Over the past year and a half or so, I’ve been very concerned with technique and process. Looking back at paintings from 2 years ago, it’s completely obvious to me that this has been effort well spent; the level of craftsmanship and quality just wasn’t working for me. I’m happy that I can now see some of the improvements I wanted to see.
On the other hand, I feel like I’ve worked myself into a little bit of a rut, particularly in terms of composition. There are a handful of designs I seem to keep coming back to… frequently. Not that it’s necessarily bad to have general consistency, and it certainly isn’t bad to keep one area steady while focusing on other shortcomings. However… when it starts to feel like a rut, well then it’s a problem.
Without at first consciously realizing what I was doing, I seem to have set out to confront that feeling this weekend. I’ve spent the last few days shut up in my studio, and simply experimented with composition; both new ideas (for me, anyway), and following up on older ideas I’d left aside. It’s been exhilarating. It’s also been messy – I’m guessing most serious still life painters accumulate an enormous collections of things. I’ve certainly accumulated one, and now most flat surfaces in my studio are covered with things.
Giving my imagination time to just play without any immediate concern for making a new painting has really freed me up. It’s also knocked loose some of that stuck feeling. I’ve kept a pretty careful log of what I was doing, and I’m excited to start incorporating the new compositions in upcoming paintings.
After I clean my studio…