Not what you do, but how you do it

My desk is a mess, I’ve got bills to pay, correspondence to catch up on. Lots, and lots of projects to work on, paintings to

My desk is a mess, I’ve got bills to pay, correspondence to catch up on. Lots, and lots of projects to work on, paintings to paint…I’ve been sick for a week or so and I am behind.

So today, I decided the most important thing to do would be to paint. I’m still not 100%, but I had enough energy to get myself back to the easel. It feels good. I gravitated towards the small works that I’ve been concentrating on, as that seemed to be the easiest place to start. I usually start in the easiest place, even in painting; the big simple shapes, moving cautiously towards the more complex. If I get the big stuff right, the small stuff naturally follows suit.

These little pieces are all exercises in staying simple. I am concentrating on saying only what I need to say and no more. I am holding myself back from detail and trying to say the most with the very least I can. With a couple, I think I succeeded and a couple were a little too much. But the practice is good. Now the trick will be to translate this to larger work. When working small, the marks are large relative to the elements in the scene, so it’s easier for me to stay loose. When I go larger, I will have to compensate to get that same feel by making my marks much larger!  I also limited my time on each one. I’m spending only about 10-15 minutes on each one. Give myself more time, give myself more time to pick at it!



4×6 on Wallis paper toned with yellow ochre gesso.



Starting with blue spruce Nupastel for the initial drawing and a few guideposts in value.
Light “washes” of harder Nupastel to establish the values and shapes. I’m not worried about loosing the drawing. I can always get it back!
More Wallis paper toned.
This one is pretty, but I got too much in there.
I like how this turned out! A minimum of marks to say it. This one is on Colorfix paper. These little ones are great for using up my scraps that I save!
I like this too, but maybe a little dark.

So what is the big stuff that really matters when you get right down to it? Yeah, gotta pay those bills. True, getting off a friends birthday card is nice. I’m darn sure it’s not keeping the house clean. It’s for sure not having a clean car. It’s not the new car that could be enticing. Is it the award that I might be vying for or the workshop gig that seems like a feather in my cap? Is it achieving any “thing”? I don’t think so. Is it mastering my painting to a greater degree, well, that’s nice too, but when all is said and done, does it really matter?

I’m pretty sure the only thing that matters is the love. The feeling of just being that pervades you, in action or inaction. That is it. Did I move with that? Did my work today, high or low emanate from that? Or were my actions motivated by something less than that?

Now tomorrow is something different; along with these little pieces, I blocked in a large pastel that is a “tree portrait”. I’ll use a limited palette to do the winter scene. It’s been on my list to do for a while, so I thought I’d try to get to it. I’ll probably video tape at least part of the process.

And now for the business side, which I have to do…I’ll be posting a small works web show on Feb. 21st. You’ll need a password to view, (small).  Go to under the “art” tab, you’ll see Small Works Web Show. I’m excited to be posting them on my newly re-designed website! Hope you like it! Let me know if you see any weird stuff or encounter any glitches! Thanks!!

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