Monday, January 12, 2009

Iron Gate 16x20 oil sold

I read fairly often (when I have the time) all sorts of books. Currently I am reading a book about the writing life. The book is composed beautifully, full of nicely turned phrases that build wonderful vivid paragraphs that in turn become beautiful images in my head. This is one of the greatest things about reading for me...but before I go too far the book is called, quite simply, "The Writing Life", penned by Annie Dillard author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek among others.
The book came to me via Max, while browsing through the local library for his own tastes.....he saw it and thought it might be of interest to me in my writing escapades. He thinks of me often in this way...his small thoughtful ways are a joy in my life. Over time many people have heard bits and pieces of my life, sometimes crazy and a little wild, often exotic, seemingly sad by turn of events but always mine and always full. These same people have said often enough for me to take note..."You should, need or could write a book" and I must say I have given the thought a spin on my minds roulette a time or two or even three myself.....but that is not for today but is how this slim non-fiction came into my possession.
There are several parts of this book that I admire...one thing stood out at the very first...aside from the expert insight into writing....it was a comparison to painting and writing. As you know I am a painter, always trying to better that continuum of art that is personally mine and always thinking the next piece is "the one"....you painters know exactly what I mean. Early on in this handbook the author speaks of writing as being nothing at all like painting....and in many regards she is correct. The part that I take exception to is when she states that a painter can continuously over paint the subject until they have it right but a writer must toss the bad words in favor of the whole book not going down the tubes. Aha!! We have finally come to my point !!
The point is I started a piece (as I explained in an earlier blog) that went wrong in a hurry. The paint was being applied beautifully and the color was clean, exact and rich.....but after viewing it the next day I saw the problem. The writer explained that if a word, phrase or paragraph was wrong than subsequently the story, chapter or book that these magical words hinged on would fail....and she is 100% correct! In the painting world the composition is akin to the outline, which will eventually become the phrase, leading to the chapter and , finally, culminating in the story. Yes, friends I had ignored the composition in a mix of enthusiasm, lack of time and a hurried mindset. As I gazed upon what I thought would be my next "masterpiece" my spirits fell in a littered heap of New Years Eve streamers and confetti. There were no horns going off and no soaring of spirits to be had....it was NOT....to my surprise.....a brand new year!
So..should I continue to paint and maybe the viewer would never notice the bad composition? Should I just keep layering more paint over the previous layers in order to correct the faulty design? Should I just scrape it off and start over again with a pentimento of the previous brushstrokes distracting the eye? Like Annie Dillard at her desk throwing out the bad chapter or phrase of a book in order to build a better clearer image.....I put the sorry canvas aside to be gessoed at a later date and started fresh....again. I am glad that I have the courage to do this, even if it hurts and I also know many artists have that same courage . I also realize it will lead to more cautionary steps* in planning the next piece.......and......perhaps some better writing another day.







The Golden Mean
I have included another piece of mine...it is a 16x20 and yes, it is sold.
* Using the the golden mean is always helpful especially on a large canvas...funny how we can forget these basics in the throws of rushing to create the next piece.

12 comments:

Douglas Hoover said...

Thank you so much for your comment on my blog, Theresa. You certainly have a talent for writing as well as painting. (brevity is my forté). "Iron Gate" is a beautiful composition... and your brushstrokes are wonderful.

bonnieluria said...

Theresa- thank you for such a comprehensive and thought producing post.
I see the similarities between writers and painters. Yet if I overwork a painting, I know it and it feels less genuine to me. Oh a tweak here and there, fine, but to look at something you've done and realize it isn't right, is not easily re-worked. Then the piece next to what you've just remedied is now at a dishonest juncture with the " fixed " part.
And it can never end.
I'd think it easier to edit out a word, phrase, even paragraph and still maintain the integrity of the book.

All good material to chew on and think about, as is that very interesting video about the golden mean.
Wasn't that Fibinacci code the premise of The Da Vinci Code?

I really enjoyed all the musings of this post and as well, the Iron Gate painting which shows again, your endless range and skill.

Erika Nelson said...

