Thursday, January 10, 2013

Percolating in The Between

My Ancient Twisted Karma
Watercolor on Arches, 22" x 22" © 2013 Kristine Fretheim

All of my ancient twisted karma,
from beginningless greed, hate and delusion,
born through body, speech and mind,
I now fully avow.

I'm in limbo, unable to get moving in the new year. I've no shortage of ideas for new work, yet I'm just percolating here in my studio, hanging out in the uneasiness and ambiguity between paintings. Do I take the familiar path— and immerse myself in a realistic painting with a clear end? Or jump into something new and untried? Instead, these past few weeks, I've been cleaning and puttering in the studio. My palette was getting moldy and some of the pigments had turned to a gravely sand-like consistency, so I decided it was time to forfeit some of them. I washed out the wells, saving what pigments I could, and cleaned dried puddles of color off the center mixing area. Washing these puddles away revealed the mixing area has become stained with sepia and winsor violet. I can work with it, but if any of you know how to get rid of these stains, please let me know! 

I replaced the old, crusty pigments with fresh, new, wet ones, filling up the palette again with colors I've grown to love. Verditer blue, lavender, naples yellow have caught my fancy. They're not transparent and in fact have a white base that adds a translucent fog to whatever image you apply them to.
I didn't stop there. I also purchased a set of Daniel Smith granulating pigments and their own little palette, and a new ground by Golden Acrylics to experiment with. Texture is the name of the game! Staining, lifting, scraping, scratching, sanding, glazing, layers upon layers. I guess that is a bit of a new painting direction for me.

As I worked on this painting, the words, All of my ancient twisted karma, drifted through my mind. I don't know why. Maybe they came to spring-clean my psyche, preparing me for another leap into some new unknown. We'll see.

May your new year bring happiness, health and well-being.


  1. ha, I've been rolling a post very much like this around in my head! I have cleaned my whole house, prepared bags of things for give-away, organized papers and drawers. My house has never been this sleek and pared down and tidy! I have spent a few afternoons in the studio but it takes time to get back into things. I can't quite bring myself to fully immerse myself in the discomfort of the unknown. I am avoiding it big time!

  2. I love this essay! Turning the corner from last year into the new year also causes me to clean palettes and studio, to reflect on past projects and ponder what to do next. A lot of pondering!

  3. I am "in-between" as well, in many ways, unable to get motivated to "paint", in between paintings as well - although not a fine artist like you - still - it's that sense of the empty canvas, and not knowing where to start. Although - I have 3 in progress from last year that I'm not quite sure what to do with... I have been using Golden Acrylics as well. As a newby "artist" I'm just getting used to all this. :)and can't seem to get the momentum going...

    Like your new look here - the new header/banner for your blog. And as always I see light in your painting, not "ancient twisted karma" :)

  4. I finally took the dive yesterday, and began drawing again. The "familiar" procedure is my stepping stone into the unknown, and the simple action of starting seems to create momentum. (Tho I think the momentum was there all along, just not perceptible to my restless mind.)

    1. Very helpful. I was just thinking that maybe I needed to "prime the pump" with something simple and not start with a canvas, but do something on paper,,, Glad you took the dive! :)

  5. Limbo is an uncomfortable place to be. Take some comfort in the fact that it always passes...

  6. Bartenders powder cleans out stained palettes. Any of the scouring cleansers but Bartenders is a softer grain.