Wednesday, July 14, 2010

THE CONSTANT STRUGGLE TO CREATE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL AND SATISFYING

I'm slowly building up darks. Need more on the inner part of the railing facing the chairs. Need more on the last two chairs. I know what my modus operandi is = leave nice whites with masking fluid and then make them all vanish once you get the brush in your hand. Have to fight with myself to NOT do that this time. I've already gotten too yellow in the railing than I wanted. I'm unsure what makes me get into this mode of "more paint, that will make it right," instead of the real essence of painting - which is "less is always more" and "leave some areas for the viewer to fill in so they can participate."



I was reading Robert Genn's weekly newsletter about Wabi-Sabi and leaving things undone, untouched...more for the viewer to participate. I don't seem able to do that - I want to explain every little detail to you although I'm not a detailed painter. I think part of it comes from my feeling like I should be doing something - working on something every day, not letting it sit and letting it tell me what it needs to finish, if anything.

I love to see more impressionistic work from artists in every medium...and yet I seem unable to create work like that because when I leave something undone my mental critic says, "You didn't finish that!"

I am promising myself that I will not touch that deck - leaving the pale yellow wash and the shadow shapes as is. But that railing now bothers me and I'll have to do something to tone down that yellow - but that means putting more color on because I can't seem to remove what's there. What to do, what to do? Why do people think painting is so much fun?

Read the Robert Genn newsletters from this week and last - very interesting stuff and perhaps the problem is it's not an American/European style built into us so we fight to simplify, omit, leave the hand of the artist in?

I think I'm going to veg out for a few days - our weather is going to be scorching again until Saturday - too hot and humid and sticky and blah to do anything but sit and read and drink cool drinks on the verandah :)

13 comments:

Gaylynn said...

Rhonda, we are kindred spirits. I too want to put every detail in when I know less is more. I too would LOVE to be more spontaneous and impressionistic. And like you I let my mind rule and I loose the battle. If you figure out how to stop, please let me know and I will do the same.
As for your painting...I am really loving the shadow on the deck and the roll of the waves. The rail.. don't darken it too much I like the yellow. I think this is definitely a prize painting.

Gretchen Bjornson ART said...

Wow, I have the same thoughts run through my head as well. I too believe there is something to be said for letting the view fill in at times, but how do you know when and how much? I love where you are going with your painting. I think the shadows of the chairs are incredible. I am currently "on hold" with one of my own paintings for just the same reason.....is it finished and should I stop or do I work on it more. I would love if you could glance at it and leave your thoughts as well. The post is titled "Pick Me".

Vicki Greene said...

Well I can't say anything about putting in detail since you know my painting style - lol. I think this is looking great and the shadows just make my heart dance!

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Love the post title - so so true. I've been playing with YUPO and acrylic inks of late and its been a struggle not to add that bit of realism to the patterns achieved. Why do we have to 'say' everything and not leave it to the viewer to decide what it is??? The verandah, chairs and shadows of this latest piece are wonderfully executed, but still not sure about the sea's perspective.

Ann Buckner said...

Rhonda, love those shadows. This is one of my favorites of your work and will be interested to see how you resolve the railing.

Gillian said...

It's coming on well, don't worry. Those shadows are amazing - so hard to get right too. x

Michelle Himes said...

This one came out great, Rhonda. I want to be sitting in one of those chairs.

Christiane Kingsley said...

Rhonda, you mention what I call "the trick of the disappearing whites". I am great at that trick...the problem is that I can never get those whites back. I often know that I should stop, but my hand seems to have a will of its own and will just go and cover up all that beautiful white paper:-)
I love what you have done with this painting. It will be a winner.

Carol King said...

Hi Rhonda, This is a terrific painting. I love the colorful deck chairs and the shadows are sublime.

Ginny Stiles said...

Some subject matter seems to WANT to be detailed. There is nothing wrong with that. I find your painting a pleasure to look at!

A fun thing to do is to trace over a detailed painting and then put most of the details on paper (or canvas or whatever) and then get a much larger brush (usually a flat) and trying out a whole different approach to the same subject. One fun way is to use translucent Yupo paper. You can actually tape the paper OVER the first painting and then play around with changing it into a looser painting.

RHCarpenter said...

Thanks so much, Gaylynn, Gretchen, Vicki, Joan, Ann, Gillian, Michelle, Christiane, Carol and Ginny for your comments on this and the need to do less/leave more for the viewer. I wasn't ignoring you all - just was out of town for a while. I'll catch up soon. And I'll check out your painting, Gretchen, and send you an email on it :)
Joan, you are the only one who has said the sea doesn't look right and I agree with you - it bothers me - doesn't seem flattened out enough close to the railing. I will see what I can do with that because it does bother me each time I view it - or do another with maybe just a sandy beach since I want it to be about the chairs and shadows more than anything else = again, less is more! ha ha
I'm so glad I have you all to return to and chat with and talk art with!!!
Ginny, I don't have any transluscent yupo but I know where to get some and that's an excellent idea to use it to loosen up after you've worked (or overworked) a painting :)

Suzanne McDermott said...

I have so much to say to you about your post that I can't think where to begin. So I'll just say that at some point in my first session of basic drawing class, I explain that the mind can put together a picture with very little information. It's always a struggle to know when to stop. It's also a struggle to be immediate, vibrant and bold at first stroke as an alternate to building up careful layers. You've read enough of my comments to know that I prefer the unfinished to the finished. Especially in watercolor - I love the unadulterated stroke and the white of the paper.

Looks like you're having great fun in Chicago!

RHCarpenter said...

Suzanne, I, too, am drawn to the white of the paper, the about left unsaid - in the work of others. In my own work, I find this the hardest thing to accomplish but it's a goal I'll keep working towards. Someday I'll be able to lay that stroke down and walk away smiling :)