Art & Design Magazine

Choices, Choices...

By Ingrid Christensen

Choices, choices...

Chinese Vase
10 x 8

Choices, choices...

Model in Strong Light
10 x 8

 I'll be in Vancouver next week teaching both figurative and still life workshops for the Federation of Canadian Artists.  To get into the mood, I've been working on small pieces in both genres in the studio.
What strikes me each time that I begin a painting is the vast number of choices that it involves.  And each choice made launches the work in a definite direction.  My most confounding decision starts with the support.  Oil primed linen is my usual choice (though I've also got oil paper, velum, aluminum, and gesso primed canvas and panels in the studio), but within that category I've got rough, smooth, and medium textured linen; double primed and single primed; stretched and mounted.  Each will impart a completely different look to the final piece - at least in my eyes - because the way that a mark breaks on each is unique to that surface.
Next is the color of the toning - if I use any.  Sometimes I opt to start on a white surface for the clarity of colours that you get that way, but usually there's a color underneath.  That decision takes a while to make.  Cool under a warm painting?  Warm under warm?  Neutral grey?  What chroma? What value?  You can see the dilemma.
Finally, the color of the subject's first mark is crucial.  Earth toned or prismatic, this mark will direct the painting down a path, and the decision about which path I want it to take gives me pause - sometimes long pause.
Degas said that "painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do", and I concur, but I'd also add that it's richer and more rewarding when you do know how.  You're aware of so many possibilities and, like a chess player, you paint the piece in your head 5 different ways before you even pick up the brush.  But in the act of painting it in your head, you're helping to crystallize your plan for that piece; you're figuring out how you want it to look when it's done and, especially, how you don't want it to look.  That initial planning lets you know if you've been successful when you're done.
So planning and painting in the mind are going to be part of the workshops, but we always move beyond that.  Once these thoughtful starts are on canvas, I'm always dazzled by the directions that the painters take.  No two painters make the same initial choices, and no two paintings look the same at the end.  Regardless of subject, a successful painting is a record of the choices made by an individual on a give day in a specific place.  It can't be replicated, not even by the same painter, because those decisions are as changeable as a person's experiences and moods.  Each painting is unique and hard won, and full of moments of grace, even in passages of struggle.  Difficult?  Yes.  Uplifting?  You bet!
Happy painting!

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • The Downside of Being A Writer

    Downside Being Writer

    Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com While there are so many pluses to being a writer—namely that we have the privilege of passionately telling stories throug... Read more

    The 22 July 2018 by   Steph's Scribe
    BOOKS, ENTERTAINMENT, SELF EXPRESSION
  • The Downside of Being A Writer

    Downside Being Writer

    Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com While there are so many pluses to being a writer—namely that we have the privilege of passionately telling stories throug... Read more

    The 22 July 2018 by   Steph's Scribe
    BOOKS, DIARIES, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Sukanya Basu Mallik Author of Shades Of Life #AuthorInterview @SukanyaMallik

    Before we start interacting with Sukanya Basu Mallik I want to share something with all that she shared with me over the email. Read more

    The 22 July 2018 by   Jaideep Khanduja
    DIARIES, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Fairchild Republic A-10C Thunderbolt II

    Fairchild Republic A-10C Thunderbolt

    @ General William J. Fox Airfield, Lancaster, CA March 2018 This clean-looking Warthog suns its belly at the 2018 Los Angeles County Airshow. Read more

    The 22 July 2018 by   Htam
    PHOTOGRAPHY, SOCIETY
  • Pineapple Pie

    Pineapple

    How are you all surviving these dog days of summer? I have discovered a sweet that will cool everyone down. Pineapple Pie. You can make it with canned... Read more

    The 22 July 2018 by   Kalamitykelli
    FOOD & DRINK, RECIPES
  • 10 Reasons To Market Yourself More Than A Great Idea

    Reasons Market Yourself More Than Great Idea

    Too many entrepreneurs I know still believe that that their great idea will carry the startup, and they may even minimize their own value, especially if they... Read more

    The 22 July 2018 by   Martin Zwilling
    BUSINESS, CAREER
  • Down Memory Lane to A Villa In Coimbatore

    Down Memory Lane Villa Coimbatore

    I was probably five years old when our joint family of 30+ members slowly started dispersing. Marriages, new jobs, job transfers-all the usual things. We lived... Read more

    The 22 July 2018 by   Vidyasury
    DIARIES