It's been years since I last said YES to a commission. Not that people ask me every day. No, but it happens. And I have been saying "no". But this time I felt fine about it. It was time. I like the idea of working with a deadline that someone but me, has put on me.
I started as usual, by meeting the person I am to paint and taking a bunch of relaxed pictures of her. Then I played with the pictures in Photoshop, deciding on the composition and on the background for the portrait.
One of the more stressful moments that I used to have when painting portraits, were when I thought I had come a long way, but still did not know how to paint the background. It is so, so important for the picture as a whole! And truth is, (atleast for me) painting a big, solid surface is not as easy as one may believe. Quite the contrary. This time, and last time (about four years ago) I stared instead by painting the background — and then I continued with the rest. It seems like a good strategy. So, dear friend, please wish me luck as I paint this portrait!
My mission is to nourish our souls through art. This is wether it is being my own art or someone else’s.
Now there are numbers of definitions of what art is, you say. I am not going to bother figuring out what everybody else is thinking here, but briefly I will evolve my own understanding and experience of art.
For me art is deeply connected with beauty. But – though it may sound strange – the beauty is not mainly what we see; beauty is about harmony and love! It is a feast for the eyes, offering a sanctuary for our souls in a busy world.
Art is timeless. The experience of art may even, when it reaches its’ peak, connect us with our Creator.
He made a little cirkus in a suitcase... Now, lean back, make your self comfortable and enjoy the beautiful cirkus by Calder for eighteen minutes!
"How nice things you do. I like your expression - as if it was a part of me. It would be nice to meet again. Hugs! ".
A friend wrote me this today after seeing my paintings - and I replied:
"How happy you make me! I wished it was always easy to paint. That I always wanted something. That I always knew what to do! It is a matter of discipline, listening inward, and also of a certain amount of planning, I think. Now I'm in my studio painting again... and I am thinking about a new series of BIG paintings I am to start. What shall I be painting? All I know is how they should feel. Not how they should look. You are welcome here (to Järna) and visit! A hug to you!"
At about the same time, Samuel wrote me after seeing my art on facebook:
"I am liking your page, and so you´ll get that support that I am able to give you through Internet. Also, I´ld like to add that you are brilliantly good".
And I answered him almost with the same words that I had answered my friend a little earlier. Samuel wrote me back:
And exactly, so is it! Like Samuel says.
So we all know by now that a real artist shouldn’t wait for inspiration. A real artist shows up. She goes to her studio and she paints wether Inspiration is there or not.
But I must admit that I have really, really been longing for some sort of flow in my painting. I believe that every artist should do her investigations as what makes the painting flow.
Maybe one should think of ideas and collect ideas in daily life when one is out of the studio? Maybe one HAVE TO become close friend with the habit of using a sketchbook? When ideas starts coming they usually bring more ideas along with them!
Yes, I will go home and do some playful sketching after finishing up my cup of tea!
Just want to say that today was an uplifting painting day with progress! I love those days of painting when I leave my studio with a strong desire of getting back soon!
I just looked at the fb-page of a fellow artist. She and I were both in the same online art-course a couple of years ago. I got the shiver and tears in my eyes, by seeing how well she was doing in her art practice.
Compared with her I felt I was still playing in the sandpit.
I wish I would take myself and my art practice seriously. I wished I could, with a sober mind and wide open eyes, see where I am at; what to do, and what steps to take next. I wished I would neither diminish nor exalt myself.
I want to be true and do the best out of what I am.
I wonder what is just a matter of mindset - that may be altered – and what is our personal uniqueness; the ones WHO-WE-ARE. Is it possible for me to take myself serious and ever do anything for real (or is it written in my DNA, deep down in my bones, that I never could)?
My mother LOVES painting and creating and assumes I do too.Often when I am in my studio and we talk on the phone she asks – with a great expectation in her voice, if I am “having fun”. Too often I have not been able to give her the answer she wants.
The autumn of last year, and the winter this far, has not been very good for my painting. It has only been the last three times I’ve been in my studio that has really worked. But now... now it is good again! Yesterday, as I finally got started, I wished to paint more and more. That is a good sign!
What I have been missing is a theme and some concrete idea of that to do. A year ago the theme was Leona and Mark... along with a few pitchers.
