Finishing a space painting

Last week I wrote about three space paintings I was currently working on. I’ve still been whittling away at them, but I think I finally finished one of them. Maybe. At the moment of this writing, I’m waiting to see how dark the acrylics get after it dries and cures completely.

Let’s have a quick look back at the painting from last week:

Every time the starburst in the center dried, it got darker and darker. I kept having to paint it over and over to brighten the colors. Here’s the next layer:

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At this point in the painting, I was really thinking about painting this over and starting anew. I liked some of it, but it was no where near what I had in my mind. Yet, I likes the gaseous clouds, so I thought I’d keep working. What could it hurt, right?

Note how much the centered darkened after drying here on this next picture compared to the last. It might not seem like a lot, but it was. In fact, this might actually have had another yellow layer put over it before I took the picture. Anyway, this was the first star layer.

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Space – a continuing mission

I’m still continuing to work on the space paintings. Here’s my next step in their progress.

This one is the cloudy nebula.

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Trying to get a second layer on there without killing the first. The paints are still wet in this photo, so I’m certain they are much brighter than they will be when they dry. It really is scary to see how dark it gets. Its like I walk away from it, and then when I come back it’s so much darker and I feel like I’ve lost all the light. I begin to wonder if I will be able to pull any of it back in.

Here’s the next stage of another painting:

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Space painting – WIP

I mentioned in a couple of my progress blogs that I’d been painting. I have been experimenting recently with space nebulae.

Had to teach myself the valuable lesson of having fun once again a couple nights ago during my painting session. I was trying so hard not to mess up a painting I was working on, even though it was study painting and I should have been exploring concepts rather than trying to do a “masterpiece.” So guess what happened?

Yep, I messed it up. I was so not happy with it. I decided to play around with the mess I had on my canvas.

Wow! Rather than pulling my paint with the brush over the canvas, I started to push it. Because I had such a mess, I was getting incredible results. Well, I thought they were. Here’s what resulted:

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While waiting for this one to dry, I started a new canvas and I just let this playful state I’d reached have at it. Here’s it’s result:

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Expanded creativity

I haven’t shown any of my paintings for a while. Mostly because I haven’t painted in a couple months.

However, recently I had a friend purchase some of my artwork and I’m fortunate enough to see how she used her own creativity to expand upon what I had done.

Sally had this extra frame she’d purchase, but she hadn’t known just quite what to do with it until she saw one of my blogs on my artwork. She asked me to show her what paintings I had for sale. Happily, I brought in my box for her to dig through.

She picked two which really spoke to her (as is a great way to pick art — gee, imagine that: you buy art that you want to look at. Simple. *grin*).

Here’s how she put it all together:

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“I like hidden things,” Sally told me. “I like things that make you think.” She said that my paintings reminded her of The Secret Garden and that she wanted to know what was behind the doorway. In her mind, it goes to a place hidden away where the swing is.

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Listening to her talk about it reminds me why I like to paint: I get to create my secret place, my hide-away. Writing gives me a place where I can have people dealing with strife. But painting is where I am completely alone in my own little mental exploration. I’m never alone on my writing adventures, but I am when I’m painting.

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It’s great to see something that I created be part of a larger piece of someone else’s creativity like this.

Thank you, Sally, for letting me share!

Illustration progress – February 27, 2018

While I didn’t get to work on any kid’s books last week, I did spend some time working on my Rockin’ Life and Weblink’s comics. I still haven’t decided what book I want to work on, but I suspect I know what I’m going to do.  Hopefully this week I’ll be able to get to working on it, if I don’t feel too tired from being sick (or, heaven forbid, get worse).

This is an in-progress page for Rockin’ Life:

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Children’s Book Progress – February 15, 2018

This is actually the end page of the book, though I am not to the end. Please don’t take that as me having finished. (grin) I merely had finished inking it and jumped right into coloring it.

It looks kind of weird in my thumbnail panel because I have all these colored pages, a few inked pages, and then the one final colored page. Makes me laugh to myself. And I think back to when I started this and only had a few pages inked and those last few pages were blank. It felt like forever away. But just working on it steadily, I can’t believe I’m now nearing the end and I’m starting to wonder how the process to getting it published is going to work. Novels, short stories, no problem, but I’ve never done a book with pictures before.

I am looking forward to learning though. It will be a process and I’m sure I’ll get frustrated in it, but I will figure it out. The obstacle before me is not that big; I just have to keep walking through it. Quite frankly, it, like all other “obstacles” people think are huge insurmountable things that one has to climb over, is really a tunnel that just must be tread. You can either go through it and enjoy the journey, or you can stand outside wondering how you will ever get to the other side. Too many people turn back.  (I’m thinking this needs to be a Rockin’ Life post — grin!).

Here’s the final page:

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When you face the reflection

Last time I posed the question of what your art was saying about you — perhaps even something you didn’t realize you were saying.

There is a flip-side to that. What happens to your art when you do realize it says something about you, especially if you weren’t expecting it.

I admit that ever since speaking with the gentleman in my booth which I mentioned in my last post, I have had a conscious awareness of the horizon line in my art. Am I always making a low horizon and putting too much sky in? In some ways, as I look back on my painting over the last few years, I realize now that I’ve been crippled by that reflection.

No, really, it’s true.

I haven’t been painting a whole lot in the last year. At first, I wondered if it had to do with my mother’s passing. Next week, it will be a year since she died. It was easy to think that I carried around guilt that weighed too heavily on my heart for me to get to that spot that I like to be when I’m painting. The truth of it is that my mother was very sick and in a lot of pain. She needed her rest. I have never regretted that her soul is free from the body that never quite functioned correctly. She lived through a lot, more than anyone else with her condition. She was more than a medical miracle, she was a survivor. But it was time for her to rest now before she became dependent upon other people to take care of her — she wouldn’t have like that and no one would’ve done it well enough for her. I knew all this in my heart, so I knew this was not the reason for my not painting. There had to be something more.

As I pondered about it, the scene with the man in my booth came back to me. At the time, I’d already been struggling with myself about my art: did I really want to paint sunsets and trees for the next 60 years? I felt I needed to take my art to the next level. Then I came face-to-face with a revelation about my art which I hadn’t realized was there and became conscious about it in my following paintings. Being so mindful of that, I didn’t realize that subconsciously I was losing the joy. Oh, once I get to painting I’m fine. I enjoy the process. But getting over the hurdle of actually picking up a brush and painting has been a challenge. Now, I think I understand why — I’m afraid to face the reflection of what my art is saying about me.

Truthfully, that’s a sad state.

First off, it’s a judgement. I think back to that quotation I posted awhile ago — “Each time you judge yourself, you break your heart.” — Kirpal Venanji

Secondly, how can I ever lose myself in my art if I’m restraining a part of myself? I am conscious of what “someone” might think. I am, therefore, not painting what I love with love.

Thirdly, I’m locked in a frustrated state of being concerned about what I think about myself while also being concerned about my potential audience thinks about me. It’s easy to let the negativity seep into your soul. It’s no wonder I’ve come to nearly a complete stop.

I am not aware of what’s going on in my own head, so what am I going to do about it?

I’m not sure I have a total answer to that question yet. I do realize that I must quit judging myself and letting the opinion of others sway me. I need to be wholly in the process. I need to get back to that place of peace and joy where I paint (and draw for that matter) for myself and not with a market in mind. I suspect this is a turning point in my journey. We’ll just have to see how it pans out.

What’s your story? Have you ever encountered hurtles in your artistic journey as a result of coming face-to-face with an aspect of your art being reflected back at you?