Thursday, April 29, 2010
Surprise Art Box: Strigiformes, Stage III
So the show was a success! SABP took over SOM bar in the Mission for 3 hours last Saturday afternoon and we had a really great time. There were fewer than expected artists, a tribute to the fact that everyone is so busy these days. But even so, we filled out the space quite nicely. To date I only have 2 of my 20 pieces left. The rest have found happy homes and I am thrilled.
I wanted to follow up on the painting process. Last post I wrote, only the 6 original watercolors and 20 transfers had been completed. All my small panels had been embellished with black and white owls. While these looked fairly cool, they did not feel complete to me and so I began adding color, something I was hesitant to do. At first I merely painted solid colors around the transfers. But then I began to do light washes over the owls and saw their features change and differentiate into truly individual personas. This was rewarding, creating new characters out of the same basic prints. Upon advice I started pairing up the owl prints and doing doubles on a single canvas. The more things I tried the freer I felt, and by the end I wished I had another 20 panels to paint.
For me, the greatest part of this process, start to finish, was having to let go of the outcome. That probably sounds trite, but as anyone undergoing a creative venture knows, where you start and where you end never match, and it's the challenges you're obliged to adapt to that make it great. I had starting this project wanted to do a new kind of image-making, and I think I achieved that. But I had also wanted to leave my controlled brush and penchant for color behind, creating spectral images that played lower notes. I could not accomplish this, and I can't say why. I hope in the future to better abandon instinct and explore new visual territory. That to me seems the mark of a growing artist. The ability to leave all past work behind and tackle something truly unknown. Regardless, I achieved my primary goal: fun. This was a great deal of FUN. And I got the paints out for the first time in a long time, and it felt great, and I think the series turned out wonderfully.
Surprise Art Box 03 will happen in September 2010. I have already started my next series. There is something so wonderful about the size and the price point — a winning combination for sure! Give me a large blank canvas and I panic. Give me 20 tiny canvases and I swoon. Next up, bugs!