Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Following the Flow....

"The Flow" is that intense state one attains when the artist and piece of art are "inter meshed"... and the artist really is unaware of the passage of time, surroundings or any other needs.It is a fairly pleasant state usually, despite the intensity of thoughts and actions and can last hours at a time for "Me".

Not surprisingly however, it often is disrupted prematurely... out of sheer necessity... by outside influences such as other family members, call to meals or in my case the actual preparation of meals-"I" am the cook of the household (by choice)... while my wife carries out cleaning duties. We both feel that this a fair arrangement... but we occasionally help the other with their "assignment/choice".

I try to prepare meals early in the day... just so I can sustain this productive period for a longer duration of time.I often return to the easel after evening meal, but find that even the smallest of time away from the work creates a "block"... and it is difficult to get the "feel of the paint" and the mood... from where I left off. We are indeed strange creatures of habit and ritual worship!

During this next session, I was able to rework the background areas to near completion... with some possible tonal adjustments and edge refining at the concluding session later. I then moved along the left hand fence line to define what was happening up to the foreground.

Finally... I decided that it was necessary for me to now direct my attention to the foreground rock fence... simply establishing individual rocks in very washy colour to at least offset the stark difference between the fore and middle ground areas.I then added a few foliage details be hing the rock mass to indicate possible directions across the entire rock mass.

I discovered... to my chagrin.. that the upper left sky area is not drying as quickly as usual. I used an older half tube of "Soft Mixing Formula" titanium white because I ran out of my usual fast-drying alkyd white. All of the linseed oil has leached into the mouth of the tube. Besides causing a mess to clean up on my palette... it has provided a runnier, much oilier and much slower drying version of the usual pigment.

I decided to not push forward using this problem-causing white. I added some gel medium to the white and simply created a "grisaille" rendering of each rock... hoping that it will dry up overnight.

I have to wait it out... or scrape and start over. Liking the existing sky... I have elected to raise the heat in the studio.. and patiently wait overnight and see what the morning brings. Be back to you... hoefully tomorrow... when the paint's dry!!!

Good painting!


  1. Bruce..fun to follow and to hear how it is for you "oil folks"...as a watercolorist that has never ventured out into another medium it is fascinating to hear the approach (so different) and the struggles (some the same and some different). Anyway, thanks for sharing...oh and totally understand the "flow" thing...it is challenging being the wife, the mom, the cook, the mom, the cleaner, the laundress, the chauffeur, the .....yet still trying to stay in the "groove" of the painting.

  2. Hi again Julie!... Thank You" for your continued interest... comments and visits to this blog. Just so you know... this particular "oil folkster"... began his artistic journey as a full blown watercolourist for the first twenty years of his pursuit/career.

    I worked between a near photorealistic approach to a painterly "sketch" style which suited my exploration goals... search for discipline and a market for my work. In so doing... "I" was forced by the very nature of watercolour and our long Canadian winters... to be tied to studio work and to be out of touch with the outdoors.

    "I" was and still am a "River Boy"... having been raised on the St Lawrence River all my life. I still canoe... hike... snowshoe and fish occasionally... out of a very strong need for solitude really. "I" prefer to paint outside whenever "I" am able to leave the rigours of commission work and gallery duties here at our Paint Box Gallery.

    I learned a great deal from my watercolour years... and still haul them out when I travel... or wish to work from the car on inclement days... or just for a change in thinking and medium.

    As for your "multi-tasking" Motherhood role... "I" followed the very same path raising children... renovating homes... teaching elementary school for nearly thirty years. All during this time I DEMANDED weekly time away from these duties (Saturdays) to pursue my painting passion with a long time friend and painter. I painted two or three solo shows a year... and owned/shared my own home gallery in two different provinces.

    "You" have talent... passion and the RIGHT to Happiness. Whether "You" feel justified in requesting/ demanding it... lies within your heart alone. "I" sense that "You" have a "good" heart... a sense of fairness. Call upon those and decide to "stay in the groove"!

    Good groovin'... and painting!

    Warm regards,

  3. Thanks Bruce!!! gotta get back into my "groove"....

  4. Hi again!..... My pleasure Julie! Groove away!

    Good groovin' and painting!

    Warm regards,

  5. Bruce,
    Nice to see the scale of this piece (the image of you painting it) very cool and really a beauty. Looks fun, I may have to give a large one another try.
    All the best,

  6. Hi Todd!... Good to hear from "You" again! "You" must also be a very busy man with preparations for upcoming commitments ...in conjunction with your family activities.

    Yes... the scale of this work is daunting perhaps... but not really... given that "I" spend a lot of time in the planning...and have had enough experience "painting large"... that "I" actually look forward to and prefer working in in such a large format. The feeling of "big arm" strokes... complete freedom and the space to REALLY "say" something important to the viewer... and from "within"... is so heady and uplifting!

    "I" would think that the feeling would be very similar to that of an orchestra conductor... to feel... perform...and direct many voices... on an "epic" piece. "I" do not intend this to sound pompous at all Todd... and "I" know that "YOU" having had similar experiences and feelings ... will accept this in the context and spirit in which it is offered.

    Boy!...How "I" truly wish that some day... somehow... "We" could meet... and share some time painting together! "I" truly have such admiration for your work... and your family values!Enough said...Back to the easel!

    Good Painting my Friend!
    Warm regards,