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Back to frustration

I guess it’s going to come and go in waves.  I seem to alternate elation (when I finish a painting I like) with frustration when I am trying something new that isn’t working the way I want it to (abstract sketches of the model in my Abstract Drawing class at the Art Students League).

To try and abstract what I am seeing, I simplify the model’s features, pose, clothing, etc.  Remembering Picasso, I make sure the shoulders don’t line up and try to envision his/her features and pose seen from different angles.  But that ends up looking cartoonish.  I add color using pastels but that only makes it worse, so I stop using color.   An artist friend suggests I draw the spaces around the model, which helps;  Frank tells me to stop protecting the figure and reminds me of his push-pull principle from the summer Abstract Watercolor class.   Slowly it starts to work a little better.

Then I saw an O’Cain demo using cut outs of colored construction paper (rather than painting) which really reinforced in my mind the idea of overlapping shapes to confuse the viewer regarding foreground/background (what Frank calls push-pull).  Ureka.

The next day, Frank looked at what I had done and told me one of my sketches was worth turning into a painting.  Halleluia!  Of course,   now I have to figure out how to do that.

Back to frustration.

But there is a ray of hope.  Frank says I just have to  work at it and apply the (new, abstract) rules and that over time it will become automatic.  At that point, it will simply happen without my agonizing about it so much.  I guess painting is like music:  with a lot of practice, scales can become the Moonlight Sonata.

I live in hope.

Oh, and for those of you who have been following this blog from the beginning … my hair is still curly.

Posted by ruthhurd on October 4, 2010

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