“You can’t do sketches enough. Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh.”
John Singer Sargent (from Brainyquotes)
Sketching is vital to developing artistic vision. For some artists it requires focus and discipline. For others, sketching is the artistic vision. As sketching evolves by the hand of the later, it gains an energy and drama that is quite compelling.
The blog, Doodlemum, is one such example. The artist’s doodles became the story of the artist’s life. The richness and poignancy of the work is immensely compelling. We want to be in Doodlemum’s life. Doodlemum’s doodles went on to become a book. Doodlemum’s doodles will inspire artistic vision and bring on a smile.
It is not always easy to make the effort to prepare for painting by making preliminary sketches. If there is an image in the artist’s head, it can be difficult to slow down the process and take the time to develop the concept through sketching before picking up a brush. How many frustrations can be avoided by taking the time to expand the “head” image by sketching first? And who knows, our sketchbooks may just take on lives of their own!
Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.”
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (from Goodreads.com)
Many artists become attached to paintings. Each painting is a self -portrait in a sense, regardless of subject. Creating a work can feel almost like birthing a child. It’s hard to abandon a painting for someone else to possess when so much of self is in it. Abandonment is painful. And once the painting is gone the abandonment is complete. Maybe we delay completion, to delay the pain of separation. Each artwork is the outward expression of an inner emotional reaction. It can be difficult to let go of that response. In some ways, it feels like abandoning our self to someone else.
Artist Emily Rose describes her process of emotional expression through her painting. Depending on the emotional space of the artist, as Emily Rose describes it, a painting can possess various levels of the manifestation of feelings. Likely, this same thing happens to many of us. A painting then becomes the outward symbol of our inner feelings. Letting go of a painting means letting go of inner feelings.
How do we objectively let go of paintings with feelings splattered all over them? How have other artists overcome this dilemma? Any suggestions?
“To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.” Georgia O’Keeffe
Was O’Keeffe right? Does art take courage? Painting takes time, effort and energy. But is courage behind the time, effort and energy? Courage is perhaps the necessary force for getting art out of the studio and into the public domain. Is it also the main force in the studio? Does it take courage to look at a blank white canvas and begin to create? I think so.
A blank white canvas can be very frightening. There may be an image floating around pushing to get onto that canvas but taking those first steps to get it there are sometimes slow in coming. For many artists, the first step is actually placing the paint on the palette, deciding what colors will go into the painting and how they will be mixed. For others, it is deciding which brushes to use. Will you start with a round brush? For me, it is deciding what ground color to lay on first. The process of preparation may also be the process of gathering courage.
Gather courage. Proceed to paint!