Week 3: Painting is Hard

I don’t have a great deal of experience painting realistically. Ok, I don’t have ANY..you may notice most of my figures are blue, purple or red. And I haven’t used oil paints in 10 years.

This past week has been dedicated to the poster study. My job is to break the form into little abstract shapes and generally paint the correct color.

Every day this week I have felt like I’ve been twisting my brain like a wet towel trying to squeeze something out of it. I go home pooped at 5:30. I haven’t been able to join in the Ultimate Frisbee activities because of the mental energy I’m exerting on color matching.

Additionally I have not been able to stop singing “Golden Brown” by the Stranglers under my breath as I attempt to mix the perfect golden brown.

I think…I THINK… I am approaching some sort of understanding with the paint that is going to get me somewhere in the vicinity of the right direction to accomplish some sort of goal. Today’s painting seemed to have the right lightness/darkness and colors (sorta) but looked like it had been painted on with a chainsaw. I’m not even going to bother with pictures (well that and the paintings are all locked up for the weekend and I forgot to bring them home or take a photo).

My mantra this week has been “Fail Again, Fail Better” a quote from Samuel Beckett and used as the basis for the current Pema Chodron book I am reading. Fail again, fail better. Yes. Will do. Working on it diligently.

On the other hand, DRAWING is in just a lovely little place right now. I have never drawn so well and I know I have much room for improvement. For those of you who don’t spend 30 hours a week in a studio, let me explain to you how figure drawing works.

Throughout the world you will find life drawing sessions. For $15 – $25 I can sit in a room with fellow artists and enjoy the privilege of having a model (real person, preferably naked) to work from. This is steeped in classical tradition. Drawing from life is paramount to the success of any artist seeking to represent reality on any level.

At the public studio sessions the model will twist and turn and offer 1 minute to 5 minute poses as a warm up. The good stuff happens later… The model will settle in for a 20 minute, 1 hour, 3 hour, 536 hour pose, taking breaks every 20 minutes or so then resuming the pose so we may continue our artistic crusade. An artist who is working from life will hire a private model, find a pose and stick with it for 15-30 hours.

The drawings I am posting today were created from 5 hours of drawing over a period of 2 days. Each. I only completed two drawings next week.

Drawing and painting well takes time, effort, rent, food and a live human that demands a living wage for his or her time. It takes education, practice and patience. Painting in this realm requires beautiful and expensive materials. When it comes time to sell the results of this labor, a gallery will take 50% off the sale. On top of this, how often do you really think someone is selling their work?

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Hands down the best thing I have ever drawn. Looking forward to future improvements.

THAT is why art worth a damn is expensive. Consider that the artist also wishes to make a living from this and must charge accordingly. I have never met someone who “just wants to cover costs” in order to go to work every day. I’m sure that person is out there, but personally, I want to buy a luxury now and again or go on vacation. It is supposed to take a human 10 years to master anything. Consider what that time, education and investment is worth in the final product.

In other news, it has been raining daily. Thunder and lightning. I’m in heaven. I’m also very grateful to take this weekend and do nothing that I don’t want to do. Today was yoga, running, meditation, blogging and some calligraphy practice. I think I’m getting better.

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view from the studio.

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One thought on “Week 3: Painting is Hard

  1. Sonja, you are so incredible. I am just floored by your talents. You are making excellent progress. I love your poem. Proud to be your sister.

    Like

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