The Southern deciduous trees are greening up. The pink azaleas out front are rioting in blossoms. Iris, dogwood, cherry, and even my stubborn Lady Banksia climbing rose are all joining the joy of Spring. My backyard is a sacred space where I retreat from the duties of the day and feel my soul respond to beauty and goodness. There are places in the world designed by man and God for this purpose, to wake us from our sleep and remind us, as Christ did, that we are made for more.
Along with much of the world, I watched as the wondrous Notre Dame Cathedral was consumed in flames this week. I've never been to Paris and never seen Notre Dame personally, but I have been in many other cathedrals and ancient churches, standing or ruined. There is a feeling of awe in these spaces, both from the incredible design of the magnificent structures and from the centuries of worship, prayer, tears, and Presence. I feel a difficult-to-describe yearning when I'm in places like these; something that embodies the idea of "sanctuary."
And now it is Easter, full of life, truth, promise and beauty...a day of worship and gratitude for God's enduring love and redemption. This is my painting-in-progress of the cathedral sanctuary in Mazatlan, Mexico...our favorite winter destination. I shared my photos of this beautiful church in a previous post and my hopes to be able enough to create a painting that captures those ephemeral feelings. I wonder if I'm getting close?
Exercising...I've blogged on this before and probably will again in the future, but here is an exercise that challenged everything my left brain brought to the easel: Painting Upside Down!
No, no, I wasn't personally upside down; only my reference photo and my painting were. Here's how it works (and, believe me, it is very baffling at first): turn the photo of what you wish to paint upside down and paint the canvas in the same manner, upside down. It sounds simple enough, but the brain does not want to let go of control and order! The first instinct is to paint right-side-up what you are viewing upside down, which is incredibly difficult and disconcerting. It's like your mind is wanting to make sense of what is not making any sense at all.
The point of this exercise is to be released from the idea of the Thing (the doorway, the car, the structure) and paint simple shapes and values, shape relationships with the shapes next to them. This is an exercise done quickly, about 45 minutes. No masterpieces here. No fussiness. No stress. (that explains why I left the detailed bicycle out!)
One thing that I immediately noticed when I turned my painting right-side-up was that the stucco wall actually looked like stucco! Because I wasn't carefully drawing the curve of the doorway I was able to capture a painterly impression of the warm and lumpy exterior.
I hope this wasn't too confounding. Did it make sense to you?
I like sharing the details of becoming a better painter in this blog because it both reinforces for me what I'm learning and also sheds light for you, dear readers, on how much goes into becoming a good artist. It also gives me opportunity to consult the thesaurus so I'm not repeating the same word ("confusing") over and over and, instead, get to choose the much more delightful "baffling", "disconcerting", and "confounding."
Thank you for letting me share my ramblings!!
Hello! My name is Wendy and I am passionate about oil painting! Whether in the studio or out in Mother Nature, I get lost in the experience of capturing on canvas the moment and the feel of what I am painting. I pour my love and energy into every single piece of artwork and I hope it shows! This blog is a place where I can use words to talk about art, painting, life, faith, things that make me laugh, and things that inspire. I love every response, so don't be shy about leaving a comment...