Thursday, April 29, 2010

A new season

My life as a full time painter begins today. It was a difficult decision with many false starts. With such a stubborn heart, I can only say that God gave me the courage to recreate my career path. A previously abandoned God given talent, Painting, like an old friend has reentered my life with open arms. So here I am back on the blog mostly because I am inspired by my friend Shannon Newby. As I read up on her visual journal, I am reminded that the process of art making deserves documentation and reflection. And I figure blogging can be a systematic part of my work day -an accountability or measurable element which can quantify my raw and organic painting schedule. Lastly, I realize blogging about this struggle may open up a dialogue with any of you out there wrestling with art and fear. Are you a freelancer who's constantly got the munchies for fine art? Well, maybe you'll cave into your craving like I did.

Put 6 hours in painting "The Bee". Highs and lows. Highs first: I really am understanding the blending of tonal values better through this painting. I spent about 15 hours on two layers of imprimatura. With as much patience as I can bare, the brush work to blend subtle gradients has rewarded me an effective background which peacefully frames my subject. The class notes from Liza Visagie plays in my head as I methodically push the oil paint. Painting requires the artist to utilize the body of the paint whereas illustrating or design is about covering the empty canvas or screen or paper. Painting demands of me 100% more concentration than designing. And while I recognize that in designing my hand, eye and mind is in a sort of dance, I find that in painting, I am totally awkward. Like painting on egg shells, anxious to break something with my bristle. But honestly, it beats pixel pushing any day. My eyes - if I can speak for them - love starring at the luscious surface of sunlit oil on canvas and scan dabs of real paint swatches on my palette. The body, fully engaged in the act of painting is a beautiful and maddening sensation.

So now the lows. I really got stuck in my mind of a workday without pay. The reality of the cost of being a painter really weighs on my conscious. My new anthem to myself is "pay it back forward". I remind myself that painting is like farming. This is a season of breaking the ground and planting the seeds.

Thanks for reading. It's good to know I am not alone.


  1. I love visiting you and Tim and seeing your artwork on the walls, Leah. Keep it up!

  2. Glad to find others choosing the rough road. God has called me back to painting as well. (Not to mention that from unemployment, I have no other choice either...) My deadline is june 30 for my first painting in 2 years. I am building props for it and hope to put in some serious study time in on it. Are you going to the Glen again?
    Good luck! Keep up the beautiful work!
    -John V.