Friday, October 7, 2011

Consequences of Success

"Pansy Bud"
oil on gallery-wrapped canvas
5" x 7"

"Pansy Bud II"
oil on gallery-wrapped canvas
6" x 6"

I painted the first painting shown here earlier this week. The second one was painted yesterday. When I got finished with it, I was saying to myself "Wow! Did I just do that?" Apparently, the stars lined up right - I chose the right background color and got the colors and contrast right, capturing the sense of brilliant light on the flower bud. In case you can't tell, I'm very pleased with this last one! Yes, my reference photo was good, but trust me, the painting ended up being better than the photo.

I suspect that I'm not alone in my initial reaction to success. Whether it's producing a better-than-my-average piece of art or winning an award, my first thought is "Yay!", but the second thought usually is "Will I be able to repeat this, or better yet, top it?" As artists, we want to believe that our best work has yet to be created. It's a paradox - we strive to produce our very best painting and always hope that the particular piece we just completed wasn't it.

Success can sometimes make you feel that you are at a good stopping point. I must admit, I haven't picked up my paint brushes today, choosing instead to putter around some and do some housework that was easy enough to ignore earlier this week. But, I know that I'll be back at it - I must, it's what I do. And I think for the moment sadly on the death of Steve Jobs this week. Now there was a man who never let past success keep him from pursuing future successes! Thank you, Steve, for your example to us all.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Return to the Dark

oil on linen panel
7" x 5"

I came across this quince fruit at my local Wal-Mart supercenter. I really liked the bright yellow-green color of it and thought "This will look great on a pink background." I was so wrong... It didn't look good with any of the pastel colored backgrounds that I've been using lately for my small fruit paintings. So I returned to the use of a dark backdrop and that worked to make the color of the fruit really stand out. I had fun with the box as well - see the nail head on top? That was my favorite part of the whole painting to do!