Sunday, May 10, 2015

Creating worlds

Minute and Imperceptible Motion
20 x 20"
At a certain point, you might decide that a painting is done.  Then you either stop painting, or, if it doesn't excite you, you throw a foreign object at it (to paraphrase Alex Kanevsky).

This painting was heading down a path that was working: beige skin, warm cheeks, all very plausible and all very ordinary.  I could see its finish while I was in the middle of it.  And that was incredibly dispiriting.  If I couldn't find any excitement in producing the painting, who would be excited by looking at it?

So I put it aside for a bit and did some thinking and looking through old photos.  On a trip to the Met. Museum in NY, a few years ago, I saw this Kees Van Dongen painting:
It dominated the room.  While my photo is probably colour skewed, it doesn't matter: it reminded me that I am creating a new world within each painting, and in that world, I make the rules.  If I can't at least create an interesting new world, then there's no point in painting.  Why create mundane things?

When the painting was dry, I oiled it out and put a rich coat of pale green over all of the flesh tones in the light and into the background.  Suddenly, I'd created a world that held some interest for me and I was off!  After that huge transformation, the painting began to offer new ideas and possibilities, and I tried to pursue as many of them as I could.  Green skin was my foreign object and it started up a whole new conversation between me and the canvas.  When I decided it was time to stop, I didn't feel like I'd arrived at a place that I had seen coming from miles away; I was standing on new ground in a new world.  And I'd had a great ride on the way, and that's the whole point.

Happy painting!

12 comments:

Maria Bennett Hock said...

brilliant! Love this blog post...so timely for me

Ingrid Christensen said...

I'm glad it resonated with you, Maria. I hope you create an exciting new world!

Sharon Lynn Williams said...

Beautiful, absolutely beautiful

Louise Nicholson said...

Just my opinion, but I think the painting you saw in New York could have used a bit of your magic as well! Gorgeous portrait, Ingrid!

Ingrid Christensen said...

Aww, thanks, Sharon! That's kind!

Teri said...

This post is very timely for me as well! I was painting on Saturday and realizing the issue of "mundan-ness" and got my painting home and am now working on a "new conversation" too! Thanks Ingrid!

Ingrid Christensen said...

Wonderful, Teri! I'm so glad the words were there when you needed them.
Happy painting!

Linda Wilder Expressions said...

Absolutely gorgeous painting Ingrid!!

Ingrid Christensen said...

Thank you, Linda. That means a lot coming from such a great painter!

Shelley Whiting said...

I love the turquoise greenish color in the background. Very lovely work.

Ingrid Christensen said...

Thank you, Shelley! It made me happy when I slathered that on.

Ingrid Christensen said...

Thank you, Louise for the kind comment. I'm flattered!
Sorry for my late reply; I think the spam filters got to you before I did.

Happy painting!