Squish Appeal - Painting is like Sculpting:
Life is about learning and I decided some time ago that not only did I need to improve my drawing skills, but I also wanted to learn more about the chemistry of oil painting. In addition, I needed to return to Europe and Firenze seems to call to me too often. Thus, I re-enrolled into the Angel Academy of Art in the Renaissance City. That keeps me learning and also provides me with a student visa to be able to remain in my beloved Italia for longer than 90 days.
I have been sharing some of my projects and experiences at the Angel Academy on my blog (see selected posts below). At this time in my life, it has been a wonderful thing to be connecting with other artists on a daily basis. I have so much to do each day and enjoy sharing time with like-minded souls as I make my life's transitions. This Florentine life has been extraordinary, or as a friend just last night agreed with me: surreal.
So, perhaps it is no surprise that I enjoyed a "Eureka moment" last week in the studio. Sometimes we hear informative things, but are just not ready for it: Hence the reasons teachers, including myself, become repetitive. It works. For example, the Maestro John Angel often tells artists to stop dabbing the paintbrush onto the canvas, but instead to use the belly of the brush. Well, honestly, there is so much to learn and think of when creating that it really takes a person 100 paintings to make most of these technical things become a habit. Once this material is owned, the artist can move more into the art part of the work.
The maestro was watching me work apparently, for he approached me as I painted on my interpretation of a Carpeaux plaster cast. He accused me of being too subtle! Well, that got my attention because this is a RARE accusation! Then he demonstrated how I should be handling my paintbrush, pushing it into the canvas and dragging it along, never losing touch, to create the shape I wanted. Sure, I have heard this before, but for some reason, trying it again that day reminded me of why I became a sculptor.
The push-and-pull mushiness of oil painting was what led me to try clay back in 1994. How could I have forgotten this first wonderful experience that changed my life for the better? And yet, I had not truly forgotten. Perhaps my brain was just full for a very long time and I lost my way for a bit. However, I spent the rest of my afternoon painting in this way and enjoying the sensual experience of brush against canvas. There is more TOUCH involved in applying the paint in this manner and no doubt why I took to it as I did. I am a tactile learner and often need to touch something to fully understand it. I do not know how to explain that HOW one approaches a process and the thoughts in one's head during the process change everything. I fell in love again and while this may strike others as "too much information" or maybe just "art talk," it was what I sorely needed to be able to continue on with this painting.