Saturday, June 14, 2008

Grapes and Mangoes

Grapes and Mangoes
0il on gallery wrapped canvas, 12x12x5/8"

I am fairly jubilant over this painting. I almost didn't paint the grapes as they were beginning to get old looking, but I think I caught them on the brink.
The mangoes needed polishing to get that shiny surface. Again I used a piece of my hand dyed fabric as the base. I need that multicolor look, doncha know.

My set up is pretty simple. A light over my painting and a desklamp over the arrangement. And a stereo connected to my laptop to listen to Bob Edwards' Weekend or Fresh Air on Itunes.
Now a word about my past...
I have mentioned many times about my younger painting days. As a kid I lived in my head a lot, since my peers were no where to be found. I taught myself how to paint from a Walter Foster book and discovered that acrylic paints dried up in the tube if the cap was left off. Oils were more forgiving and so I stuck with them.
I got to the point where I am today with the painting and then worried that I would never be able to be a real painter for a living. That there was too much competition and I wasn't good enough. Nevertheless, I didn't have a fall back plan and continued to hope.
I took art in high school but majored in Spanish. I took art in all my hundred years of college and ended up with a painting degree. Then I quit completely. Fear. BIG FEAR.

Yesterday it all became clear to me.

In those days in art school we focused on the New York art scene and what those people did and do, which is so far removed from what any of us were doing. The work was so about 'groundbreaking' and being an iconoclast and changing the way art was made.
I couldn't see myself doing what they were doing and it also seemed as tho anyone's success was outside of their own control, that it depended on art critics or gallery promotions and that really felt foreign and untenable to me.
I was very discouraged. And it just so happened that I discovered quilting about 8 weeks before graduating, and in my fear, I just focused on that. Turns out it worked for me.
But you know, I had to crack that nut of painting over and over again, and NOW I finally have it figured out for myself.

Thank heaven for the internet.

I don't need to depend on the New York Art Scene, critics (altho I have them, in my brain) or gallery owners to get my work seen. And I can paint what I want, not what is promoted as the latest thing. I am no longer worried about being groundbreaking or iconoclastic.
I am happy in a way that supercedes almost anything I have felt before in relation to my artwork, including winning big prizes with my quilts.
I got my painting back, and the power over it belongs to me. And the thrill is MINE.


  1. Do you sketch out your painting first with pencil? or just JUMP in!

    It's fun to visit and see how productive you are almost every day. So inspirational and exciting.
    :-D eirdre

  2. I paint the canvas with a dull color first, totally. No images, no pencil. Then I wipe off most of the paint. Then I might block in the shapes with like a dark color paint, and maybe pick out the highights with a brush dipped in turps to remove the paint.
    Sometimes I wipe all that off too and start again. It is very freeing to do this in the initial stages.
    Eventually layer upon layer is applied and soon I am into the real paint.

  3. beautiful as usual.. and thanks for your thoughts on fear, i am glad you got your painting back!

  4. Judy Sall8:40 AM

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about what blocked you from painting for so long! I haven't attempted to paint for a long time until this spring. A friend gave me a watercolor starter kit, and has been very kind to also supply me with wonderful paper... trouble is finding enough time to really get into it! But you are definitely inspiring me to get back into painting, both watercolor and (for me!) acrylics, which were my first love.
    BTW, I do love what you are doing! Your colors are fabulous, of course, but I love the simplicity of your subjects... simple, but very pleasing to the eye. That is what art has always been for me. If I am drawn back to it again and again, then it has accomplished what it was meant to do. I have never been interested in 'groundbreaking' or iconoclastic, just the joy of creating.
    As for the internet, you are so right! We have been blessed with a means to get our work out in front of the world in a way that was not possible even 10-15 years ago! What a world...


  5. I took Art throughout high school. In college, my Art prof declared, "You are NOT an artist!" So I quit.

    My daughter graduated with a degree in Art Practice from Berkeley.

    We were recently comparing our experiences, and she recommended the movie "Art School Confidential."

    I wouldn't recommend it to the general public, but anyone who has survived a modern "art" course can probably appreciate it...I'm taking a stab here, but maybe you'd also be sitting there saying, "Wow. They captured it completely!"

  6. Isnt fear a waste of time! Yet it is there, waiting for an inch so it will take the mile. Bravo Melody, You beat that little beast down! Your paintings are stellar.


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