Saturday, August 02, 2008

Pilot Whales

I made a little painting for Clint's birthday. It was an interesting process. Parts of it came easily to me. I knew I wanted it to be a seascape, and I had some ideas for patterns I wanted to use in the background. I even knew the colors I wanted to use, in general. However, I was stumped about what else exactly to include. I had so many ideas floating around in my head, but I wasn't sure which to settle on. (There may well be other things that come from all that brain-storming. Later.) Well, sneaky me, I asked Clint a few "random" questions that helped me along. His favorite animal, what he could be if he could be any animal, is a pilot whale. I knew this, we'd even talked about this while walking around Sea World. So how did it escape my memory? I'm not sure. I'm glad he played along, however, and reminded me. I took that idea and ran with it.

Here's what ended up in the painting: Sea, sky, kelp, and pilot whales.

2008, Acrylic on canvas

Even just a few years back, it was really difficult for me to do pieces specifically for other people. I don't know if it was so much that I was worried that they wouldn't like it, but maybe that played a part in it. I think there was also a stubborn part of me that had a hard time wanting my art to be overt/easily deciphered, and I felt that art for gift-giving was meant to be easily read by the recipient. I was scared that gift-art would end up being cheesy or inauthentic.

Whatever the reasons, I used to have the worst time trying to come up with ideas when the art wasn't:
1. specifically for me
2. an experiment
3. a way of problem-solving

But these days, things have changed. I did 3 paintings for my family during the last month and a half. Two for my mom, and one for my step-dad. I'll post images of those just as soon as I get the photos of them. (I forgot to take some pictures of those pieces before I left them with their new owners.) Those paintings came surprisingly easily to me.

I can guarantee you that part of the ease and quickness of those pieces can be attributed to the medium I've been using. Until these last few pieces, I worked almost exclusively with oil paints, making a few ventures with watercolors. Oil paint is what I got used to in college, and let's face it, it is still my main squeeze. But I'm making room for other friends. And lately, I've gotten reacquainted with my old friend Acrylic.

Where Oil is nostalgic, and into long slow walks and drawn-out tales, Acrylic is all about life in the fast lane. Acrylic gets to the point. Acrylic has no time to mess around. That used to be a big turn-off for me, especially when I'd gotten so accustomed to my dear sweet rambling Oil. However, I can now see the benefits of having the option of speeding things up now and again. I have to be in a different state of mind with Acrylic than with any other medium, and I think the practice has been good for me.

I expect that I'll continue to get to know Acrylic better, as well as some of my other long-neglected pals from days gone by.


jesss said...

oh i just love this piece! your designs are awesome...this one reminds me of our old gate, remember? and the lil dood on the bottom right, he's my fav!

Nelka said...

Hey, thanks. Yea, I guess the sky does kind of look like that... I don't know what patterns I was looking at that inspired that, but maybe there was a bit of nostalgia that came into play here. And you and I have the same favorite pilot whale. That's the one I think I gave the most attention to and the one that I felt the most comfortable with, for whatever reason.

janina r said...

i love it; love the artwork and the comments (i remember that gate also ;-)); and love the way you describe the process. keep it going...