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”.
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.