For whatever reason, I have been unable to convince myself to pick up a brush for the past couple of weeks. I set aside time, I think about it, and then I find excuses for not doing it. This hasn't been a problem for me, strangely, and I know it is a danger for a self-motivated person in pursuit of an artistic goal, but now I find myself in these familiar doldrums. I tell myself that it is because the past month has been filled with emotional challenges on so many fronts, (and I am glad that August is behind me) and that might be all there is to it, really. But a part of me fears that if I lose some of the drive that has kept me going in the difficult learning stage of painting, how will I manage to face the inevitable discouragement and failure? So I fret, and ignore, and wait for another day.
In order to force myself back into the routine, I started a portrait, below, and working with only white, black, yellow ochre and vermillion, I got a reasonable likeness, but not a finished piece. I stopped to let the paint dry enough not to lift color back out as I was trying to add glazing over it, but when I came back to it..... Let's just say her expression of unhappiness compares to my own feelings lately.
One thing I have no trouble doing is joining in on our Friday morning plein air outings; the camaraderie alone is worth the time, and I find I can paint easily enough because I'm not after a finished painting, just the effort of observation and attempt. It seems like it has to be good for one's mental health, at the very least. In the photo below Randall and Jean paint the gardens at Luscher Farms last week.
But this post is about Art blogs, so I will mention another of my favorites. James Gurney is well known in artistic circles, and he may be the hardest working of anyone I am aware of in the field. He writes helpful and friendly posts nearly every day, he has a large following, he writes books on painting, he illustrates for scientific magazines (dinosaurs) and he creates videos of his painting process. He paints on location often and fills notebook after notebook with watercolor, gouache and casein. I check in on Gurney Journey nearly every day, and I am never disappointed with the offerings I find there.
Another art blog that I follow frequently is Painter's Process by Randall Tipton. He is the fellow in the cap in the photo above. I first came across his beautiful work years ago, and I remember feeling awe and mystery. I tried imagining who this man might be, but his work was so unlike that of other painters, so hauntingly beautiful and true, exotic and mysterious. I was just starting out on my journey into painting and I couldn't imagine ever being able to paint like that. But I noticed an announcement on his blog that he was having an open studio one fall, I stopped by, and Randall was friendly and welcoming and gracious and we have become friends. I've watched him paint on numerous occasions, and I still can't imagine being able to paint like him, because it is still a mystery to me how he arrives at his finished piece.
A third art blog I follow is Art and Artists, by Poul Webb. Nothing like the other two, this is a compendium of work of various artists. Poul selects an artist who interests him and then posts painting after painting, giving you an in depth visit to the body of work. It is a way to see painters I have never heard of before, but it is also a way to see work by famous artists whose work I thought I knew well. The past postings are a good resource for study.