Painting explorations and other musings

Following my latest fable about a runaway goat I later named "the redeemer", I have been taking a deep look at my life, asking questions like what am I doing, and why? How much of my choices are based on conditioning from society or the past, and what part are my true motives? What do I really want? Because, unless I am more clear with my intentions and purpose I'll always feel like I'm at the mercy of whatever comes my way. 

While I am still working through it, I thought I would pop back in to share some of that process. A lof of it has been writing my thoughts and reading, but I've also taken the opportunity to explore different creative avenues.

The painting above I did last Sunday during an Art Therapy workshop at Lula Mae in Pasadena. We were told to identify something we're going through and to paint not that thing, but what we want to happen instead. For me it was moving forward with clarity and courage. Riding a lion while going from nighttime to daytime and from a dry to an abundant land. For others, it was a big heart, a book for an unwritten life, a beautiful sunrise, a wall with intentions as bricks, or simply becoming alive! Images are quite powerful. Leaving the shop with my painting under my arm, I already felt a little more courageous and alive.

Another interesting thing I tried a couple weeks ago was a workshop at my local art store learning to paint realistically. Quite a new experience for me, as I normally prefer to take a more conceptual approach to art. Since we painted with acrylics we had to work fast, mixing the paint in thin layers, moving from the background to the foreground and details. I purposely made the lemons more orange, cause when life gives you lemons, you can make them meyer lemons, in other words better lemons (meyer in french sounds like "meilleur" or better)!

Where I learned the most I think was the lighting. Given an instruction to have diagonals of light and dark criss crossing the painting, I was stumped. How could I possibly paint the intersection of light and dark? I couldn't. It had to be either light or dark. Later I found a famous Chinese poem that explains this quite well, here's a quote from it: "Light and darkness are a pair, like the foot before and the foot behind, in walking." If we merged both of our legs we couldn't walk very well!

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Then here are some sketches from one weekly live drawing sessions at Center Stage Gallery. I had not done this kind of thing in years! A little intimidating drawing from a live subject but it's a good challenge, and the models are always costumed, which is so much fun. I really like the boxer costume, and attitude of this model. Doesn't she make you feel ready to fight for what you believe in?!

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Lastly, another thing I've been exploring is what I found out is called "automatic drawings", meaning I put the pen down on a piece of paper and just draw without thinking, as if the pen has a life of its own. What I have to tell myself to push through the fear and hesitation is "no one is going to see this". And now you do, ha! What comes out is a bit bizarre, but maybe that's a good thing?!

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It seems a habit to bunch a lot of stuff in one post - don't mind if I do! - but to me all this ties in one common thread. In all these activities I had to commit to whatever I put on paper or canvas and learn to live without the safety of the eraser or the back button. Well the results were not so bad.. and I survived!