I intended to paint from a photo I saw of Charlie Chaplin. In the picture I was drawn to his narrow shoulders. But as I started painting It l didn’t make room enough for them to show. The photo was taken from straight ahead and the light was even all over his face. So but for those narrow shoulders there really wasn’t much in this picture. But I kept struggling with it nevertheless. The other day I overpainted it with a black lasur – and things started happening! My man loved it but disliked the pattern of yellow curls I had painted behind him. I was thinking about what he said and the next day I mixed a reddish purple in a jar and applied to the packground making a sharp contrast to the figure. And I was making sure the edges of the purple areas were sharp. The result surprised me. It looked like nothing I had done before. If I liked it or no was too early to say. But making it made me feel content. The next day I started scething a picture of my grand mothers sister Ingeborg. My intention for it is to be in the same style. It will get an orangeish-yellow background inspired by a gorgeous portrait I saw by Picasso of his wife Olga.
I hereby add a rule for the work in my studio. This is rule no3. Always work in series! Work on a number of paintings simultaneously! I did that a year ago, when it went well and when it was fun to paint. And I have not done that after summer. When it did not go well at all.
It is fun to paint again!
iI will tell you a little what is in my heart if you would like to take a peek inside. I am thinking business. B U S I N E S S .
There are many coaches out there who calls for my attention these days. They all want to help me making my business bloom, they say. They are the Experts. And yes, I do want to make my business thrive. I do not want to be dependent on that extra job I have any more. I believe I do already have quite some knowledge of how to do. Atleast to start with. And I also know that there is much knowledge I lack when it comes to the actual moneymaking. I am just not interrested enough in the money itself, I guess.
But I have a hard time believing that any one of those coaches really could help me. Because I believe I would be standing there between her and my own wellbeing waving with my arms, shouting and preventing myself from reaching everything I could. From reaching all that good that is awaiting for me — and for my tribe, right around the corner. I can picture myself how I would be standing there nagging over and over, as the poor coach and the poor me would be trying to get some work done, "I am not passionate enough to do this!", or "I just lack the energy to do it". "I am too tired". Or (and this is the saddest thing) I would probably be standing there shouting; "I am not worth it..." And the poor coach would eventually just give in, face the impossible situation, and run off.
Yet I know in my heart of hearts that I DO HAVE SOMETHING TO CONTRIBUTE with to this world. And really, really I wish I could do it more than I do. And honestly, I wish that I could earn my living on it. And to earn a better living that I have today. But the truth is also that I do feel very tired. I am tired in my soul... And yet I know that if I did reach out to get connected, that would give me motivation and energy.
How strange doesn't that sound?
...to make things I wish to look at. As I sit here at the table with my cup of Robios, I enjoy the company of my painting. It is not ready, but the dark lasur I've put on in some places is definitely taking it in the right direction. I deeply disliked it before today. But some friends that saw it on Instagram gave me kind (undeserved) feedback wich trigged me to keep painting. I wanted to do it good for them.
I am having a paus. And a cup of tea. My paintings are right here in front of me. Keeping me company. Whispering small hints to me, revealing what to do. And... sooner or later I will get there!
Today I put a new color on top of an area I had painted previously. And the painting became beautiful! At the moment this is the painting that I like the best of the ones I've painted here. And I am playing casually with a few other boards.
Color has always been a mystery and a desire of mine. I feel I am more and more learning how to conquer them; those interresting combinations. What I do is - I look at pictures that inspire my color-fantasy. I get impulses this way - and it works really well.
But they are all in war with one another.
My task is to make pease between them.
Something has to dramatically change here! But what and how?And, when it is ready it should look simpel. It should look like "of course"!
Well, I was. Now I am sitting down again thinking and writing on this blog. I am thinking - when it comes to art making - there is an important difference between thinking and listening to ones inner voice.
Listening requires peace and silence and contemplation. And that is just what my paintings needs in order to come alive. (Surely thinking also has its place in art making. But that I will not think of now).
As I was standing here, looking at my painting of Mark Chagalls beautiful face, I was thinking hard. What shall I do with it? What is the next step? But then I got this piffany:
Now I will get the practical things ready to paint and then I will see what happens.
What you have just read makes sence to me in this moment. I will see later on as I reread this text, if it still does :-)
I look in the almanack and see this is on the day a month I have been here painting. Maybe I go here like three times a week. Am not sure. And I am not sure for how long I stay each time. But I feel I can stay here for ever, every time!
In average I have finished two paintings a week. They are small; 30cm x 35cm.
Above painting feels finished now. I painted a solid dark area on the right side. I notice that the smooth and solid area looks good next to the blurry, vivid surface on her shoulder. And I sanded the left eye a little.
I love yellow.
And I loved my working day, yesterday.
And I would love seeing this painting BIG. Yes, that would be cool.
You know, I think these three paintings look alright next to each other. Yesterday, it was not possible to view them together. I have found that it seems as the more I work with my paintings, the more they sort of, merge to join one another in some sort of unity.