Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Puffed Up and Deflated, Is this Woman Too Old to Learn?

Yesterday, I had HUGE lesson in perspective.  More and more I am realizing some people have it and some don't and I am in the latter group.  Trying to learn but wondering, can you teach an old broad new tricks?

This summer we bought a few items for painting at a resale shop while visiting my daughter and her family in Illinois.  One item was a long pewter tray that I thought would be great for a prop in a still life.    Until this past week, I had put it away and forgot about it.  Only after purchasing a bouquet of yellow calla lilies did I think to pull it out.  Feeling puffed up and proud, I photographed the two together.  Beautiful!  Also I was feeling a tad arrogant about how superb my photo skills were that day too. Look how brilliant I am, I took this with my iPad.  Genus am I!  Even posted it on Facebook to get feedback, the whole time still feeling rather proud of my excellent composition.

Then God gave me a swift reminder in just how little I know and how things are not as easy as they look.  After I began to sketch with my paint brush, it became increasingly apparent that math was going to be needed to get this tray done.  MATH??  If I could be profecient in math, I would be an engineer, making REAL money, not a starving artist!

 Okay, get a grip can do this.  After much straining, measuring, pondering and correcting, I finally came up with a blocked in painting that gave me those old warm smug self righteous feelings about myself .  Needing a little feedback that I was not getting at home, I hauled my work to a class I am filling in during my break from regular semester art classes.  Hoping for that much needed positive feedback, the teacher burst my bubble with, "This is a all wrong, your tray looks like it is standing up. Your photo is off too."  What?? My ego stabbed in the heart, sulking with the reminder of once again, I don't know what I don't know.

 However, immediately I saw what the truth in that critique.  Isn't that the way it always goes, we need someone to point out the truth to us so we can grow??  So back to the drawing board, or rather the still life stand in my case.

A fellow student who should never have the word student associated with her in a sentence, yet I just did, offered me suggestions as I messaged her my new attempts of changing the perspective of my composition.  (I have no idea if that is even what you call what I was doing!  Just trying to sound artzy!)  She suggested I needed to break up the the idea of two elongated items with something of a different shape.  What?  There goes all my confidence at my creation in the first place, but I knew she was right.

How bout this?

No comment....Hmmm.

Well then, how bout this?

This one got a comment.  She texted me, "Too much on the left."  Crap, she is right!!

Okay, how bout this one?

"Bunny is looking away and that makes the viewer want to look away from your subject, the flower."

How does she know these things?  Once again, I knew instantly she was correct.  I was turning the bunny that way because I thought it was his better side.  Poor thing is not the most delightful bunny figurine you ever saw, but all I could come up with on short notice.  Wish I had an oriental vase or some oriental statue.  That would surely wow her, but I don't, so a simple pottery bunny will have to do.

"Can you pull the flower back?  It hangs off too much."  Really???

By this time, I am beginning to suspect this is a pitiful attempt to get me to exercise.  Up, down, back, forth, I am running around trying to get this right, on the computer and get positive feedback.  I am only showing you a few of the dozens of actual photos I took an sent.  Be grateful.

"Better."  Okay, for now, 'better' will have to do.  I am painting this sucker!  So I blocked over my original and tried to get the angles right and pull it together so it could be completed later this week.  Feeling satisfied and successful last night, I took one last photo of the rough block in and called it at a night.  My soul dancing with accomplishment and relishing in the pretend accolades this painting will bring me.

Anxious to paint, I was thrilled to wake up this morning and get back to it in the studio.  But as fresh eyes greeted it, I realized once again......THIS IS NOT RIGHT!  It is totally off.  Maybe I should spend more time with paint by numbers and give this up?  Grrrrrrr.