55 into what will eventually be 100 small original ACEO paintings, more specifically – little faces or, what I’ve started calling ‘the shrunken head series.’ ^__^
EDIT 9/3 – All 100 are finished now, and are available for $20 apiece in the etsy shop!
The last time I went to Daniel Smith (I rarely go, it’s far too full of gorgeous art supplies, it breaks my heart) I found this interesting, cheap little set of “Authentic Chinese Watercolors,” made by Yasumoto, “to be used with Chinese and sumi ink” – and I couldn’t resist bringing it home with me. I suspected they’d be just ordinary watercolors, but I love, love love these more than I expected! The consistency of the paint is like watercolor, but they go on rather like gouache, and can be made quite opaque if needed. Compared to normal watercolors, they dry more water water-resistant, and are slightly glossy. Colors like light blue or red show up over pitch-black sumi ink. Kind of a watercolor-gouache-acrylic compromise that pulls together all the things I enjoy from each!
So, I started this series exclusively using this paint to play and experiment.
I find it quite difficult to go into painting without a pencil sketch (quite retentive that way), so this is also a challenge to weaken my terrible habit of being such an obnoxious perfectionist.
I don’t actually consider myself a perfectionist. I feel like perfectionists keep working till they have something perfect, and so I’m kind of like a lousy perfectionist. I make lots of crappy drawings and messy mistakes. But the problem is the mindset that tells me I know exactly what constitutes as “good” or “bad.” And more importantly, for us artists, what your art “can,” and “cannot” end up being. I – and I know I’m not alone here – so easily get stuck in the box of “my art looks like this,” “my art should look like this,” “I can’t do that yet, haven’t learned how to yet, so I’ll wait to do that thing until I’ve mastered it” – that last one is really crippling, if you think about it. Like how I’ve never even tried to make a cheese souffle, as yummy as they sound (never had one) – because I’ve never done it before and don’t know how. Silly!
I guess what I’m trying to say here is that this exercise – setting some specific parameters (size, medium, number, loose theme) – and just getting on with it – is very liberating. Freedom can be deadly to an artist (oh, all the possibilities! I could do a sculpture or performance or teeny paintings on toenail clippings!). It’s so easy to put off making work – and enjoying – it because of the hangups we have about how it will turn out, and how we want to spend our time making the perfect thing, expressing the perfect idea. Play. You don’t have to know what you’re doing. It doesn’t have to be perfect, though you’ll probably find it will be, once you get started. Allow yourself the space to surprise yourself.
While working on these, day one I spent outside on the deck, day two inside on the floor in front of the TV watching TED talks. And among those, I stumbled across Kathryn Shulz, and her talk, “On being wrong.” It’s relevant, funny, pointed, and worth pondering. If you have a few extra minutes, do take a look:
I need to remind myself all the time of how stuck I get in my head. How do you guys (artists, non-artists) keep your minds breathing and healthy and happy? Please share! And have a happy weekend!!!