Just taking my time with two paintings

Tucson Palm Reader 6×8  oil on canvas board

Coming back from Tucson last month was a cool experience as an artist.  You put yourself into a different environment and challenge yourself to think different, see different and be different.  But are you really different?

When I stayed at someone’s place for about a week, it was comfortable surroundings.  More comfortable than my own place in New Mexico.  I had a great bed, cable tv, and WI-FI for my computer.  The only thing is, is  that I overdid it a bit with the tv.  I don’t own a tv personally because I knew how distracted it would be to my life.  But I was really into making up for lost time so I watched a lot of tv.  I then started feeling bad, about all the time I spent watching this nasty tube when I could have been painting.  I started feeling guilty and felt my soul slowly sinking into the abyss I didn’t want to happen.  Something had to be done.

So I went outside, even drove around Tucson to see what will inspire me to paint.  My first painting was done at a local art fair from my booth.  I thought that this would be a good start to welcome my visit.  I worked on “Tuscon Palm Reader” from the booth and finished it a few weeks later back home in New Mexico.  I really enjoy the purples and rough little jagged edges of the mountains.  The palm tree was a nice touch, because it gives the viewer a sense of place.  Without that palm, the scene could be a dozen places.  I wanted to take my time with this piece.  My next piece done a few days later became “Tucson Cliffs”.

Tucson Cliffs 6×8  oil on canvas board

This painting was a direct result of landscape hunting for a while.  I went up to the foothills where there were some upscale galleries and a beautiful sunset coming down on the Catalina Mountains.  There were just a simple array of oranges and purples when I finished part one in Tucson.  When I got back home, I tightened the shadows, made more distinct strokes, light and dark, too add some of my own personality to the piece while “taking my time”.

So normally when you’re in a plein air state of mind, you want to just get the basic colors and shapes at the scene, then paint a larger version when you get back to your home or studio and fill in the details and your own personal impressions that completes the piece.  I haven’t painted it larger, just over the same little painting, because I wasn’t ready to paint a larger version.  I’m still comfortable with the small side but will try to expand on that, to paint larger.  This will help my development as an artist.  I guess flirting with your discomfort zone will help you grow, who knows.

I just have to keep it going, hopefully this will be a great start to the new year.