Saturday, March 21, 2009

Habaneros, and yet more Process


This painting took 1.5 hours. Breakdown= 1.25 hours of painting a realistic, detailed image; 5 minutes intensely disliking the result; 5 minutes wiping off the painting; 5 minutes repainting. This 5-minute painting is more interesting than what was there after 1.25 hours, though I don't think I could've come up with this without having "gotten to know" the habaneros so well for that first 1.25 hours.

However, I am hoping that in the future these painting sessions will get a little less painful. I've been spending a lot of time lately painting, then getting angry, then attacking the painting, and liking the result more than one would expect...  It's interesting also that I've been noticing that a lot of my painter-blogger-buddies out there have also been traveling over some rough (artistic) roads lately, causing many of us to decide to veer off for a while into uncharted or previously rejected territory.

On that note, I've decided that I need to really pay attention to what's happening with my painting process. I think there must be a reason (in an Art-Gods-reason kind of way) that I've been feeling so derailed. There's this really bizarre sensation that I've literally forgotten how to paint, in the sense that I can't seem to do it the way I used to do it even a week or two ago, even when I try to. I've decided that I need to do more experimenting. I know people's interests and styles change, and I assume that is what's happening with me. And it will happen again, and again... 

During this phase, I am feeling the need to go back to abstracts again, and to perhaps copy some small-scale works of artists I admire (though I never seem to actually have the patience to do that), and to try some radical things that probably won't get posted here, and do some small very unfinished studies, and to try to recover some child-like fun experimentation with art.  

And I may change my mind again tomorrow and keep doing the still lifes in precisely the same style as I have been...or I may never go back to them again. (The truth, as usual, likely lying somewhere in between.) I got a lovely email from artist Sheila Vaughan, who has been through the same experience. I'm going to hop off the hamster wheel of daily still-life paintings for now, but I might hop back on at any moment. And that's the kind of explorative freedom I want to cultivate: an "anything-goes" feeling on any given day that I step into the studio. That's probably an unreachable ideal, but the idea is in the ideal.

So anyway, just a heads-up, because it's kind of cool but also kind of weird and kind of intimidating to have a virtual "audience." I plan to keep posting regularly, but I don't know what sorts of things I'll be posting. But it's more fun that way for you anyway, isn't it? :)



More art on my website: jalapfaff.com

18 comments:

lostinarc said...

Ohh ...great arts...love all your painted.."chili lineup" my fev one..

brian eppley said...

I love these habaneros. Amazingly soft edges considering the hostility involved. Beautiful warmth in the dark areas. Keep posting through your dark ages period. I think we all want to follow along.

Loriann Signori said...

Jala, This one is beautiful. You have created a lyrical movement that circles round the painting. The two stems are the leaders and the color sweeten the deal. mmmmmmmmmm.
On another note I hear your struggle and that you realize it's part of evolving. The process IS the goal.
Remember it's always OK to attack the painting, but not yourself. Easier said than done, eh? But you will come out the other end of this tunnel.

Kim Denise said...

I love this little piece. I love that you've given yourself permission to follow your "derailment" right off the rails.

Definitely looking forward to what comes next!

I'm planning to go off the rails myself. As soon as I'm done with the pieces for my June show, it's farewell realistic still lifes and hello to...something else. Or maybe I'll paint a few thousand more pears and diamonds. Who knows?

I'm excited!

onpainting said...

Jala, it was so refreshing to read this. I am totally going through the same thing. I have always been a classical realist painter, but recently thought about getting on the abstract bus. I am boring myself to death, and thinking I can't paint another still life for a while.

Also, I am beginning to see why you and I both get migraines. Too hard on ourselves.

Samartdog said...

Hmmm---I smell breaking habits. I'm getting to know it well. Smells sort of like burning rubber and fried brain cells.

Laurel Daniel said...

You are really your only critic... we all love you and your work! On that note, we will also LOVE watching as you explore new territory. Your virtual audience totally gets it and supports you in every way! XOXO

bonnieluria said...

Add another avidly nodding head to your thoughts. It's first hard to believe that you hate/wipe.
The point really, is that you paint. You paint often, regularly, and a varied range of subjects just to test the waters.
Maybe this " phase " is really what happens when we break out of the patterns we get into.
I like the loose essence you ended with in this piece.

I've been having the same, yes, the same experience lately- good start, good middle and then- ruined! I wipe. The next morning I look at the wiped version and see a foundation of good bones and still wonder where it went wrong.

I'll be reacquainting myself with Mr. Squint again.

I can really appreciate reading your candor.

Janelle Goodwin said...

Hi Jala, Wow. There must be something in the air or water. I view your work as being so amazing. I can't believe you would feel that way. But I understand these creative detours just well up from inside and there's no stopping them. I'm going through a similar phase with my creative life. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

Cathyann said...

Hi!There is some wise advice among these comments, Jala. Passion in what you do will often bring all these thoughts you have articulated to the surface. We are each our own worst enemy and our best critic.
Just keep painting and don't lose heart. The process is ongoing and what it is all about. You are doing what you are meant to do.
Love your work!

Pam Holnback said...

Jala, It is ok to doubt, it is okay to question, it is ok to divert directions, as long as you/we just keep painting. Have you read "Art & Fear"? We all need to read and reread this book from time to time. It is so helpful. I quoted from it when I posted some gestures on my blog. Your work is really good.

Karen said...

Go for it! No apologies! We are behind you, as everyone has said. We all go through it too. I feel like I've forgotten how to paint if I take a few days off, sometimes even if I'm working everyday. It's unsettling, isn't it.
I really look forward to Jala's Painting Whatever the Hell I Feel Like, However the Hell I Feel Like It blog.
Cool.

Samartdog said...

Hey, where's my comment? Are you censoring me, Jala McCarthy?

Melinda said...

Oh, yeah, that's the process! I can completely relate...and, attest that the annoyance factor subsides as you go forward.

Jala Pfaff said...

You guys are all GREAT, can I just say that?! You've all really made my day with this outpouring of positive comments. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside now. :)

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

Add my nodding head to the crowd. I like that you posted that link over to Sheila who's recent post about blogger burnout, is a must read for us all.
May I say, I LOVE this painting. You certainly haven't forgot how to paint. It's all good,and yes, it will be fun for us too ;)

Dale Sherman Blodget said...

LOL. But I bet it didn't really take 5 minutes to wipe the painting. I've been wiping lately and it only takes me 90 seconds. I think the things that appeal to me about this one (besides the narrative) are:
The flow of the ground.
The subdued feeling overall.
The simple, though hard-won (I know), value change.
Orange/gray
Really lovely.

Jala Pfaff said...

Mary, thank you.

Dale, thanks for visiting and for your comment. You're right, it takes less than 5 minutes to wipe a painting--especially if one is really angry. :)