Aside from long lines, security theater, and the general offensiveness of the majority of my fellow Americans (flip-flop wearers); I really like flying. There are obvious exceptions*, but I usually kind of enjoy being locked in a seat at 30,000 feet, with nothing to do but entertain myself. I get a lot of thinking done, and am always surprised at how refreshing it is. I obviously don't just think enough - too many distractions, too many obligations, too much work to be done. I think my work would be better though, if I thought a little more...
I'm on my way back from a visit at my dads house in Massachusetts, which was to be sort of thinking vacation for me. Usually if i'm going to be gone for more than a week, I plan ahead and bring my gear so I can continue (or try)to paint every day. This trip was just over a week, and while I've been feeling super stressed about painting, I didn't have anything to work on anyway.
I was experiencing a bit of a creative lull before I left town. After the Miami and LA shows at the beginning of December, I came home with a sense of urgency. I had to have an entire solo show ready in less than 5 months but was having a hard time getting started. I couldn't actually figure out what I wanted to paint….and how I wanted to paint it. Kind of a huge problem. This resulted in hours and hours of sifting through photos i'd taken over the last 6 months, hoping that something would jump out at me. Not only did I not find anything, but I couldn't really figure out what direction on the most basic of levels I'd like to go in. One minute, I'm crafting elaborate compositions in my head that would be near impossible to shoot references for - the next, I'm thinking I just want to paint portraits and let the figure carry the painting without distractions. And content wasn't my only problem, I was also feeling indecisive about execution; whether I want to loosen things up, modify my pallet, add texture, etc etc. The list goes on and on.
I'm sure these aren't abnormal issues for an artist. to a certain extent, the constant need to reevaluate, experiment, and improve technically, are a necessity for people so committed. It can be a real pain in the ass though.
So my plan was this: since I wouldn't have anything to paint anyway, I'd use my time away to think about painting. The model, the composition, the lighting, the pallet, the technique…every aspect of painting that I've been indecisive about lately (all of them). And that's what I did. I also spent countless hours trolling the internet for inspiration; artists, photographers, models, writers…and had the added bonus of a day at the Met in NY (blog entry on that coming very soon). It was kind of perfect…snowy country, warm fire…yes, I was still basking in the glow of a computer monitor, but It was therapeutic nonetheless. and I think I'm better.
I have shoots with new models all weekend, tons of ideas, and hopefully I'll be back to post some actual progress very soon.
*American Airlines, tarmac delays, etc.