first impressions (the art of)

I'd like to say that I put a lot of thought into the things I choose to put onto canvas. That I agonize for days over searching for just the right shot, the perfect lighting, that ever elusive 'a-HA' moment where divine inspiration strikes me mid forehead and curls my hair with ideas.

But this is not the case. My hair is just insane because it can be and sometimes my pieces are based on the most random of things. There really isn't a rhyme or reason to what inspires a painting for me. This is a contributing factor I think with the reason why none of my solo gallery show applications have been approved over the past couple of years. I'm not the best with cohesive themes, or sticking to them for long periods of time, at any rate. I like bunny trails. I like working on a series and then getting distracted by something else. Galleries seem to like shows with themes. I'm currently working on a proposal for a gallery show with a theme. We'll see how that is received.

Anyhow, back to agonizing over what to paint. I don't. I agonize over what to paint next. I choose one of my photos, flaws and all and paint it. Wires, odd trees, weird perspective, boring background and all. Some of those things can be ignored or enhanced. Add a bit of textured paper, some ink spatter and voila! Not boring. That sidewalk background in the photo you took of your kid? Change it? Why? It's part of that moment. You were looking down, there he was, you captured the perfect smile on his face, his hair is (mostly) tidy and the background just happens to be a sidewalk. Oh well. For me the best thing about painting is turning everyday things or scenes into interesting scenes. Why not paint those power pole reflections in that back alley puddle? Why not include that graffiti on the wall? Why complicate it? Life is complicated enough!  My favorite paintings that I've done, or commissions that I've taken on are the ones where there is just one photo to reference. First impressions for subject matter are what I do my best to go by. Sometimes it takes a while for me to paint something, like when I come back from a trip. I go through the photos and decide that nothing is jumping out at me just then, so I'll paint something from that trip later. Next time I go through those photos, maybe 5 photos will jump out at me and the ideas will be flying! I once read somewhere that Danny Michel will scrap a song if he feels he is spending too much time on it. Obviously it's not working, not flowing right so he just drops it and moves onto writing another. Hearing that made me feel so much better. Here I was feeling like a closet slacker. Spend how long on a painting? Sketch the whole thing out before you start painting it? Paint it once and then paint it again?! I don't have time for that! There are too many ideas I want to paint! Kudos to those that paint a painting before they paint it. I am not one of them. I feel terrible when people ask to know what the painting is going to look like before I'm done because I honestly don't know. I have a vague idea, but the paper choosing process happens on the fly most of the time. So does the ink color choice. Perhaps even the paint color or placement of any of these three media on the piece I'm working on.

All this to say that I chose the subject matter for the pieces I'm painting of CKUA after I was set up in the lobby for the Party In The Park last Friday. I knew I wanted to paint one of the photos from their archive, and I had a book that was full of them, but I am actually reading the book and don't like to skip ahead in what I'm reading, even just to look at the pictures. So on Friday, I unloaded my studio from my car and reassembled it in the lobby, opened my copy of 'CKUA: Radio Worth Fighting For' by Marylu Walters and figured that was as good as time as any to determine what was going on at least one of the two 20x20 inch canvases I brought with me to paint on. I looked through the photos and picked the two that grabbed me the most: the librarian (because her huge skirt is PLAID and she's pulling records from the shelves!) and what I think is a photo of an old control room with some turntables situated on the desk on either side of the chair in the middle. This is how they look so far:

The reference photos are black and white, so these will follow (loosely) that color scheme. The red background is just to give the various grey and blacks a bit more punch. I used a new paper of cream colored flowers for the walls. It's subtle and looks like wallpaper and is probably my new favorite paper.

These two pieces will be finished in the next few weeks and then delivered to CKUA. Then it's outta my hands, friends. I don't have details on what the bidding process will be or where and how you place your bid. When I have details, I will pass them along.

The end.