"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ballerinas are Taking a Break-Back to Steeplechase

 Weeks and weeks of struggle have gone by where I have wiped off untold numbers of painting attempts. This has happened to me before but perhaps not so profoundly as this time. The only way I can describe it is to say that the paint feels alien to me and I no longer have any rapport with it. I am hoping that I have emerged and can regain some confidence again. I am pleased with the painting of the steeplechase mishap above - and relieved to have experienced a sense of familiarity with my brushes, paint and canvas when painting it.  It is 20x24 oil on linen board.
This is a quick oil study done on heavy brown paper as an attempt to force myself out of my painting slump.

Through all of my struggles,  I  continued to attend life drawing whenever possible. It has really kept me going and given me the strength to survive the painting slump. The drawing above was a wonderful opportunity  at foreshortening and I had fun with the white charcoal pencil on the next two drawings of Tom.


24 comments:

  1. Susan, I am so glad you're back!!! The life drawing studies are good, and your quick horse oil studies are fabulous. That pinto in the top painting is giggling away to himself after tossing the rider.

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    1. It does feel good to have something to post on my blog again and its so nice to know I was missed! Thanks, Kathryn.

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  2. Good to see more of your fabulous art. Sorry it has been a struggle. I always find it happens after a very creative and successful period. It is like you are going on to the next level.
    Your drawings are beautiful with a sensitive line and the horse made me smile as he looks positively jaunty about tossing the jockey!

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    1. Your theory is a good one, Julie and I do hope its true. The hard times are indeed hard, but if they lead to progress, then its all worthwhile. Thanks for your nice comment.

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  3. My compliments ...
    Your paintings are so full of live and energy.

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    1. I am so glad you stopped by and left me a lovely comment, Aase - thank you so much!

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  4. I'm glad you're back, Susan! Your horses seem to be dancing too! Fabulous live drawings!!

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    1. Hi, Judy - I was never able to find any life drawing when I lived in San Diego, so these sessions are a real treat for me. Of course, painting in oil is still (and always) my first love!

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  5. Your subjects are always very special and you have a very personal and spontaneous way of painting , so awesome !The top painting is fantastic and as Kathryn said ...the horse is giggling away :-)

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    1. What a nice comment - thank you, Jane!

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  6. I was worried at your absence, Susan. I'm glad to see you back. I can imagine the horse shouting, "Horses 1, riders Nil." Your drawings are excellent - 'Tom' rung a bell (see below)

    I understand the block: Writer's block is quite common. I have written a thriller, "The Othila Paradigm" ... which my granddaughter and I call 'Tom' for short. As she is my editor, she is on my back for the last 20,000 words ... but everything I write ends in the shredder at the moment.

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    1. Thanks for missing me, John; that is a very nice sentiment. Writer's block and painters block - probably much the same thing on a cellular level! Please let me know if you have any magic formula for breaking free. I know you will do so soon and write a grand finale to your thriller. Please let me know when it is published - your writing is so wonderful, entertaining and unique - I would love to read it! :)

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  7. Hi Susan. I too am happy to see you back. Painting slump? It seems not long ago you found yourself working your way out. Perhaps it's when the ballerinas made their debut.

    One thing I do know for sure. When you come out of a block, you've added something new and useful to your painting. The block is due to your mind beginning to understand something and your hand not doing it yet. Keep experimenting. Your hand will come around!

    What you call flops might be loved by everyone...

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    1. I have gone through these slumps several times and the longer they last, the harder it is to emerge. I end up getting frightened that I will never remember how to paint again. And then, one day, I do remember. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. I do hope the downtime leads to forward progress. Perhaps then I won't be so discouraged the next time it happens. Thanks so much for your kind words and interest!

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  8. Wow, your posts are 5 gorgeous pieces in a row! I like the horse on brown paper. Very effective.
    Happy Painting.

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    1. Hi Nora, it was fun - and very different - painting on the brown paper. Its so absorbant and dries out the oil paint quickly. The paper is also very rough and I used a lot of mineral spirits - something I never do when painting on canvas or linen. It was a true learning experience but I do enjoy experimenting and think it helped me got out of this slump.

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  9. Amazing job, the top painting it amazing, the drawings are fantastic! congrat

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    1. So nice of you Mari Jose! Thank you very much.

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  10. Slump or not, everything looks wonderful. I think your life drawings are so delicate and thoughtful. I always like your horses. Maybe the Kentucky Derby got you back to your "first love"?

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    1. Oh, I love watching the Kentucky Derby but missed it this year as my son was visiting and we were out having fun! I will be tuned in to the Preakness and Belmont though! You are right - seeing those beautiful athletic animals racing does inspire me!

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  11. Glad to see that your back in the groove Susan your work is an inspiration.

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    1. Oh, David - thank you - your work never fails to inspire me as well!

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  12. All of these are amazing, Susan. I love that first one..beautifully painted!! I hope to see you paint more horses in the future.

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    1. Thanks so much Hilda - I LOVE painting horse. Their anatomy and emotions fascinate me. I am sure I will never stop painting them!

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Your comments are welcome and brighten my day!