Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Daily Painting or Painting Daily by K. Joann Russell of Sunflower Studio Art

What an education a blog gives me! The cyberworld “talks” all the time from the blogs created with words. The daily painters’ blogs delight with the colors and compositions of paintings. Today in the gorgeous sunshine that gives us a break from the wind, torrential rains, and persistent gray of the Pacific Northwest I pondered why my blog posts are few and far between.

My life is energized with creativity. I revel in colors. Show me clear, vibrant colors and my head spins with ideas in all kinds of media, two and three dimensional. Let me outdoors and I can dance at the sight of the autumn colors of leaves from deep reds to pale yellows against the dark greens of our evergreen trees. I’m awed by the gorgeous array of colors of the sunrise or sunset on Mt. Rainier viewed from my location above Puget Sound waters. Yet, I relish silence and solitude when painting as long as I have plenty of natural light.

Am I not a daily painter? Where are the daily paintings? Am I comparing myself to those who “produce” a “daily” painting…….completed, ready to be bought? Yes, I think so.

For me painting is a process, not a production line. I personally can stand the same ole’ same ole’ only so long when I’m bursting with new ideas. That doesn't deter from my ingrained work ethic. On the other hand, the methodical processes can offer me a calming effect from overly active days or doing things that require mental focus…….consider bookkeeping tasks.

Quick answer to long question: My painting daily goes right back to the process I was in the previous day. I rarely do tiny completed paintings as warm ups. I jump right back in where I left off. My warm up is the habitual palette preparation or rejuvenation routine. Consider filling the watercolor jars with fresh water…….spraying the acrylics in the sealed palette…….

So, as part of my explanation, I’ve included a photo of a watercolor in process. Translation: it is not completed yet.

Original Watercolor Painting of Sunflowers


What does process look like for this artist? Pen, pencil always with me plus blank and graph paper section in my personal planner and a sketch book nearby. I “talk” with my pen or pencil. That’s second nature for me, to illustrate what I’m thinking. Often I intersperse words, occasionally numbers or dimensions. I have a hard time “filling in the boxes” or coloring “within the lines.” When actually speaking I find it difficult to keep my hands idle. I’m gesturing naturally, sculpting three dimensional space as I do in interior design. I just “see” the whole volume and then the planes. I’m an artist 24/7 naturally. It took a long time to understand how I am wired!

I play with colors. Any “warm up” I do would look like a little abstract painting. I’ve thought of putting those on greeting card blanks, but I’d have to cut up my large sketch book pages. That would ruin my many, many sketch books that “journal” my artistic endeavors. I do go back to them on occasion as references or to refresh my memory.

I use more than one media. The watercolor shown today is an example of my penchant for meticulous drawing and multiple watercolor glazes. It is very time consuming but it gets the need for control out of my system. I seem to go to that when too much is going on around me. For example, overdue income statements and balance sheets, meeting exciting new people, spontaneously developing business ideas, rethinking studio arrangements after reading current Studios magazine, evaluating new online venues such as Etsy and Handmade Fuzion.

Then there are times when I “cut loose” and paint as I want to paint all the time with bright colors and visible brush strokes. I’ve done a few recently in acrylics (my winter media), but I need to do more before letting them out to the public. I’m hoping it is a breakthrough from a plateau for me, but it must be considered experimental for now.

I haven’t given up on myself for changing habits to produce a tiny painting each day. I’m seriously considering continuing to offer them free to the first e-mailer. That frees me from the constraints of presenting only one consistent style of art. Those in the art business world understand what I’m talking about.

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