Monday, April 4, 2011

I Can Never Get the Season Right

I think it may be impossible for me to paint a picture inspired by the current season. Spring is finally making an appearance around here. The robins are singing, the geese are squabbling, little crocuses are peeking out of the ground, and the two watercolor attempts to capture this lovely season so far recall a post-apocalyptic dystopia and a bloodbath. However, if there's one thing I've learned so far, when it comes to painting a picture, don't fight where it takes you- just go with it.

I had always had the impression that true artists plan out their pictures far in advance, with weeks of sketches, detailed layouts, and general meticulous preparation. And if it gets tedious, they would just power through it. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that this is not necessarily the case. At the panel at Mythic Faire, I'd asked the artists what they do when a painting isn't going their way, and if they stick with the original plan or just go with where the painting takes them. Each one of them more or less replied that if a picture becomes a grind, they abandon it and move on, and that they tend to just follow where the picture takes them rather than sticking to a hard and fast plan. This gives me a great deal of hope. For the life of me, I can't follow a set path in a picture no matter how hard I try, and it was very comforting to know that world-class artists like Daniel Merriam, Renae Taylor and Don Maitz (and by Mr. Maitz's description, his wife Janny Wurts as well) run into similar issues.

A few years ago, during a book signing I asked Brian Froud for the best advice he could give to an artist, and he said not to get in the way of the art, to let it take you where it pleased. I love this. For the longest time I berated myself for never being able to stick to a plan, starting off at point A and veering away from point B and ending up somewhere around Q. Now I've finally given in and realized that I just don't function that way.

So, as springtime is blooming all over the damn place, I've made another autumn picture. And it's one of my favorites so far.

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