this is the beginning of “uh-oh” abandon. this is where mistakes get made on a large scale, or strokes of genius occur – either way it’s scary.
rollo may said:
Creative people… are distinguished by the fact that they can live with anxiety, even though a high price may be paid in terms of insecurity, sensitivity, and defenselessness for the gift of ‘divine madness.’
you have to put yourself right out there in order to get the instinct juices to run, in order to have your very finger twitch produce a stroke of pure expressiveness. the zen of painting.
actually, this zen moment occurs whenever you’re doing something creative. or repetitive, because often it’s the same thing. but chopping wood and carrying water produce zen states, as well as throwing pots and making master strokes with ink.
this zen moment is what i know as the flow of creativity. and everybody understands when you talk about the flow. that place where you’re not thinking your normal thoughts, where you’re concentrated on what you’re doing, when time either stretches out or shortens up depending, when colors are richer and feelings are stronger. whitley strieber describes something very similar when he talks about being abducted. missing time, amnesia, disorientation.
what i did during the past i think two days, when mostly i just sat there looking and working up my courage, was to put darker bluish earth green glazes over the vines on the fence behind the boy. you’d be surprised how thin a glaze can be and still be strongly effective. i looked at it sideways until i saw where the mass of shadow was, and where it was broken, and with a few strokes glazed it over with a mix of cerulean (which is opaque in any kind of thickness) and green earth. it darkened dramatically (because it was wet), almost alarmingly, and only moderated to a more subtle shade when it dried. this simple glaze was enough to unify the area pretty well.
and then, my courage screwed up, i started in on the foliage on the left. i started with the greenest bits i could see in the fuzzy out of focus reference photos. this went down with hooker’s green and something with phthalo in it. in the middle distance i switched to a bluer version of this green, and put it in a little bit lighter. then i went in with a light phthalo greenish yellow and touched the mid tones, using a rich green gold further back in the distance. i kept having to blot out the highlights, because once they’re gone, the whole thing gets dull in a hurry.
i can always scrub it if i get desperate. at least, i have faith that i can continue to scrub this heavy arches paper with a toothbrush without pilling or tearing. i could be wrong. i guess i might could find out.
in the midst of this painting, i often think of my friend marie, whose back garden this fountain is in, and who won’t be around to see it when it’s finished. and i think of my biggest blog reader, renee, who also isn’t around to read and comment on my blog entries any more. it’s sad to think of them, but i like being sad thinking of them. i get to think of how we were together, and the things we liked to talk about, and some of the memorable things we did, and i get to wonder about their lives and how they were in private with their families. i do miss them, and this a good way to acknowledge and be with that. grieving is good. missing people is positive. pain is love. not in a bad way.
i asked jim to come over from his studio and have a look. he stood and gazed down at it for a few moments, and then said that if he were me, he would only do the most essential details at this point, and plan on leaving the rest.
that means the details on the kid and the scales on the fish. and i just know i won’t be happy until i’ve gone back over the shadows on the water one more time, and given another level of detail to the water in the foreground. i’m going to see these areas as essential even while jim is urging me to sign it and have done with it.
i don’t know, can i get away with the foliage on the left like it is?