I’ve been deliciously consumed with painting trees these last few weeks. There’s something about how magnificent they become when the leaves have left and the morning and evening light is diffused, seeming to soften every edge naturally.
I wonder what it is that ignites a particular exploration in our art. I had been passionately painting a herd of elephants only to push it aside to answer the craving for tree textures and misty backgrounds. I am lavishly slopping my Magic color, Ultramarine Violet (M Graham brand) all over my palette. It explodes on hot press watercolor paper and grabs Burnt Sienna and Raw Sienna and some of my warm blues, creating just the tones I’m looking for. I can’t imagine moving back to those elephants until this thrill subsides!
What comes to mind is something I have heard from teachers and guides since I began painting. Many advise painting whether the spirit moves one or not. Even if I have a commission to finish, I cannot find the wisdom in this approach. If those elephants were commissioned, I would still not be able to paint them joyfully right here and now. Well, perhaps I could if I slathered on Ultramarine Violet!
I advise my students differently. I think you have to “get in the mood” first. Often easier said than done, right?
I have a process that works every single time. (Although, the “mood” might take me to trees instead of those commissioned elephants.)
I go to my inner workshop by quieting my mind. My intention is to open myself to my inner artist, where ideas flow and inspiration slips in like water flowing downhill. Oh yes, there is always a lot of clutter trying to get my attention, but I just focus my thoughts on how exactly a state of non-resistance would feel. A State Of Being. What a wonderful sense of ease there is in the contemplation of it. I feel it physically as well as mentally. The weight of all the should do’s and have to do’s melt into nothingness. I breathe easily and have a lovely appreciation for the flow of my life. 10 minutes of that and I notice a fresh easy desire to choose a particular focus. I pay close attention and follow the thread. Effort evaporates and ease fills in.
And a blog flows onto the page.