Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Proof of life

I feel like I've been offline for weeks, which is, while not literally, at least conditionally true. Overwhelmed with non-artist-tasks, I haven't got new work to post.

As proof of my continued existence, I have this modest start on a grid of mixing squares, which I dutifully began after getting the word from Deb Schmit that, without it, I could not seriously expect to get into Artist's Heaven. Having been raised Catholic, I understand the need to have one's checklists done before applying to the Powers That Be for dispensation, else Things may go Badly. Like so many penances, mixing squares feels a lot like work.

I don't know when I'll be able to paint again, but it's gonna happen soon, or I'll have to hold myself ransom, and ask for more proof of life. Great. Now, I've brought to mind that scene from "Blazing Saddles".

But, check out the paper block this is painted on: 9"x21" (23x48cm, for those of you that aren't from around here.) It's just a 140# Canson sheet, but, you see, I got that 'super panarama' format that I was envying of David Lobenberg's. So, now I can stop envying. Another mortal sin I can cross off my list!


Melinda said...

This is wonderful, indeed, to see. At least you've started your "penance" and will one day move toward an indulgence. It is my hope that your indulgences will be bright. They will be thoughtful and they will provide you freedom from guilt. Your watercolor sheets await like sacred wafers offering to you the path of artistic absolution as you experience your own form of transubstantiation. Looking forward to more works!

Karen said...

When I looked at your squares, I first went ooooo color! Then I immediately felt very, very tired, because I, too, am working on my penances. I have seemingly endless charts on my studio wall right now, and I will grudgingly admit that they may have possibly helped me.

I think you should post your finished one. I also look forward to more works!

Edgar said...

Melinda -- I feel better already! Thanks for the encouragement. I'm raring to go. But, oh, gee, did you have to bring up the transubstantiation dispute? Let's let sleeping wafers lie.

Karen, thank you for the sympathy -- you must be "good people." It's funny how we just all leap at any sparkles of color isn't it? Knee-jerk artists. Like kids with a brand new 64 pack of Crayolas with the built-in sharpener. [I couldn't wait to round a color down so I could jam it into that hole in the box and see a nice sharp point emerge. No double entendres entendred.]

But you both give me an idea for discussion... what were the 'penances' we have done that have paid off for us as artists, and how did we do them?

Anonymous said...

Artist's Heaven?!!! Why wasn't I told about this? Do I need to sign up or will God know that that's where I belong. Wait. Maybe I'm not good enough. How presumptuous of me.

I think this is a gorgeous color chart. I think it's prettier in watercolor than in oils. I'd like to see it done. Please post it, kay?

Melinda said...

I think of my time as a stained glass commission artist as "penance" time. Cutting shapes, scoring glass, building panels were all ways of learning composition along with observing the power of shape and color. After all these years away from glass, I see that any artwork that is difficult, frustrating and ultimately unsuccessful as "penance." It is helpful to see these little failures as predecessors for good work.

Art exercises feel more like warm ups, not bad things. Don't you also feel that they are meditative? They are certainly free of critical analysis.

Karen said...

Another penance:
All the horrendous little paintings (that make me wince as I think of them) that I have and still do make, and I smile as I paint over them while I'm thinking to myself what Melinda said: that they are, I hope, predecessors for good work.

It's like we have to go in full well knowing that there's going to be a lot of bad things made along the way, and have the faith that they will pay off. How do they pay off? I think we make one mark we didn't know how to make yesterday, and that's a lot. ?

Anonymous said...

Silvina -- thanks for dropping by. I can't guess what God's criteria for entrance are (you'll have to take it up with Him/Her ;->)... but I'm a bet-covering kind of gambler, so I'll do my penance. I certainly feel more virtuous when I've done my chores. And (sigh), yeah, I'll post it, whenever I can get a sheet filled.

Melinda -- I can see the perspective of unsuccessful work being penance. It certainly feels like an act of self-abasement, if it's the result of not having done any work for a while (a situation I find myself in too often). But I sigh and huff through these exercises... I guess it's that feeling that I don't have enough time to be "wasting" it on getting ready. Yes, that means my office is a mess. But that's not the same as your time in stained glass -- which is a different kind of "dues." By the way, LOVE the slide show you got... such a great breadth and depth of work.

Karen -- "learning to do one thing differently." That is SO much! (Speaking as someone who keeps making the same mistakes over and over). said...

Oh, my - do I remember these. I did them in oil and watercolor.

I'm not sure how much they helped as color is still a struggle on every painting.

Marian Fortunati said...

It's now hard to get that Blazing Saddles scene out of my head... Too funny!
Soooooooo.... for those of us too lazy to do endless charts... does that mean we are doomed to art hell? OMG... could be, huh?
Your words made me smile... those charts... not so much.

Karen said...

I'm serving yet another penance: colored block studies.

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Edgar said...

Onpainting -- okay, so, thanks (I guess?) for letting me know that these are a waste of time... I just put an evening into working on another color set... suppose I'll chalk it up to "hours of my life I'll never get back." </kidding>

Marian -- Lazy? Cheer up! See, that's another thing that Catholics have over the literalist Protestants: options. Just 'cause you're not going to Heaven doesn't mean you're in Hell... you've got your Purgatory, your Limbo, and your Department of Motor Vehicles Waiting Room... all possibilities.

[Editorial aside: You got me wondering. What does "Artist's Hell" look like? Lessons from Thomas Kinkade, while standing in a lake of fire?]

Karen -- you are a glutton for punishment. And Gluttony is a sin, 'gurlfriend.' I've read of these "colored block studies" to which you refer, in Painting the Impressionist Landscape by Lois Griffel... didn't try them. Don't think I will.
But, now you have a new assignment: report back to the group on how this new self-abuse works for you. See? Doing work just gets you more work :-)

Sylvia Jenstad said...

I agree as much work as they are they do help....

Edgar said...

Sylvia -- Thanks for stopping by my little blog! I've been to your site, and your work is really accomplished :-)

Which exercises have you done that paid off for you?

Deb Schmit said...

Go Edgar!!!
I hope you have found your way past the left brain activity of color charts and happily returned to the more pleasant, right brain activity of intuitive painting.
Artists are like dogs.
We all get to go to heaven.