It is funny how things sometimes turn out differently from what you thought they would, isn't it? But after looking at the diptych that I posted a few weeks ago - without really thinking specifically about it - I knew that something was niggling at the back of my brain, telling me that something wasn't quite right; and suddenly I realized what it was: I discovered that I liked it better as two individual paintings instead of one! Both sides were quite strong and seemed to fight each other a bit - and I really liked the first one (pictured above) on its own! The other side of the diptych doesn't work quite as well by itself, but with only a few changes still to come it will also be happier alone - I think that the two of them were just too different to work really well as one painting. I presented the problem to my two best artist-friends and fiercest critics at our meeting last night and they tended to agree with me: that although they could work together, they were actually better apart, as this one especially tended to loose out to the stronger side.
I'm no computer "techie" and have spent hours lately trying to get used to Apple's way of doing things, and that is not easy! When you have used Windows for at least 20 years or maybe more, as I have, it has been a steep learning curve - and I have only scratched the surface of what my new iPad can do. I had thought of getting one for a while so that I could take photos of my work with me to show around, and also so I wouldn't be so tied down to my desk top PC. The decision to get one was made when I read about the benefit of having my work on Instagram - and how many great artists use it to show and promote their work - and how easy it would be to discover and follow other artists from around the globe who I might find interesting. But I couldn't use my PC for that, it had to be a mobile device.
I was facing a problem though in that I really wanted to be able to still use my PC and Photoshop to adjust the photos and get them as close to the original as possible - and to continue to use my good camera and photo set-up to have better control of exposure, lighting and so on. But everyone I asked said, that I couldn't do that!
Now, I wasn't going to just accept that, and I also really thought that surely there had to be a way - in this day and age it didn't seem reasonable that it would be impossible. So after many hours and much frustration I found a solution (thank you Google): send the photos to DropBox and from there you can get them onto your iPad - and I managed to do the DropBox part of it. But the iPad part totally defeated me so I signed up for a workshop at the Apple store; and I was very lucky in that I was the only one who showed up - it was pouring rain - so I got one hour of personal tuition and help from a very sweet and helpful young girl, who by the way also started by saying that she didn't think it could be done! But when I mentioned the DropBox solution, she quickly realized how that would work and helped set me up for that - I took notes or would never have been able to remember all the different steps! She showed me all kinds of other things - most of which I can't remember. So I will have to go back and I am extremely glad that these free workshops are available - and I also realize what a good method of promoting their products it is. So now I am a fan!
And I am happy to say that I am now on Instagram! It works like a charm and I love it!
Stormy indeed - October has been the wettest on record with 28 of the 31 days with measurable rain; fortunately there were breaks in all the wetness, though not in the gloom and dreariness. So I'm glad that it is over and one can always hope for a nicer November - but the weather forecast doesn't promise much in that direction.
The painting you see above is a very loose and abstract recording of my trip through Manning Park recently with no photos or drawings as guide and that is the way I like to work; but with quite some preparation time thinking about how to go about it, especially what colors to use and generally how the nature spoke to me. But I had no fixed ideas of composition and I was getting all upset and depressed about not quite knowing what to do.
I had these two canvasses sitting in the studio and one day I brought them out and looked at them wondering if they would do, and whether they would be better as one painting or as two individual pieces? I gessoed them, covered them with a layer of Titanium White mixed with gel and left this as a mildly textured ground. Then I looked at them again for a few days without deciding anything, slept on it and then one day I thought: let me just try a little of this very dark transparent blue that I could just pour on and then spread around with a squeegee without thinking much about it. And from there on it took off rapidly in a completely intuitive way, with me not thinking of a landscape at all, just following what the colors, shapes and my subconscious demanded - and what do you know? A landscape appeared and I decided to accept this - even though I didn't really want that initially.
This is a pretty typical account of the way most of my paintings start and it seems rather haphazard and vague, but I have finally learnt not to force it and that any time spent early on agonizing over it and feeling that it will never work out, is crucial to the final result. It is as if I have to wait for an internal pressure to build up to the point where it demands release and as soon as the first mark is down, my subconscious takes over and it has already put plans in place that I have no conscious knowledge of. I just have to follow it's lead and I know, that the resulting piece will be far better than I could otherwise achieve. The title is simply Manning Park, it is a diptych, and it is 24 x 36" total. It may be the beginning of a new series - I have just today started on another canvas, so we will see.
Apart from this I am now very relieved that my cataract surgery one week ago went well - it was quite stressful not knowing what to expect and even if complications are rare, they do happen; and I couldn't help thinking about a friend's mother, who lost her sight in that eye due to a very rare infection. Anyway, this eye is now much better and everything is indeed much brighter seen just with this one. The only colors that have changed are light ones, especially blue, purple and white - the stronger colors are much the same, as they were not as affected by the light yellowish/brownish film that the cataract caused, but they do appear cleaner. And I'm very grateful that my paintings have not changed dramatically and that I don't have to start changing any of them. And in mid-December when my other eye has to go through the same thing, it won't be as frightening now I know what I'm in for.
So things are looking good and I can relax and spend my time in my favourite place, my studio, wondering how this new canvas will turn out.