by Rosemary Leach
38″ x 18″, this is a large Spoon of Blueberries.
- If I do a sketch first, all the juiciness is lost and never translates to the final image. So I “draw” directly on the board.
I change my mind a lot. I try to work with that, not against it. For that reason acrylics are a good medium for me because they dry quickly and you can paint over anything you aren’t happy with.
One can see slight shadows of a previous unresolved painting beneath the gesso.
- In my mind’s eye I have an aesthetic that I have been striving toward for for well over 3 decades. Lately I am about 60% pleased. For many years I ranged in the under 10% category. Operating in a quick results culture with ever shorter attention spans, a lifelong goal that moves at the speed of continental drifts seems increasingly bizarre.
How I approach that aesthetic goal changes. For instance I have worked with a variety of different “grounds” or underpainting colours. Here I am sticking with white.
- Initially I am working with cool and a somewhat neutral palette. I was once advised that, after mixing a colour, use only a few brushstrokes of that flavour.
When I am teaching painting, I really focus on these “families” of tone and colour, used in small quantities. I find a group of whites enormously satisfying.
- At this stage it is easy to “correct and fix” repeatedly and lose the impulsive energy of the piece. Sometimes it is painful to stop. The brain can be wired for what is wrong—which is of course interesting—but what might be required is an appreciation of what IS working.
Having wrecked dozens of paintings by overworking over the decades it does get easier to accept what isn’t perfect. Either put the painting away for fresh eye later, or proudly sign it.
I find this quote very liberating:
“A painting is never finished – it simply stops in interesting places.”
― Paul Gardner