Sunday, February 1, 2009

Lemon that was not "a lemon"

I live for painting experiences like this one (in fact, it may be the very first one). I looked at the subject, thought about what I wanted to do, concentrated on keeping the shadows transparent and warm and the lights opaque, and swoosh swoosh swoosh, in half an hour it was done. I stood there in front of the easel, so startled and disbelieving that it could have gone so easily and smoothly.

And then, of course, I decided it couldn't possibly be true, and so I had to go and mess with some of the shadow that had been perfect, and then it took me 15 or 20 minutes to get things back to good again. 

It was a fantastic painting experience. I'm not naive enough (not anymore, anyway) to think it'll go that way "from now on," but it was like a glimmer of hope that at least sometimes it can go well and feel so satisfying.

I read somewhere about a famous artist and art teacher (maybe someone out there will remember who) who "distrusted anything that came too easily." I feel exactly the opposite way. At least in my experience, what comes most easily and intuitively tends to be the best work, and the more one messes with it and fusses with it and thinks about it too much, the less true and powerful a statement it becomes.

More art on my website:

2 comments: said...

You lucky thing. I've never had a painting that came easy. Like this and the shallots below.

Jala Pfaff said...

Well, I've been nearly daily painting for about six months, and this was the FIRST time. There is hope!