Painting

Not just sweet

The journaling challenge this week was “sweet.” As I worked on my (on a deadline) paintings, I spent a lot of time contemplating how to prevent the paintings from being sweet.

One thing that surprised me about being an artist (actually, about being human…) is just how free people are with their suggestions. A friend will show me a photo and say, “You should paint this.” Or a relative will insist I paint their dog, not hearing that I no longer do commissions. I rarely take these suggestions is because I have my own artistic inspirations to follow. Another reason is that people generally want a copy of the image they have presented to me; rarely do they want the flights of fantasy that sometimes accompany my pursuits.

A few months ago I submitted an entry to be accepted into the “FOR THE SEVENTH GENERATION: A Community of Coastal Watchers” show. To my delight, I was accepted. The show guidelines are pretty exact, so I began work as soon as possible. Then COVID-19 hit. The show was postponed and I thought cancelled. Then this week they contacted me with the rescheduled times! I have to turn in my painting next month!

I promptly abandoned the steeplechase projects of last week, dug out the acrylics, and went back to work.

The paintings have to be of a particular spot on the Washington, Oregon, or California coastline. I decided to paint the lookout from Coronado Shores, where the beach house is. 

After a lifetime of seeing this view, I wanted to show the coldness and wildness of the beach in winter.

The paintings must be 48″ x 24″ on wood panel, so I bough a wood panel and set about prepping it with gesso so I could start painting. I decided to use a combination of black and white gesso. That is where I got sidetracked. I loved the way the colors blended, and when I ran out of white gesso, I started adding colored acrylic paint.

“Low Barometer Storm”

The problem is that I like it. I think it’s cold and powerful and turbulent. But it’s not finished. And I don’t know where to go.

This was too much for my addled brain, so I decided to tackle my second painting idea.

The problem with turning this into a painting goes back to the intro of this post. How can I keep it from becoming a sweet, sunset painting?

I don’t have an answer, but here is where I am at the end of the weekend.

“The Four Brothers, Siletz Bay”

I do not paint often in acrylic, and I am really struggling with the media. When I tighten up like this, my impulse is to smooth out every brushstroke. This has it’s place in this painting, but not everything can (or should) be smooth.

Well, I still have some time.

I did do one quick steeplechase study.

I was really struck by how awkward the legs actually are in the reference photo. Tangled. I think that may be the focus.

In other news, I received word today that my painting, “The Escape” got into the WSO fall show! Always exciting!

“The Escape” – 22″ x 15″ (will be listed at $400)

I am always interested in what gets into the shows. I also submitted “Tip Tap Start”.

“Tip Tap Start” – 15″ x 22″ ($400)

Which one would have you have chosen?

1 thought on “Not just sweet

  1. Hi Tara:: I really like seeing your process and your feelings about what you are doing. Thanks. Mary

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