Paloorie's And Portraits.
When I was five I remember feeling so frustrated at not being able to tie my shoelaces that after fiddling with bows and knot for an hour I decided to go and live behind the sofa.
Obviously after an eternity, well, five minutes, I poked my heid back roond and made a calmer attempt to tie them and it worked - a breakthrough!
When I was eight I remember my brother 'breenging' after me around the house to 'brain' me (if you can imagine Homer chasing Bart in the Simpsons) and me impulsively picking up a piece of wood and launching it at him. The nail of which was sticking out and luckily hit him on the nose...it could have been a lot worse.
I mention these examples of frustration and impulse in relation to the image below.
If you're wondering why the version on the left looks as if he's wearing a milk moustache - well that's down to frustration and impulse.
It was the first time I thought I would have a 'go' at oil painting. Well, you can see the result for yourself. I knew what I wanted in my head, but the skills weren't there yet - i'm still learning, and I will be till I shuffle off this mortal coil. If I ever feel that I have learnt everything then that would be the day I would hang up my paintbrush.
Anyway, I digress. The skills weren't there...it just wan't falling into place. There I was, a grown man, feeling as frustrated as I did with my shoelaces when I was five years old.
I impulsively picked up a dollop of paint and thrashed it at the canvas...oops.
Too late to go back - 'Il Furioso' had arrived.
More paint and more paint, all colours till I had painted what looked like a whiskery half man half lion on top of this wee face!
I then threw down the brush, walked out the room, and went to sit behind the sofa.
Well, maybe not behind, but if i had fitted then maybe...
After five minutes I went back through to look at the painting.
There was something quite wonderful about the lion guy...but I knew I had acted too much on impulse as usual.
A couple of days later I decided to scrape back off all the lion paint.
And now, a few years later as a little experiment, i'm seeing if i can rescue the self portrait. Resurrect the guy from it.
I'll pop up the progress as I go.
I think as artists we all get a bit frustrated with our work and have a love hate relationship with our pieces as we go.
As I mentioned in the blog about the Duke of Wellington Equestrian Statue, there were so many times I felt like throwing a cup of tea over it or launching it out the window.
Next time you're in an art gallery, look at the most peaceful paintings and imagine the artist pure raging at it during its construction and taking paloorie's all over his studio!
Had a wee arty flying visit to Glasgow this afternoon.
First stop to hang the Duke of Wellington Equestrian Painting as part of the 'My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys!' exhibition.
He seems to be getting on well with his new 'stablemates'!
He's part of a pop up site-specific exhibition through the Virginia Gallery taking place at Luke and Jack's bespoke boutique at 45 Virginia Street, Merchant City, Glasgow.
The exhibition lasts until the end of March so pop in and have a wee Gander.
Feel free to take the horse in a wee carrot too!
Second stop was to Trongate 103 to the Project Ability gallery which has an exhibition all about cats. So many different styles - and so much fluffy cuteness, then down through the Glasgow Print Studio (Ink) gallery to Street Level Photoworks, where they are having an exhibition on 'Rock Against Racism', again well worth checking out!
Third stop was to the art shop to buy a couple of new large brushes. I have this big 36" x 28" canvas to work on, so big brushes is the order of the day!
Will keep you up to date with the progress of the new painting...when i've settled on which subject i'm going to tackle - i have a few in mind!
Fourth and final stop was to Cafe Wander at 110 West Gorge Street, Glasgow, where some of my illustration work is hanging. It's a fantastic place - not only great food, but lots of art on the walls too.
Whilst I was in Cafe Wander there was another artist (Jeff) delivering a couple of new pieces - and they are fantastic! David Bowie and Elvis but with a really fresh take! Well worth making the trip in for.
Well, i'm off to put my feet up now.
It's been a day of proofing and printing here.
I'm preparing a limited edition Giclee print run of the Duke Of Wellington painting.
It's an interesting process - time-consuming, but the geeky perfectionist in me is enjoying it.
It involves fine tuning the image to ensure it's as close to my original painting as possible and then choosing which paper type to print on - and wow there are a lot of paper types out there to choose from!
Some of the papers have a fab texture to them too. He's really feeling good to the touch!
I'll pop up more details when the Duke is ready to ride on out!
Hope you're having a creative day.
Done and dusted...and the 'fear of finishing'.
Well, he's done...my auld pal the Duke of Wellington. Phew!
I actually daubed the final brushstroke last Sunday, but had to let the paint dry so that i could perform the 'oiling out' process on Thursday. It basically means rubbing in some painting medium to bring out and saturate any oil paint colours that may have 'sunk' a little, looking a little 'matte' compared to other parts which were 'glossy' - now he looks more 'unified'.
But, at last..he's actually done.
I have to admit though, he took a little longer to complete, through an irrational 'fear of finishing'.
It's something that I have to occasionally battle through to finish a piece, and I think quite a few artists get it.
I'll try and explain it a little.
When you're in the act of creating something, you enjoy the process so much that you don't want it to end. Mix in some self doubt that maybe a brush stroke would have looked better being 2 millimetres longer, or shorter, or lighter, or darker, and you begin to focus on that one little brushstroke rather than the whole piece. Oh no, the whole painting is off..maybe people won't like it because of those 2 millimetres, or colour...oh hell...i should throw it out the window!
Then the subconscious kicks in and you find that you just can't add any more to the piece - not one wee brush stroke. You sit down for a full day of painting and end up just staring at the canvas for hours.
That's when you know you're finished.
But then what?
It's done, finito, like when a singer comes off the stage and goes back to the empty hotel room...the sense of deflation. The 'slump'. What should be a success has now become the 'what now?'
Obviously there's ways of coping with this, and recognising that it can happen is one of them. Understanding that it's just a process that we go through. Starting work on a new piece and giving the newly finished one a couple of days to 'rest' before looking at it with fresh eyes.
Thankfully the 'slump' is now gone and i'm working on another couple of pieces, so i'll be back to blogging more frequently. You know it gets bad when a friend messages you to ask what's happening with your painting as he hasn't seen you posting on facebook etc.
Ah, the life of a tortured artist!
To end this post I was going to write a quote, but while googling for one, I came across a blogpost over at cheapjoe's which also has a take on 'the slump', there are quotes aplenty there. Check them out here.
Hope you're having a creative day!
Whit's he up tae noo?
The blog posts of David Brodie, a Scottish artist based near Glasgow.