Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Day 30 of 100

I'm pretty sure I learned a lesson with this painting. At first my response was, "Well, folks. THIS is why I don't attempt representational painting."

I really do prefer the abstract work I've been pulled to. But every once in a while I see something that touches me and I think, "I'd like to paint that." That's what happened today. I was sitting in front of the blank page and glanced up at the wall, at a photograph of a glorious sunflower and I wanted to paint that beauty.

Before I could remember that I DON'T DO REPRESENTATIONAL STUFF,
I was already into it.

I did not care at all for the piece partway through.

Then, with nothing to lose, I started playing with it.

Squiggles. Dots. Line work.

At the end I got something I think is "interesting."
Not at all what I started out to paint, but that's sorta my life lately.

I didn't give up on the piece. I'm proud of me for that.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Day 29 of 100

Well, I'm home. At the moment I am deeply grateful that the present pattern of my days allows me a gentle and grace-filled re-entry. The two weeks away were intense and beyond my current ability to capture how wonderful and affirming they truly were. Hopefully as the days unfold I will be able to find words. Then again, perhaps the effects of that time away will simply manifest it in the moments of each day.

I did manage to paint my 100 in 100 every day except one. Still not sure how I'll post them all, but something will work.

Today's piece was painted fairly early in the day, as I'd begun unpacking and reconnecting with responsibilities here at home. It didn't surprise me that ocean colors insisted on dominating the page.

I like the gentle but sure swoops of colors.

And I like the crosses.
The second half of my time away was spent in very deep and demanding Bible study. Giving each of "my" moments to God--surrendering my will to His--figures largely in my thoughts right now. That yielding has been a mainstay of my last 5 years since I've been alone.
But a fresh and new joy accompanies the letting go.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day 14 of 100

I approached today's painting very very casually. Walked by the empty page and made some swipes. No conscious thought. Later, a few more swipes. Later, a little more color on top of what was there. Then a yellow wash . . . Halfway through, it just looked like mess. But at the end, I quite liked it.
And again, I really like the closeups.

This will be my last post for two weeks. I'm heading out to California--Big Sur. I've got 5 days all by myself at the beach, and then the rest of the time at a wonderful Bible conference, at a facility right on the ocean.

I have for so long wanted to take my paints to the ocean but never did, out of a feeling of profound inadequacy. Now, thanks in large part to the timing of Rowena's wonderful 100 in 100 project, I can't wait to sit at ocean's edge with my watercolors. I'm a devout reader, but am taking NO books with me. Mostly just empty art journals and writing journals. I will continue to do the 100 in 100 project. No clue how I'll post them all when I get home. I'll let that unfold.

For now, many thanks to all who visit here and leave me evidence of their visit. Your support and appreciation are honey to my heart.

Day 13 of 100

Boy, I sure discovered that I have not yet routed out a strong perfectionist streak! My internet was down last night and this morning, and I was quite unhappy that I couldn't post my work yesterday. I'd done the work, just couldn't put it on line. And I guess, if I'm being really honest here, (which I strive, sometimes painfully, to be), it wasn't merely perfectionism unsettling me. It was "what will people think of me?" I still struggle mightily with an unhealthy desire to PLEASE people so that they will love me/not leave me. But hey, a problem seen and acknowledged as unwanted, is largely on its way out, don't you think?
So, on to today's reveal of yesterday's work:

I played a lot with different ways to drop the paint onto the page. I knew I wanted variety in size. Different dilutions of the paint yielded paler or stronger colors. Toward the end of applying the paint, I wanted some directionality, so blew with a straw, but at an angle and in only one direction. Then, more splatter on top . . .

Somehow, it still didn't feel quite "finished." Amanda (PersistentGreen) and I have often found that we paint a picture one way, but then, it wants to be displayed differently, like upside-down, or turned a quarter turn. So I experimented with that.

Was there one of the presentations you like better than another? I'd be interested in your thoughts.

Another thing I've done from the beginning of this project, without preplanning but almost by instinct, is to take photos of only portions of the finished piece. At first I thought I was just getting a "different" shot to have something to show here. But lately I find myself actually searching, through the camera viewfinder, for a portion of the piece that I like all on its own.
So, here are three closeups that appealed to me.

