Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Creative Process - Sabbaticals

Raven in the Star by J. Binford-Bell

As a painter I have been on sabbatical. Other than a few small pieces like the one above I have not painted since last fall. I got bored. Bored with subjects, bored with producing, bored with techniques. Bored! So the little painting I did explored new subjects like the raven above. Or the horse skulls in Stampede below.

Stampede by J. Binford-Bell

That it was also a very slow art market this winter did not help inspire me to new output. But artists must create so I dove into photography in a big way and won prizes and sold photographs and secured a two month local exhibit for my sister and myself. I toyed with giving up painting entirely. Especially as I got more and more into post processing of my photographs.

Ice Fan by J. Binford-Bell

And at some point this spring it seemed that my photographic art was coming closer and closer to my painting. A collector of one of my old junker car photographs asked why I didn't paint a car. Fodder for the muse inside.

Get Your Kicks Too by J. Binford-Bell

I have this one set aside to paint. Even have the correct size stretcher bars. The green grass goes away. Yes, I could do that in my digital manipulation program but I feel myself doing it with paint easier. And with more enjoyment. I have taken a long enough sabbatical from painting that I have come to miss it. But I am also getting textures in photography I will miss. I could switch to oils if I had a thousand extra dollars hanging around for paints and brushes and easel. I don't.

But I think I may have found a solution to that with oil sticks. I ordered a set yesterday. And I have the limo and another subject I want to do on canvas with water media and oil sticks. Back into the studio with lab time. But lab time is another blog post entirely. This one is about taking a break.

I know friends of mine worried - still worry - I won't paint again. I frankly considered that an option at one point this winter. Then I began to think about painting. If it is something integral to who you are you will not abandon it entirely. But leaving it alone for a while allows you time to break ruts and explore new possibilities. In this case it allowed me to develop my photography which eventually fed on my artistic vision in my paintings and now it is feeding back into my painting.


  1. I'm glad you haven't given up painting altogether. I love what you do in both mediums. With regard to texture, have you considered texture paste for your paintings?

  2. Yes, I have tried various texture mediums including the one used on the raven in this post. Not quite satisfied. Yet


I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.