Besides being 17 years apart, there’s a lot both separating the two yet joining them both.
I’ll admit, the 2004 oil is far more developed than it’s younger brother from this year, lol!
But, it did take me 4 years of effort to get to the point of painting an oil at that level. It’s not “exciting” but it’s very close to the photos I took on that day trip to the Hill Country, including Lost Maples —
The notated blog post above has a few other variations I captured on that trip west of Austin ❤️ I’d even say my photos are better than my art here.
But my 2004 oil does capture the sense of peace, a very large open hearted peace, my wife and I felt on that drive to Lost Maples. And I still remember the typical struggle I had “getting it right,” which included both being faithful to the photo, and to our experience to the real land before us.
So why do I even bother with my continuing exploration into my newer work, progressed from oils through watercolors back to my 1980s preferred medium, acrylics?
There’s lots reasons, and I’ll try to give each one I remember a fair shake 😊
1. Other than a small floral in Dec 2019, I’ve only really re-started painting acrylics since about August, less than 6 months ago – August 18, 2021 – Another New (but related) Most Viewed Image For the Week @FineArtAmerica, “Testing the Water” : #Acrylic on Light Molding Paste on Canvas #ContemporaryImpressionism . In contrast, I’ve been working watercolors just over 2 years, and of course, as mentioned earlier, I’d concentrated on oils back in the early 2000s, and continued with them til we left Austin for Galveston in 2010. So essentially, realistically, I feel I need to give my effort a fair shake in terms of time, esp since I want to, lol! It took my awhile to get where my watercolors were doing closer to what I liked and wanted them to be.
2. Seemingly not a huge reason, except that it is, for me, is that acrylics dry fast, and permanent, yet can be covered fairly easily to alter colors, texture, etc. What that equates to is I can produce and experiment, and alter, more work more quickly than with either oils or watercolors. Sure, there are aspects of both oils and watercolors I love dearly. But for now, this is my preferred path. And I’d say Yellow Blooms below, a sort of abstracted reality of some of our yellow blooms we had growing on our balcony, a small oil done nearly 3 years ago, comes closest to what I’d eventually like my acrylics to reach in terms of “look” – though I feel my very newest acrylics are jumping even further in terms of surface texture. So we’ll see 😊
3. Being able to vary my texture, a quality I’ve always loved, since my earliest experiments painting in the beginning of the 1960s, has become in today’s paint tech, an alterable phenomenum I feel I’m barely getting a glimpse of, much less a handle on, and this, texture, joined with all I’ve mentioned before, and very much with my last point below, is a door opener and a driver toward innovation I tasted in the 1980s, but gave up, not knowing what to do with it then. I’d create waves of translucent color, explosions of blobs of color, lol! Even managed to start to see figures in my abstracts and gently brought that focus out in one, Autumn Friends. But thought of them, as I did in my oils and watercolors, as suited to the subject being painted. And that has been my anchor, but also, to extend the metaphor, what has dragged my imagination down and mired me in an ocean bed of expectation, an expectation of the visual in front of us, vs the visual within us, which naturally, and always I think, will have its ties to the visuals, all the visuals, we’ve ever had in front of us, real or imaginary. Yes, I could vary my texture in oil and watercolors, but what I see a capacity for now, is almost sculptural. Will I eventually push to sculpt figures and landscapes? Probably. But whether I’ll need or want to on an extended basis, I don’t know.
4. Finally, it is my search for authenticity in my work, involving varying degrees and styles of texture, that currently acrylics provide me best, that’s enabling me to not have to copy or emulate the external , but simply explore the unknown. And there’s rarely any deeper unknown than within ourselves. Not in the sense of “who am I” but what is it that’s hidden within us we may not even be aware of, and so far, what I’m getting is masses of color embedded with figures and landscapes. Not necessarily easily recognizable, yet there. Sometimes, often actually, only recognizable figures or landscapes when seen from a distance. Very rarely, only seen when right up to the canvas. Though, more often, when seeing texture this rich up close, it could just as well be molecules and wavelengths of worlds in themselves. For whatever is hidden within us, and us being of a universe too vast to fully comprehend, we may find hints of a larger life, even from our very small perspective, we are very much a part of….
Meanwhile 😊 let’s take a better look at this newer much more recent acrylic by-accident-landscape, lol!
Will I eventually be able to refine and vary my texture as readily as in my best oils? Will my colors eventually achieve gradations reminiscent of my watercolors?
I don’t know.
Maybe just more-differently?
I just have faith I’ll continue finding a path I want to walk.
And right now, at age 71, comparing a painting from 17 years ago, that took me weeks to do, with another done very recently, in one day, well, that sounds like a very good start to me ♥️
Stay well everyone! 💕
ps, I’m actively framing and signing and touching up work I want to swap out with at the Old Bakery and Emporium here in Austin & hope to have a post about that once I do that later this week, including both some Valentine color work + some newer work, maybe that new landscape above!
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Thanks again, everyone! 😊