Sunday, March 01, 2009

Painting Season

This is painting season— January, February and March. The light is superb. There are no leaves on the trees to filter sunlight and it bounces off the snow creating unimaginable blazing crystal clear light! Even overcast days are bright. I paint dawn to dusk, pushing myself not to waste a minute of this light. The series I'm working on includes some detailed images that require all of the focus and concentration I can muster. I begin with a tracing of the larger areas and as I paint along, I refine the drawing, reworking it and adding more details as the painting progresses.

I feel a change brewing in my work. Maybe it's just the child rebelling against the required concentration. But the inner rumblings are growing more insistent. We'll see.

I'm disappointed that my fledgling painting group petered out over the holidays. But I'm also secretly delighted because now there are no interruptions to my painting season. Students wander aimlessly from class to class and teacher to teacher like sleep walkers drugged by a culture that demands we continually look for completion outside of ourselves. There are not enough classes, teachers or art supplies to ever assuage the emptiness everyone searches so hard to fill.

My recommendation: Everyday, for maybe ten or twenty minutes— no, let's make that 5 minutes— simply sit still and breathe. Be vividly aware of the breath filling and leaving your body. As that awareness grows, it will become your most valuable painting tool. No one can give that to you. It's a do-it-yourself-project. A bazillion art classes can't compare. Next, pick up that brush and paint. It's just like breathing.

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