Creative brave one. I was wondering when it was I gave up on a piece. I know I did though I didn't realize it when I put the piece(s) aside because I have encountered them when rummaging a few times. Writers are lucky that their notes and different versions can be compressed in paper or a little disc. But their struggles are similar to ours. I wish my dad were alive so I can congratulate him about the multiple screenplays he laboured over on his old typewriter that were later up on the silver screen. I could only hope my creations would make it that big.

I LOVE THE PAINTING ABOVE! So pleasant, so familiar and well painted.

I have totally lost my focus since the holidays. Case in point, I've come to visit you here and I clicked on your Honeyloaf widget and my mind wandered off. I was so taken by their music I subscribed to them since they don't appear to have a CD out yet. What excellent taste you have T.

Theresa Rankin said...

Thank you so much Doug for such a pleasurable comment. I am sometimes a bit too flowery in my blogs...I do believe brevity and simplicity as well as restraint are talents in themselves! Brushwork and color are my "thing"!!

Theresa Rankin said...

Oh my Bonnie ..I do love to hear from you...my thinking was the same word edits seemed so much easier. Thank you for your genuine input..it is always very welcome! Yes the scrambled Fibonacci code was part of the the premise of The Da Vinci Code they were clues to a Swiss Bank account. I am pleased you liked the "Iron Gate" painting...:)

Theresa Rankin said...

Thank you Erika for all your positive comments and support.How wonderful!! Now I understand why you were in Hollywood (my birthplace), the film industry and working there...your Dad! Wow...fascinating! My family was also involved in the film industry. I had a spell of lack of focus during the holidays...it seems to be resolving itself though...just a little to slowly for my tastes! It makes me happy that you think I have good taste and you like my painting...I can be such a little kid about such things!

Barbara M. said...

Hi Theresa,

Yesterday was a busy day. I drew all day with little result, had a girl over helping me get ready for school today, and felt so exasperated at my own progress. I read your blog, followed someone's comment and got lost in cyberspace for people with ADHD. So I've come back after a whole day teaching, and I'm here to say, you are a force in my artistic life. Fabulous video on the Golden Mean. You are so amazing.

Take care,

xoxoxBarbara

vickiandrandyrossart said...

T...thought provoking! So glad you follow the golden mean. Short Story: In the beginning (my painting career), I studied at length the chemistry of pigments, best brushes, supports, AND the golden mean. I even went so far as to prepare different 'grids' on transparencies...supporting printouts, a home-made golden mean measuring tool. Then I made a set in a special folder for a group I did a long trip with.

The response was UNDERWHELMING to say the least. I was told to learn to paint first...not to worry about all the esoteric 'voodoo', etc.

Do I totally understand how to use the spiral? NO. Do I fall back on the 'thirds' for generality? YES. Am I aware of all of it? YES. Did their lack of curiosity surprise me? YES.

I can recite the 1+1=2, 2+1=3, 3+2=5, etc.

Now if I can just learn how to make a brush stroke!!!

Keep up the great blogs!

http://www.onpainting.wordpress.com said...

I love this painting. Feels like a street I lived on.

Theresa Rankin said...

sterday was a busy day. I drew all day with little result, had a girl over helping me get ready for school today, and felt so exasperated at my own progress. I read your blog, followed someone's comment and got lost in cyberspace for people with ADHD. So I've come back after a whole day teaching, and I'm here to say, you are a force in my artistic life. Fabulous video on the Golden Mean. You are so amazing.
Gosh Barbara...I am sorry you you lost some time there and had to feel exasperated...but it is always a learning procedure...you know that!
I am always happy to lend something to someone's life....probably my main reason for being here on earth I think. Thank you for thinking of me....If the Golden mean sounds confusing...I like to use thirds to place the focal point also...it's a little easier.

Theresa Rankin said...

Ha ha Vicki...I actually use thirds more or just what feels right....but I did finally understand the Golden Mean a couple of years ago when a judge dissected my painting while presenting awards. Still working on the brushstroke thing.....but it to has a life and direction of it's own..I really believe painting is a life time of learning.....probably why it still keeps my interest!!! I try to write something good every so often!

Theresa Rankin said...

Thank you ONPAINTING!! I really wish I knew if this was Bill or Lisa....but whichever one....I am really happy you like the painting and it sparks a feeling of memory for you!