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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I love quotes.

Garden Contemplation

first underpainting
"Observe your thoughts for they become your words. Carefully select your words, for they become your actions. Direct your actions, for they become your habits. Examine your habits, for they will become your character. Improve your character, for it becomes your destiny." Unknown

I love to find excellent arrangements of words to express what I think are golden tickets to living a more plentiful, successful, satisfying, contributory life.  I feel connected to the energy of humanity when I come across a thought put to words by a struggling human from another generation who also has reflected on the meaning of his/her own life in the crucible of their own unique time.

I'm working on the thought of painting each painting as if it will be the last one I'll ever do and all my self talk while I paint is about staying with it till my gut is at rest with it.    I don't know quite where I came  up that somewhat morose thought but I think it's affirming and motivating.  Sometimes I have an inner vision that has to align itself with the outer manifestation and sometimes I love the happy accidents of color that I discover. But the inner judge has to approve.  I generally paint and think later but I'm trying to observe longer and place the color, value, and stroke in just the right place.   I find myself often scraping down everything I've done if I'm dissatisfied and starting fresh the next day.  Our failures are often nothing more than a foundation for the finish but a good one and an essential one!  Those of you who scrape know what a wonderful foundation of harmony with which you can finish the day.........the neutrals take your breath away and open a door that takes the painting deeper down a more thorough road drenched with sunshine and shadow and spirit.
Some paintings paint themselves.. You feel you've been possessed when you are painting them.  The muse has visited.  The right brain was activated; you were in the zone and it feels so good.   Other times you can't find the zipcode of the zone.  Your brain is all over the place, you feel empty inside, no muse, no purpose, nothing........Everything you put down is wrong. You can wander and exasperate and carry on negative brain talk but all you do is dig yourself a deeper path down the "I can't do this" path or the "Who do I think I'm kidding?" path or especially the "All those other paintings were flukes.  I got lucky," path. How do I know....? I do this even though I know it leads to no good whatsoever and I've wandered deeper into the forest lost for certain.

My success at getting out of this (much like Gretel leaving breadcrumbs along the way to find his path back home)  is to breathe, be calm, love my life and  tell myself (self talk, again) ok, calm've done this before, you can do it again. It's a matter of excavating that sincere part of my creativity.  I know when I'm deeply in it because I want to HUNKER DOWN AND PAINT FOR hours and hours til I get it right while getting madder and madder  as I get dirtier and dirtier.   When I get that panicked feeling I can catch myself.   I can scrape and take a break.  I can reorganize my palette and consolidate some goo.....clean my hands and brushes........organize my space a little bit.  Have a cup of tea or cold drink....and remember a simple glass of water and a few minutes with the pets.

There's painting and then there's painting. I will simply stay with it for as long as it takes.  Much like Gretel or Hansel leaving breadcrumbs to find their way home,  I recover and pick up my own crumbs by doing an inventory which reminds me of my motivation, my skills, my knowledge, my heart, my purpose with the painting and I stay positive..........and pretty soon there's a sea change rolling in and the wind has turned favorable and I'm back in the zone.  

PS. FOUND this on the internet ......all the political talk the last several years has included the word sea change and I got the meaning but didn't know the it is and once again we have Shakespeare to thank.
Thank you Mr. Shakespeare. This expresses a great concept ........the alchemy of the painter, the alchemy of relationship, the alchemy of meaning in our lives.

 Sea-change or seachange is a poetic or informal term meaning a gradual transformation in which the form is retained but the substance is replaced, as with petrification. The expression is Shakespeare's, taken from the song in The Tempest, when Ariel sings,

"Full fathom five thy father lies,
Of his bones are coral made,
Those are pearls that were his eyes,
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change,
into something rich and strange,
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell,
Hark! now I hear them, ding-dong, bell."


Virginia Floyd said...

I love your beautiful paintings and really admire your style and color sense. I appreciate your talking about the frustrations that you experience. That really rang a bell!

You should apply to Daily Paint Works. Your work is unique, unlike anything else on the site. What could it hurt?

Virginia Floyd said...

I needed this. I'm a beginning artist and I'm in a funk. My last attempt was so awful that I am again thinking "what made me think I can paint?" I haven't wanted to pick up a brush for two days. Reading this post has hwlped me to decide to get back in there. Thanks.

Crystal Cook said...

YOU are a woman after my own heart! Not only am I a quote junkie too, but everything you spoke about painting, and the muse, and listening to your gut to tell you your finished made me shout, "YES!" This woman gets it! I loved it. :) Your work is gorgeous, I'm so glad I found your blog, Virginia Floyd posted a link to your beautiful work.

Susan Roux said...

Hi Sally, It's refreshing to find someone else out there in the blog world that is focused on really painting and trying to improve no matter how long one canvas takes to complete. In a flood of daily painters, rushing to post a futile effort, yours is a welcomed treat. Beautifully done.

So is Don's influence what we can attribute our drives to?

Karen Bruson said...

Love how you painted richer, warmer color around her head.