Sunday, January 4, 2009

Painting in Our Minds

During my college days I would be assigned a term paper and rush immediately to the library to begin research, narrow my topic, and start filling out countless 3x5 cards. This fury of activity would last about a week and just when it would look like I could have my paper done months in advance I would stop to now work actively again until two to three days before it was due.

My "style" did not change when I was doing freelance writing. I had to chew subconsciously on my topic for a while. Yesterday when I seemed to be avoiding sitting at my painting desk in the studio I realized I was essentially doing the same thing.

My research is photography. Traveling back from my sister's house on New Year's day I took some interesting but uninspiring photos of dawn's light hitting the mountains I was driving through. And on January 2nd I took the above photo from my studio door. My paintings thus far have been of rising full moons or the sun above the horizon. Now my mind is chewing on dawns with no sun in view. How to paint such a sky? Or the mountains being painted gold on their east facing tips?

I saw a painting today of a Palestine cliff face being hit but the "off stage" sun and added that to my mental 3x5 cards. I don't spend a lot of time doing sketches or thumbnail color studies because by the time I am ready to paint what my mind has been chewing on I have painted it in my head. I may do one "study" on a smaller scale. To achieve this sky I will play with colors on a smaller canvas. I will do a sketch that is part Ortiz Mountains and Palestine cliff. I will look again at my "notes" - the photographs I have taken. Then I will paint what is in my mind.

Until then I seem to be avoiding that corner of my studio.

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