48" x 36" Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
Detail of above.
52 Paintings in 52 Weeks
The urge to paint had been getting stronger and stronger. Everyone who knew me knew I was an artist. Most had seen the abundance of paintings, drawings, caricatures, and designs that I had at my house. Some of them have my work hanging on their walls. But I doubt if many of them knew that almost all of that work was accomplished in two years, over ten years ago. It had been that long since I picked up a brush. Here I was in the art supply aisle of my local Michael’s Craft Store. I picked up a starter set of acrylic paints - $19.95 plus tax. I never painted with acrylic paint before. And I’m still not quite sure what made me buy them that day when I had dozens of tubes of oil paint from long ago sitting in a drawer in my studio/office and I was far more familiar with oil painting.
For weeks prior to that day, I looked out my work office window at a dilapidated old factory building and thought it might make a nice painting. My office window has a sort-of chicken wire covering it on the outside and it made me think that it might be interesting to divide a canvas into small squares and paint in each square separately – somewhat like Chuck Close does so that, even though each square was its only little painting, the viewer sees it as a building when seen in its entirety.
That’s how it started. I struggled at first. To put it simply, even with all the improvements to acrylic paint over the years, it was not oil paint and would never be confused with oil paint. I have a very clear memory of wanting to switch back to my old reliable, especially when things didn’t go right, but I stuck it out. I was rewarded with a painting that really looked like nothing I had ever done before and I decided to stick with acrylics.
Nothing I’d Ever Done Before
During the years I wasn’t painting, people would always ask me when I was going to get back to it. I wondered myself. One thing that I always remember saying was, “I don’t want to paint like I used to paint.” Unfortunately, even I wasn’t sure what that meant. I was confident about how I didn’t want to paint but I never really worked out how I actually would paint. The idea of what I wanted to do next started to come into focus.
The first step was to completely divorce myself from what people’s reactions would be to my paintings. To be more specific – I would become more involved with the process and less with the outcome. Over this last year, I felt the pull of doing things the way I was more comfortable doing. Time and again I had to remind myself to stick with it and I wrote down three rules that I would try to follow in each and every painting:
During this time, I studied most of the greatest painters who ever lived through books and videos. I’ve visited museums and galleries and was inspired by literally everything I came in contact with. As I learned about an artist’s techniques, I would try them out myself. As I look over my completed paintings, I can see quite clearly, their influence on each one.
I thought it might be fun to post these paintings on OS as I went through my journey. I must say, I have been productive. During this year, I have completed over 125 paintings. I started out with smaller canvases and made my way up to much larger canvases. That first set of acrylics made it through three paintings. Since then, I have spent thousands of dollars on paint, canvas, and equipment. Over the last year, I have posted 52 of these works in no particular order. I have been constantly surprised at the reactions I have gotten. Some of my favorite works, paintings I am so proud of received some of the lowest ratings and comments. Some paintings that I consider trifling were lauded. It really opened my eyes.
There are more than 70 paintings that were not posted. Some of those are favorites that I may end up posting here on a much more irregular basis. My intention is to write more about this 52-paintings-in-52-weeks exercise. I have explored it in paint and now I must explore it in words.
Through it all, I think I was true to my rules, I explored, I was bold, and I had a whole bunch of fun. I hope you did too. Thank you for dropping by and making comments. I appreciated every one of them and I am sorry I didn’t interact very much but I wanted the paintings to do the talking for me.
By the way, I haven't stopped!
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