Returning to Paint.

Returning to Paint
My palette.  Paint mixing with lots or warm tones. 
After the Elegy project, I was tired of animating.  One thing I'd always loved about animation was the sense of discovery, adventure, and magic, that came from finding a new way to bring a drawing or painting to life.  So you can imagine that when I no longer felt like animating, I was a bit puzzled on what to do next.  I wasn't afraid though, I'd learned over time, that if I tended to go where my energy was, just as I had left painting before, I would eventually return to animation.  Anyways, I had a series of canvases in my studio, ones that Cam had built for me.  I also had a box of old paints.  A box that seemed to keep accumulating with new paint as another person who stopped painting, passed their old paints onto me.  Now I don't know when the desire to paint returned to me, but it did with an urgency.  Suddenly I wanted to prime canvases, watch the layers of surface build up.  I wanted to mix colors and mix them with no plan, no base drawing. I wanted to place them onto canvas and then respond in an act of improvisation, learning on the surface of the fabric or wood.  At one point, I even dreamed of painting.

What was Danish? Underpainting.
What was Danish.  Finished work.

During the height of animation production, my studio felt like a series of check lists.  My attention was spent more on building things for an overall story, then laboring away on a solitary object until I could solve it no more.  I missed laboring on a object, the slowness of paint, the back and forth as things dried and then get repainted-how that waiting period became as much about waiting for the next idea for the piece, as it is waiting for the surface to be ready.

What was Czech? Under painting.
When I am lost in painting, time flies.  I love to match colors, to analyze them, to mix them up like a luscious inedible frosting.  I love to discover a new way to make a surface.  Add a little walnut oil.  Mash up some old paint.  Make drips with lots of Gamsol.  I relish the process of holding onto a choice section or painting over an area I don't like, that discovery of a chance accident, or a series of painterly color shifts are prize moments.


I tend to be an intuitive artist, I get a gut feeling about a project, and if the signs look right, I follow it through with absolute focus.  It is a strange thing to be making paintings in a time when art happens fast and painting seems old fashioned or precious, but I wouldn't give that time back for anything.That is what I've been realizing lately.  Time is my greatest asset.  I put time in my studio today.  I can't say that I necessarily feel accomplished, but I did move things along.

Above: Red Neck Girl Series of Passes on painting.

As I was walking today, I thought of Paula Modersohn Becker, I thought about how she led such a short life, but still managed to make so many paintings, and I thought maybe she knew she didn't have that long, and that was why she chose to spend her time doing what she loved best, painting the world around her.

Paula Modersohn Becker, Self-Portrait,
My paintings these days seem to be about me making sense of the the world.  They are a way I more deeply contemplate an idea I am trying to understand, they illustrate my understandings, they make ties between things that I view as important.  

And so for the past year, and some, I've been painting.  I say it like a strange confessional.  One where I feel guilt to return to a place I enjoy, that is comforting and for me, beautiful.  Painters have so many opinions on each others work, my self critic says I'm a hack because I move around image making so much between animation-video-community arts-painting, but that is what keeps me going, entertained, out of ruts, and with that sense of discovery.

Pieta for Mike Brown.  Underpainting.
Pieta for Mike Brown.  Finished Painting.

Being an artist is jumping of a cliff. I have to trust that things will work out, trust my gut about what I need to make and the voice I have, or at the very least, I have to make sure that being in the studio is still joyful for me and is where I want to be.
And wouldn't you know it, I'm preparing for another animation.


Lyndsey Scott said…
i love peeking into your studio and your process!
Wander Full said…
Thanks Lyndsey you too!

Popular Posts