Monday, 30 March 2009

My arms, and tulips

trying to paint every day -- well not so much trying, as allowing myself the gorgeous treat of painting every day.

The two paintings that I've called My Arms were inspired by a photograph of an Australian ballet dancer. First I did the small painting on a black background, using just cobalt blue and white. I quite liked the x-ray effect, and being delicate, which is not how I see myself but with all these miniatures turns out perhaps to be part of me or part of how I paint. Then I did a large painting on a yellow ochre background which took several days and was very frustrating to work with. I used a blue watercolour pencil over the top of the first, annoying, image, and the frustration produced sweeping strokes that I quite liked. By this point, the paper was buckling. I tried to keep the pleasing strokes by painting more yellow ochre over the top, before stretching the watercolour paper, which should have been done first but wasn't. Then inside the pencil strokes I put glazes of rose and white to get the muscle shapes. Then I wanted a dark background on the left-hand side. Now it sits like this, still taped to my board because I know it's not finished but I'm not sure what happens next. I suppose I have to wait and see..

When I photographed the pictures and saw them on my screen, I realised that my body had painted my body, at least my arms. To avoid tingling and numb fingers in the night, I have to sleep with my arms straight or stretched out; when I'm half asleep, it feels as if my arms are miles long, stretching out into the distance.

The tulips were painted yesterday and seem to be moving in the same way. Again, I don't think this picture is finished but there are bits of it I like so much, but I'm scared to do more in case I lose them. Perhaps somewhere in here is the solution... draw boxes around the bits I like and keep them while painting the rest? if it was on paper I could cut them out and collage.. how to take a risk?


artistfriend said...

I think that little dancing figure is wonderful - full of life and gaity - lightness and ease. Two things: it's sod's law that your best efforts will be on a bit of scrap paper or paper you haven't stretched - have several boards with paper ready stretched waiting at all times! As to taking risks, don't - put that bit of work aside for now, but keep working while your hand, brain and eye remember how to make those lines and shapes, in fact be like the dancer who will practise a move again and again and again until it becomes second nature. It looks like a great subject for some 'very fast drawings'. The tulips need more room, I think. Bigger paper? Or smaller scale? Lovely work.

Lynne Cameron said...

You are right about the tulips needing a bigger canvas - although it was quite big! I need to use my body to paint, like Billeter writing about Chinese calligraphy says, and that seems to require space. I will experiment with a small brush on big space and with preferred brush on even bigger to compare the physical experience and outcomes.