Monday, October 7th, 2013 at
Committing – Equals Action
Committing, well now we get to another scary word . Many people are challenged by committment. Are You?
This is another of those words that has layers or levels of meaning. Many people are fine with small committments but balk at the big ones.
- Obviously Committing and making Choices are two sides of the same coin. We can’t commit to something until we have chosen that thing in the first place. Both things are essential.
- Committing requires action.
- Action requires actually Doing Something.
- When you are not actively engaged either on the inner or outer level, you are not committing. The true artist will not lie to him or herself at this point and say that they are incubating something. The fact is that they may be, but the question is, what are they doing in active support of that incubation? Because if they are doing nothing that they have made a conscious decision to do as part of their process then they are not committed.
If a dancer doesn’t fully commit to every move, she will fall over, the dance will not happen.
Dancer 36″x24″ Oils 2013
Sometimes doing nothing at all can be part of your process. It is part of mine. However it is something that I actively choose to do. When I get stuck while working on a painting, one of my ways of becoming unstuck, is …
- To sit in front of the work, take some deep breaths to clear my head and get some oxygen to the brain, and then relax.
- I look at the work without thinking.
- Sometimes I will close my eyes, remaining present in the moment, and just try to feel the painting.
- The less I actually think during this process the better, because what I am doing is allowing the greater creative energy to flow through me.
- The more I can get out of my own way during this process, the sooner I will ‘know’ what to do. This may take a couple of minutes, or at other times, it might be 10-15 minutes.
- However sooner or later I will ‘just know’ what to do next and will jump up and do it.
- There is no conscious thinking through in this process and to all appearances, you could say I was just sitting there doing nothing however committing to the process in the first place was the all important thing.
This Weeks Question: What do you need to commit to now?
Look For Thursday’s Post: The Transition Paintings
Next Monday’s Post: Acting – A bedfellow of Committing!
Thursday, October 3rd, 2013 at
Creating in a series, leads to a wonderful unfolding of one’s creativity.
Creating in a series leads to Cathedral Cove Lifting Off
What follows is the last in this series of Cathedral Cove paintings to date. As I write this I am continuing to work on cave like images, but have since moved on to other places that inspire me. Of all the athedral Cove images, these are I feel, the best and were only arrived at by creating in a series and painting my way through the other works. So what we are seeing here is that series of works evolvingto a conclusion, and it is interesting to see how the subconscious flow allows somethings to emerge and take precedence, and others to fade away.
For example you will see in both of these works that the ground has fallen completely away and the angelic like figures have taken precedence. These figures now dominate both works.
Then we can observe that the surrounding space, particularly in the Cathedral Cove VII, has become almost womb like.
Cathedral Cove VII 20″x16″
I have felt that presence very strongly while working with this cave in particular. When you are standing inside there you feel, enclosed, almost cradled within mother earth’s arms, that you are within her womb in a sense!
Also this painting was a study really, for the larger one and painted on a much smaller canvas. The brush work is more raw and the figures take up a much larger space in the picture plane than in the painting below.
Cathedral Cove VIII
In the second painting as seen above, the figures are more elevated, they soar above us and are represented with a much stronger colour palette. This is by far the more elegant of the two pieces. If you really want to push yourself, then creating in a series is the way to go. I never dreamed I would end up with these paintings when I began my first left handed Cathedral cove painting.
Next Post : The transition paintings
Monday, September 30th, 2013 at
Choosing What To Paint
In choosing what to paint, it can be helpful to try to analyse what you connect to in someone else’s work. Why?
Because it may well be that this is a source of rich inspiration for you. For example, how might you interpret it in your own way? I’m not talking about the subject matter necessarily. It could be that, but it could also be other elements that caught your attention: the colours, the texture of the paint, the way the light is falling and so on.
The Elements 30×22″ Kadira Jennings
- So once have chosen WHAT to paint, there will be many other decisions along the way.
- Painting is a constant flow of choices, all of which contribute to how it will end up.
- If you can’t choose what to do next, which is the best colour choice and so on, your painting will not get very far. Always the big fear is ‘Am I going to wreck it if I do x?” and the closer to completion of the work, the bigger this fear becomes.
- What can you do? Take your courage firmly in hand and just DO IT!
- What is the worst that can happen? You may feel that you have wrecked the painting however what is true is that you will have LEARNT something.
- Choosing, always leads to LEARNING. We have either learnt what works, or what doesn’t work and so painting is a learning building process. Your next work is always informed by choices you have made in previous works. This is how we progress.
