Focused Works a’Coming

It’s been a bit since I’ve shown up here. Not too, too long, but a bit.

I’ve since sent out an autumn newsletter with hardly any news in it. Mostly just a few little sketches and ideas I’ve had floating around in my head. These were plans for some paintings I wanted to get done soon.

The main pieces will come from these sketches. This one is a larger watercolor, 23 x 30 inches:

And I decided that these two will be oil paintings:

The only problem is that I can’t do them all simultaneously. I previously thought I could do a watercolor and an oil painting at once, but not so. I’m sure I need my drawing table as a palette surface because I need more colors, as I plan to paint wet on wet. I’ll have several palettes strewn out all over the place, so maybe I can do the two oils at the same time. The square one is a 24 x 24-inch, and the other is 16 x 20. 

I feel like I had a small (or big) epiphany, but I often say this, so I almost don’t want to speak prematurely. Back when I had the idea for the grocery bags (the abstracts), I ended up trashing those. No pun intended there.

I was enthusiastic about those bags too, but they didn’t work out the way I’d hoped. I can’t explain it. It’s not that I didn’t like them. I just lost interest and the steam to carry out the entire series.

Since then, I got depressed about what I was doing, like which direction I wanted to take. I wanted to do a lot of different things. Honing it down, I couldn’t decide between strict abstracts or abstracted landscapes, like the ones in my desert series. I like to do both! God help me.

Most of the time, it’s the media that drives my motivation on what style/type of work I do. Mixed media (collage with paper, paint, and fabric) pushes me toward the abstract, and oil painting makes me want to make landscape-y stuff. I’ve always known this, but I think I got off track during my depression, so maybe it’s not exactly an epiphany.

With watercolor, I’m everywhere. It gets illustrative a lot of the time, but I want to practice not using an ink pen anymore and defining lines, which goes against my gut. I started the watercolor, and so far, I’m liking how it’s turning out without inking it. 

I did not ink my last few watercolors–very little, if at all, and I’m glad. It gives off that better “watercolor” look, in my opinion.

In any case, to get back to my epiphany (if there is one), I feel inspired and focused. It sounds simple, but it feels different. The fear and doubt might not be entirely out of the picture, but it’s a lot less. I say fear and doubt because I’m honest. I think every artist has this, to some degree. Some days more than others. I have spells where I feel all but immune, but it inevitably creeps back in some manner.

I try to keep my studio free of “other people’s” thoughts. Not that I sage the place. It’s just my sacred, quiet space that brings me joy, not crap from the outside world. It’s part of the whole process in line with the actual painting process. I feel like I got this kind of philosophy from watching an Agnes Martin documentary. I don’t know which one though.

And speaking of influential artists, as I’ve mentioned before, my two favorite artists are Lisa Sanditz and Amy Sillman. Sanditz especially inspires me to loosen the hell up! Why I can’t get there, I don’t know, but I’m always working on it. I am incredibly jealous of how she can accomplish her landscapes in such a loose, painterly, and expressive way. Sillman does the same thing in her abstracts. Together they are my significant influences if you can’t tell.   

So, again, back to the epiphany. For the next few pieces, since I live in a beautiful environment, I can’t help it; I’m inspired by the landscape. I want to loosen up too. I’ll keep trying to do that. I’m on focused work for now, but at the same time, I need to relax about it, as my sister-in-law likes to say. 

2 thoughts on “Focused Works a’Coming

  1. Linda Cohen October 28, 2020 / 10:39 pm

    I love reading about your process.

    • Carol Es October 29, 2020 / 10:36 am

      Thanks Linda! It’s nice to know someone does. 🙂

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