Two years ago I threw up my hands and declared that I wasn’t going to let Canvasworks run me any more! After more than 20 years, the business had evolved into a beast that left me with no time to explore, try and learn from mistakes. I spent the better part of my days dealing with the business end of things and when I did get a chance to paint it was usually a floorcloth of a design I had previously executed dozens and dozens of times. With great trepidation I closed down the Blanks business (the source of several hours of computer time every day) and vowed to focus on my “art” and step back from the production.
It has been a wonderful journey. Now I start my days with a doodle and each week I create a painting of whatever I want. Ideas for drawings and paintings come at me throughout the day and I try to grasp them as they flutter by. I allow myself to study other people’s work- to really look at it and figure out what makes it tick- and most importantly, I allow myself to just create. Whatever. Whenever. My spirit is lifted. I’m curious again and I am able to see things I had been shut down to for so long. I go for walks and revel in the colors and shadows and shapes.
This week’s painting was a complete experiment. After studying old paintings of farms and landscapes I decided my paintings needed to be darker. So I underpainted one of my canvases on board in a greenish gray. As I brushed the paint on I thought, “Yikes! How is this ever going to work?” How was I going to show blue sky on a dark, greenish gray background? I kept going. And the result totally took me by surprise. Suddenly I have a mysterious, peaceful, moody meadow, drifting off to a cool, distant rolling mountain in the background. And that sky… whatever happened there, I’ll take it! There will definitely be more of these to come, but the biggest thing I learned by painting this was that it’s OK to take a chance. It’s OK to try something I’m not sure about. The worst that could happen is that I have to repaint the board.
Life is exciting. Art is one giant experiment. Enjoy the journey!
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