"Blue"

"Blue"
"Blue" Gouache on board © Joanna Zeller Quentin 2009.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I'm painting! I'm painting!

Well, my self imposed three month hiatus has officially come to an end... with the flourish of a paintbrush.  Despite (or perhaps IN spite of) staying out of the studio for the past few months, I've managed to land three new portraiture clients, sell some giclees, get accepted to a few shows (including the AAEA Fall Open Exhibition- first acceptance- YEAH!!!) and distribute the remainder of my latest set of postcards- a fact I discovered when I finished compiling my latest mailing list, hit the print button and then happily trotted off to the box where the postcards live... only to discover there were only a handul left.  So... in desperation I went through my portfolio looking for a new postcard piece, but nothing really jumped out at me... can you guess where this is going????
A few months ago (three, to be exact) I drew out a really cool charcoal of a horse- head on- with the most amazing lighting.  It was from a photo I'd taken at the HITS show in Ocala of this amazing, drool-worthy jumper who was doing (get this) half passes and canter pirouettes in the warmup ring before his round.  (I know, jumps 5' easy AND does upper level dressage????? Good for his owner!)  Anyway, I was going for more of an edgy look, heavy lines, deep shadows on rough textured gessoed Masonite, and I had some sort of vague notion that I wanted the charcoal to show through the oil.  Maybe.  But I drew it out and was so pleased with it that I sprayed the thing down with fixative... and then became completely scared to touch it.  It was so cool, so nice, so... ALIVE... that I was immediately screwed.
(Side note- Marshall Arisman came to RSAD to do a few master classes while I was a student.  We sat with him in a figure class and watched as he deftly carved out an amazing figure drawing with just a few strokes of charcoal in about 15 seconds.  He stopped and stared at the drawing for a moment, and with one sweeping movement ripped it off the newsprint pad and cast it aside.  The moan that went up from the surrounding class was audible -I know I groaned, as did everyone else around me- at the sight of this gorgeous drawing being thrown down on the floor.  He turned around to all of us goggling students and said, "That was a really nice drawing, huh?  I really liked the nose."   He paused and added, "Do you know why I threw it away?"  We all shook our heads, aware that we would give anything to be able to draw so confidently and vibrantly as that.  He went on, "Once I realized I really liked the nose, it was completely ruined for anything else.  I'd be so afraid of ruining it, destroying that perfect nose, that nothing else I did would even come close.. and I WOULD ruin it."  That happened maybe 8 years ago, and I have not forgotten the lesson.  For the record, he then went on to produce another three or four fantastic gesture drawings.  Sigh.)
So, with Arisman's dire warning ringing in my ears (I really like this, I really like this- CRAP, I'm going to screw it up!!!) I set it up next to my easel and stared at it for a few days.  Days stretched into weeks, and finally I tucked it aside so I wouldn't feel guilty every time I stepped in the studio.  And there it sat... until Friday evening, when I pulled it out, threw a bunch of paint on it and got to work.
And... here it is on Sunday night.  Paint is on, background roughed in, even a few patches of "Hey, that's really kind of nice" are peeking through.  If- and this is a big IF- because I haven't hit the dreaded 90% done/throw everything away and become a dental hygenist phase- I can get it done this week it will be my new postcard.  After all, I'm going to Kentucky at the end of this month (show opening, third wedding anniversary AND my first trip to the Bluegrass State- I'm so excited!) and I don't think my 20 or so postcards will last for the whole trip.  At least, I hope not!
I can't get my digital camera (HP and ancient) to talk to my new Mac (shiny and pretty) so I can't post a picture yet.  But I will figure it out, and since I've been taking pictures of this thing step by step as it progresses (just for fun... also so that if I do totally screw it up I still have a really nice charcoal drawing there) I'll post them when I can.  (And when I figure out how to post pictures to this blog site!
Thanks for reading!

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