is hanging on the wall and everyone is happy.
I mentioned in a previous post that the main catalyst for motivation was fear. I suppose it depends on what it is you are wanting to accomplish. This blog is a good example. It started as a fear based project that I had to do in order not to fail the class. However it has morphed into a weekly ritual that I have come to enjoy and plan to continue. But first I have to find a way to keep that 3 year old quiet.