Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Out on a Limb

I finally did it.

After five months I made a commitment. I now have an official palette.

What took me so long, you ask? I don't know. It's silly really. If I change my mind about a particular color, no big deal.

Actually, it kind of is. Paint eventually dries rock hard and only after soaking and scrubbing, soaking and scrubbing, soaking and you finally get rid of it. But even that is really no big deal.

I think it had more to do with feeling qualified enough to decide for myself which paint pigments I think are important. I've relied on authorities: art teachers, art book authors. Of course, none of those "authorities" agree, so I've kept my paint safely in their little tubes, judiciously squeezing out only what I think I will need at the time waiting for the day when I would decide for myself what colors I wanted to choose.

Whatever my reluctance, I decided it was time and with nervousness, I squeezed out expensive paint into the little wells, emptying my precious tubes. I also printed out a key so that I would have a record. After painting my first painting using this palette, I am happy that I finally made the decision. No more scrambling in the middle of a wash to squeeze a little more paint into the interior of the palette. No more feeling guilty when I realize that I've wasted some. Now when I get ready to paint I just mist my wells and off I go!

I'm official. I'm least to choose my own pallet colors.

And here's that first painting. This is a Centennial Trail piece. I was drawn to the colors of the leaves one day as I was running by and came back with my camera to take some photos. The little berries went beautifully with the gorgeous reds in the leaves. The trail is full of these little brown birds...busy, busy, busy. I believe they are small robins.

I tried a new background wash with this piece that I was very pleased with. I used thick, thick, thicker than cream pigments on wet paper and let them mix together as they wanted, thus allowing the focus of the piece to be on the crisp foreground objects that I had found so compelling.

As I was running on the trail, it occurred to me that as a teacher, I was considered a "big picture" person. My lesson designs were always constructed backward, beginning with the end result and then working backward to flesh out all of the details which would lead up to the eventual big learning goal. As an artist, I find that I am struck with the details. Not stuck, struck, entranced, fascinated.

I have been thinking about my artist's vision. What do I think about my art? What is it that I want to say through my art? What makes something worth the time and effort of painting it? Heady stuff. I'm sure that whatever I say today will evolve into something else down the line (at least I hope so). For now, though, I seem to be drawn to the idea that there is more around us that we realize, more to us that we realize. Right now, my art is reflecting the realization that objects that are easily overlooked have incredible worth and beauty.

"It is the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive".
C.W. Leadbeater


  1. Awesome! I look at the beauty that you perceive in the every day world and am overcome with a sense of wonder. To have you share it with us is a priceless gift. Many thanks, dear.

  2. Friend of mine, this painting is utterly fantastic. Seems to me you've made some sort of quantum leap here. I hardly know what else to say but think there is so much more to be said. I guess we need to talk soon. In the meantime, love to you and congratulations on continuing to find your way.

  3. Thank you so much for your comments!! I was very pleased with this throughout the entire painting process. It was one of those times where you start holding your breath because you're afraid it won't turn out as well as you think it will.