It is the time of the year that is the most difficult for me in the studio. I don’t think it’s because it’s cold, though today it was 49 degrees here when I opened the door. It is just easier to paint in the summer for reasons I have never known. That is my rhythm as is my liking to paint beginning in the late afternoon. I am here in the studio by 10am or so but rarely really get started painting till much later. I spend the first hours in many ways including reading, drawing, writing, sometimes teaching. Everyday is much the same as I love the creative routine I have established over the years.
So at the beginning of every year I hope for a project to shake me up, get me started, challenge me. Last year it was a series of large figurative oil paintings for a corporate client who had a deadline I never thought I could meet and a solo exhibit out of town. This year it is a series of large scale oil landscape paintings, the largest 36 x 72 inches (so far).
I tell my students all the time to shake things up, do something different. Well thanks to the requested landscape project, I am taking my own advice again. What I find most interesting about this project is the approach I am taking with the technique of oil on canvas. Hard to explain but working all year only with encaustic helped me bring a new energy, a new approach to the paintings this time and try methods that I have never used with oil on canvas. For one thing, the paintings came off the easel more frequently. When returning to encaustic I know I will have gained new insight. I’ve already seen the softness of the images that draw me to them juxtaposed with the “hardness” of the wax at least the way I have been painting. Amazing that you can paint for so many years and learn something so simple that it can lead to a new path. It is what I love about my practice of making art.
Not all the paintings will be oil, so I will have the opportunity to see what happens right away when I resume with the hot wax. How will oil painting inform the encaustic paintings this time around? Will I make more time for oil painting this year?
Happy New Year! I hope 2014 brings creative challenges.