That's all for this post. I want to thank everyone who takes the time to leave comments, both on my written ideas and on the paintings themselves. Your thoughts and responses mean more than I can say.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Day 12 of 100

Today I wanted to paint joy.
I'm not quite happy with the results, so I will try some more another day. Not a bad assignment, to work more on an expression of joy.

Today I experimented with subtle variations in technique--the difference between letting a drop of paint fall off the brush onto the paper, and making a dot by touching the brush to the paper. Letting the paint set up a little before blowing with the straw. Putting the straw varying distances from the wet paint.

Such apparently minute differences yielded significant variations in the end product.
Made me think about how just the tiniest difference in how I treat people, including myself, can make a noticable difference in expression, connection. A broader smile, a touch on a shoulder held a few beats longer. A moment of silent appreciation and contemplation before responding to someone's words.
Tiny variations . . . potentially big results.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day 11 of 100

It is so easy lately to complain about the weather. With usually long winters, and now an UNusually harsh one, we all naturally long for warmer days.

Consequently, when we experience yet another cold and wet April, May and now June, it is very easy to fall into an attitude of complaint.

And then I realize that we have NOT experienced anything destructive. Yes, farmers and ranchers are impacted, but we are all alive. No earthquake. No tornado.

And I realized that, as an artist, I can PAINT what I do not have, and want. . . so that's the yearning behind today's effort. As bright and warm a sun as I can manage.

And to those everywhere struggling with REAL problems, I apologize for whining about weather.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Day 10 of 100

"In the land of Maureen

where she reigns as Queen

lives there a miraculous butterfly

Brilliant of wing

A bright fairy thing

Watch and you may see her flutter by"

More play today.

More fun.

Art without anxiety.

I quite like that.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Day 9 of 100

Today when I painted, I played. Had fun. Got kinda goofy. I can only show you a portion of the piece because it is my submission for ThursdaySweetTreat. You can go there on Thursday (http://thursdaysweettreat.blogspot.com/) when Natasha posts the entries and see the whole thing, which I know you will do because you are just dying to see the whole painting, aren't you????

All I'll say about today's piece is that me, who runs like the wind AWAY from any attempt to paint anything representational, because my efforts to depict "real life" stuff stinks . . . well, I painted a picture of "something" . . . actually looked "it" up on the internet and tried to reproduce the image.

I didn't fuss at my attempts. I actually enjoyed myself.

This project is definitely changing my relationship with my art. In a very good way.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Day 8 of 100

Well, the good news is that I don't much like today's painting. Why, you might ask, would that be GOOD news? Let me tell you why . . .

I have been so worried for so long about painting a "bad" picture, "wasting" supplies, etc. etc. And believe me, that kind of thinking does NOT foster free-flowing creativity!

Rowena (she who started this whole project) made a comment on someone's blog about how in painting this many pieces, they become less "precious." No, that doesn't mean they aren't each important, but with bunches of pieces of work to consider, and with starting something new each day, you just don't have time to linger long on each piece. That results, for me, in a brandnew and wonderful freedom.

Today's picture also represents the first time in this series that I came with a particular intention. I wanted to try to paint how I felt about today--not knowing what to do, literally, with the day, but trusting in being led. There's a Bible verse about God being a "lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." The "lamp" referred to was a household lamp, a little dish that you carried and that held only a little oil. Consequently it only gave off a little circle of light. You can imagine having only the area around you lit up. Then you take a step forward, and the light you are carrying moves with you. Takes a lot of faith to keep stepping forward, trusting that the Light will move with you. A modern version of this talks about driving as far as your headlights illuminate.

Anyway, that's what I wanted to paint . . . . the yellows of light raying out . . . my royal purple footsteps . . .and the bands of light as I moved forward.

Honestly, I don't think anyone would be able to see that in the painting if I didn't tell them. And I really don't much care for the overall feel and balance of the piece. What feels really good is how okay all that is.

I'm really glad I tried.

And tomorrow, I'll try again.

Happy Day

I'm thankful for today. For fresh starts. Grateful that I'm feeling peace and relief from sadness. Grateful even more that this came last night and this morning, even before the early morning fog rolled away and the sun came out, finally.

My sweet flowers say a lot of what I'm feeling. Miss Peony continues to stun with her enduring beauty, surviving hail and cold and rain. To me, her slightly ragged face only adds to her loveliness.

These dainty violas sprouted out in the lawn, were mowed a couple times, and still didn't give up. I honored their courage by transplanting them into a protected garden area. And they took root beautifully.

