Friday, February 25, 2011

Paint a picture

In spite of having spent most of my 20s studying art history, I'm not much of an artist myself. My perspective is wonky, my brushwork is sloppy, my understanding of light and shade is questionable at best... all of those are the reasons why the more I learned about art, the less I felt capable of creating anything myself. Knowing what great art is can make it very hard to attempt much on your own. The thing is, though, I really kind of enjoy it.

That's why I was quite willing to accept the challenge when Maddy suggested we try our hands at painting this week. Because of my crazy inhibitions, it's only the second thing I've painted in about 7 years. I painted this from a photo of the Tamar bridge in the 2011 Westcountry calendar that my 97 year-old granny sends me every Christmas. I enjoyed working from a photo and trying to interpret the colors in the image through the ones in my paint box, and I liked having something concrete and right in front of me to work from. I took a little bit of artistic license and left a few things out like boats and buildings for a cleaner, simpler image. And, let's be honest, to save time so I could get this post up. I could fiddle with it for ages.

Predictably, the hardest part was finding the time to actually work on it. If I do something while Espen is awake that he can't be an (extremely) active part of, he clings to my jeans and cries piteously. Nap time is therefore the golden time of the day for me to get everything done that I can't do when he's up, like showering, using the computer, reading or any chore that requires both hands and my full attention. So I just grabbed 20 minutes chunks here and there to work on my painting, probably less than two hours in all. The disadvantage to that is that as soon as I got in my groove I'd have to stop, which would cause me to "lose my place" or paint to dry before I had finished what I was doing. However, that was also a bit of an advantage because it allowed things to dry completely before I started the next layer, which made things less smudgy. It was also nice to be able to step away and come back with a fresh eye. I definitely prefer the work-for-hours-without-interruption-approach, but with my current lifestyle, this was the way to go.

I tried to force myself to work quickly and to allow some sloppiness. It's not quite as tight or clean as I'd like it to be, and the more I look at it, the more faults I can find, but I think the important part is that I tried, I had fun doing it, and I managed to fit something a little different into my day.

Any artists out there? We'd love to see your work!


madsta said...

Tamsin you are wayyy to modest! I love the sky here, you are so much more art educated than me I would never critique! Your colours are beautiful- I LOVE working from pictures and images too, just seems so much simpler!

Tessalulale said...

Tamsin, I don't know how to tell you how much I absolutely Love love LOVE your painting! I would hang it on my wall, I like it soo much. Well done and you should find time to paint more. Maybe take Espen to the park or find fun ways to include him, while nurturing that artistic side he most likely inherited from BOTH parents!

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