- We can also be ground to a standstill by having ‘too many’ choices. So it is always better to try and narrow down your field of choice if possible. Don’t try to tackle too many different things at once.
- You can focus on different areas for improvement of your work for example. But don’t try to do everything at once. In one work, you might focus on getting tones rightin relation to colours or you might be paying careful attention to conveying a particular feeling or emotion. Focus on what is most important in the moment.
This Weeks Question: What are you choosing to work on now and what has influenced that choice?
Look For Thursday’s Post: But wait – there’s more…..!
Next Monday’s Post: A look at another of the artist’s qualities which is closely related to Choosing – Committing.
Thursday, September 26th, 2013 at
The Working Artist
The working artist, now what does that mean exactly? It is amazing how much of our journey as an artist is in our heads. Or in our heart and not in our heads. It has taken me most of my life time so far to realize and own being an artist and what that means to me. So many of the stories I told myself, kept me from the truth of the creator I really am. However when I look back, there was always creativity going on at some level. So this journey continues. And finally realizing that I truly am a working artist, is a wonderful thing.
Cathedral Cove V
So apart from teaching others how to unfold their own creativity for 16 hours a week, I now spend as much of the rest of my time as I can, engaged with my creative process.
There are of course many different roles one engages in during the course of creating art works and finally exhibiting them.
- Updating Inventory and keeping the studio stocked with – ie paints, canvas, stretcher bars, screws, staples, string, paint brushes etc.
- Artist Dates
- Planning – Choosing what to paint – long and short term, building a bigger picture
- Research – Finding galleries, looking for subject matter, mining personal histories..
And of course that doesn’t take into account any of the regular other stuff one has to do, like shopping, picking kids up from school, cooking, cleaning…… yada, yada, yada…..
To continue unfolding my working artist, here are 2 more paintings in the cave series.
Cathedral Cove VI
Tp paint this image I again turned the previous painting upside down and proceeded to paint it . Interestingly it can really be viewed either way. And this way it becomes an entirely different proposition
Cathedral Cove VI The Right Way Up
I then pushed the image even further, into the following work…….
Cathedral Cove IX
Next Post: But wait – there’s more! Look out for the next installment in the Cathedral Cove series
Monday, September 23rd, 2013 at
Choosing what to paint
OK! So choosing what to paint is often difficult for many reasons. The activity of choosing is one that I find a lot of my students struggle with. Of course there are different kinds and levels of choosing that we have to do. The first decision is always to paint of course, and following hot on the heels of that one, is the artist’s eternal dilemma of, Choosing What To Paint! At this point many artists get stuck. If you have a lot of difficulty choosing WHAT to paint there are few things you might do at this point…..
- Roll over and go back to sleep – no seriously
- Spend some time thinking about why you are painting. What stage are you at currently in your art career?
- You might be at the beginning, in which case you will be skill building. Take stock of how much you know. What techniques would you like to develop? Copy other artist’s work at this stage to learn as much as you can about how they put an art work together. How do they deal with the composition, the colours, the light etc? Considering all of this will help you in choosing what to paint, want you want to have a go at next.
Kadira’s Artist Date Journal
Also you might refer back to your Artist Date Journal. Have you seen something that you liked, that you want to have a go at? This is where your Artist Date can be inspiring for you. If you are a bit more advanced you can consider all the things that have moved you while on your Artist Date and try to connect emotionally to them. Is there a unifying theme? Do you find yourself being repeatedly drawn to the same thing?
This Weeks Question: Do you have a strategy for choosing your next works, be it paintings, another book chapter or movie scene?
Look For Thursday’s Post: The working artist – how are things progressing?
Next Monday’s Post: More about Choosing.
Posted by Kadira Jennings
Thursday, September 19th, 2013 at
Cathedral Cove - Te Whanganui-A-Hei
Firstly I’d like to share a photo of this magical place, Cathedral Cove, which I visited earlier this year and is a favourite place of mine from my childhood. My second post in this series is to bring you the next two pieces in the three painting, left-handed challenge that I have begun. Below is the second painting, which incidentally was painted from the first painting, which I turned upside down first. I then proceeded to paint it, continuing with the left hand again. I also used a palette knife in this painting as can be seen by the very textured appearance in the upper right hand corner of the work. When I had finally finished it, I turned the painting up the right way, as you see it here and was fascinated to observe that the cave had lifted off the ground in the process!
Cathedral Cove II 18×24″
The next one was a little larger and in it I worked to convey the idea of the interconnectedness of the elements, rock and air.
Cathedral Cove III 38×27″
Next Post: The beginning of the five paintings in a week challenge!