This batch of violas managed to stay put in the garden where they were first planted. Their claim to fame is that they lasted underground all winter and sprouted very early, under a cover of last year's old growth. Harsh weather deterred them not one bit. They were my first bit of flowering beauty this year.

I love the sweet face on this pansy. She tells me that she doesn't care some might call her a "one-in-a-bazillion," generic offering bought at Walmart. SHE knows she is a one-of-a-kind beauty.

And last of all, my California poppy. Isn't she just pure sunshine??? And every year, she comes back. No matter what. More beautiful than ever.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Day 7 of 100

Today has been even colder and rainier than yesterday, and I have struggled with more tears and discouragement.

BUT, (and that is meant to be a BIG but), I have talked and prayed and cried and painted my way through the sadnesses.

When I got home from church, (and some human contacts that jump-started the tears), I heard myself saying, again, "I gotta paint." I went really wet on wet: saturated the page first, and then used liquid watercolors. Got a really soft focus that I like. The colors I just had to use were my sunshine yellow and the passionate pink of my heart.

When I got what I wanted on the page, my insides still needed to paint more, so I pulled out my 9x9 pad . . . used a calligraphy pen to scratch an insistent affirmation all over . . .
then splooshed my AquaMaureen colors . . . they puddled and ran.
The paper wasn't really thick enough for so much water, but then again, my life doesn't seem absorbent enough for all the tears it's had to accept. But it has. And this paper will eventually dry, swollen and not at all flat, but so what?

Once again, something way deep inside me is insisting on being heard and expressed, and words won't do.
Just colors, wet and wild and true.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Day 6 of 100

I'm proud of how I've moved through this day.
Temps in the high 40's and gray all day, with spits of rain, did NOT make for a day that spoke easily to my soul. Yet my sweet daughter and I went ahead with our plans to visit yard sales around town.
Heading to the different locations took me past my ex-husband's place, his new girlfriend's place, and past the homes of two men who have figured largely in my life since the divorce. One of them is out of my life, in a harsh and uncomfortable way. The other seems too busy with his "previous" life to make room enough for me. All this kept me sorta off-balance throughout the day, but I thought and prayed and talked my way through. The emotional discomfort did NOT keep me down.

I bought very little. Instead, seeing other people's accumulations left me hungry to keep going on the work in my own home, of stripping out years of Stuff.
When my daughter and I got home, instead of flopping in tiredness, we challenged each other to work on our own messes for an hour, then another, then one more. I lit one of the 25-cent candles I bought, put on the 50-cent CD, and plowed through a bunch of Stuff. It felt great.

Before I settled in for the evening with supper and something to read, I painted. It felt so good to WANT to produce something artistic. This time I wanted my liquid watercolors, and I wanted ocean colors. At the end, purple insisted on joining the fun. I used my "blow/spit/drool-through-a-straw" technique, only I tried wiggling the straw as I blew. I like the wavy stuff that resulted.

In the midst of all this Sorting Through Stuff ( which nearly always includes finding old cards from my former husband telling me how much he loves me--I call those "land mines"), I love that I am also producing a 5x7 piece of loveliness.
This beauty continues to sustain me.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Day 5 of 100

Hard day today.

When I headed downstairs this morning to begin the day, tears blurred the way. Yet something way deep inside me was glad to hear me growl, "I gotta paint." I fumbled my way to the dining room table--it seems very appropriate that an area designed to feed people is now my current and primary place to paint.

Anyway, I picked up my favorite round brush and slopped the paint really wet and just splattered it on the page. Teardrops. Throughout the day I've splattered more, different colors. If this day was gonna have tears, then let them make a rainbow. Different times I also used one of my favorite techniques: blowing on the wet spots through a straw, which after a few sharp puffs actually ends up spitting on them. I like the bursts of color, especially the surprise when I'm sure a spot is dry but then: ptooie! and the drop bursts and runs.

Yes, this day has been hard. Letting go. Of stuff. Of people. Of dreams.

Going out now for a walk--a committment I thank Lauren for. With every step I'm gonna stream out all the stuff I'm grateful for. And there is plenty of it.

This sadness will not defeat me.

[also it will not de-feet me . . . as in keep me from walking . . get it??? hahahahahahaha. Well, if she can tell really bad jokes, she must be okay.)