They tell me to do what I love

I…haven’t been writing much, over the past two days. As I think on it, I recall that I’ve been working on art. It clears my mind. M says that because of this, I, “should be doing it, all the time.” I have a tendency to worry too much, and to still harbor accumulated pains from the past. When I get into a flow state with my art, however, I focus on that, not on memories or worries.

This is in contrast to my writing, which — if not done with full awareness — often enough leads me into catastrophic thinking. Maybe that’s why I have tended away from fiction: facts rarely depict the worst-case scenario. Hells are largely self-generated and self-centered. No one knows what you most fear but you, which makes you easily your most capable, your most constant, and quite possibly your worst, enemy.

A couple of days ago, I put in some more work on the Goddess painting that I keep talking about but have never shown, due largely to the fact that it began as a reproduction of another artist’s work in another medium. I can see it growing beyond that, however. It had been sitting on an easel and gathering dust, for a while — until I began the initiative of making it different from the image it was based on. I had to do this in order to progress, at all.

I can see the difference between underpainting and reaching a stage nearer to completion, right now; I just didn’t realize the “underpainting” stage would last so long!

Not to mention: I have recently realized the uses of a palette knife in mixing heavy-body paints…which makes it much, much easier to mix the color of paint I’m looking for, before painting it down. I had been having some amount of trouble with my brushes becoming overloaded, prior. Now, I mix the paint with the palette knife and wipe off any excess with the brush I’m using, before I go to the canvas. No need to saturate the brush with the paint.

As well, I’ve been experimenting with color, via that acorn squash I drew one post back. It’s reproduced below, by the way; I’m not totally happy with the way I originally cropped it.

I was experimenting with the idea of keeping the values (range of light to dark) the same as in the original graphite study, while changing the hues of those values. I can see some abstraction here that reminds me of my work in Community College; the transitions between values may be too sharp. I found that to make something look realistic, I want to work in analogous color (if what I’m drawing is monochromatic, like this orange Acorn squash).

In monochrome, the darkest values are implicitly the same hue as the base color of the squash, and the lightest values are understood the same way. In color, if I shift the darkest values too far in hue from the midtones, it reads as a difference in the color of the surface of the object — or as a metallic or otherwise highly reflective object, reflecting different colors in the room.

Granted that I didn’t hold to the exact values of the original study, precisely; only to the areas of similar value. Nor did I limit the range of values to the range actually appearing on the object, as I believe I would have to if including other objects in the same image. I do have some directions on how to “sight” values, which I’ll probably end up falling back on, at some point.

I also note that having freedom where it comes to color scheme, actually makes this more enjoyable than it would be if I were slavishly copying reality.

I have been so into this, that I haven’t wanted to pause to record my thoughts. I’m doing it now so that I have some kind of record, although I did all of the above sketches in my old Art Journal, which also serves as a record.

It has been a long time since I’ve allowed myself to go back to colored pencil. I started out drawing, originally, in graphite and colored pencil, but have (historically speaking) recently been drawn to fluid media, for the density and depth of color. Both colored pencil and graphite are much easier to control, however; and with modern scanning equipment, it isn’t necessary to work in ink or paint in order for images to come out looking alright, once digitized.

I was also fairly surprised at how much these studies did turn out, looking like paintings.

Maybe it isn’t necessarily, “do what you love,” (which is slightly ambiguous, slightly pressured, and never certain) so much as, “do what brings you peace, happiness, and good health.” I understand the latter much more than the former…

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