This morning as I was working on a commission I began to compare the merits and possible challenges of the two ways in which I work. One (like the chair in the photo above) is totally pre-planned, sketching and then creating a painted 'drawing' similar to a coloring book page, though I also add shadows, usually utilizing a deep blue or red, depending on the main color that will be used on the painting. It was a method I learned in college, by creating an almost black-and-white image and then adding color with glazes and transparent paint. My other method is to add color, pattern and texture and to make decisions as I go with the final image coming more intuitively. I have to say that I don't prefer one method over the other as when I work in one manner constantly, I tend to feel constrained and become desperate for change.
Moving back and forth between different methods of working, as well as different substrates, sizes, and images keeps the work fresh and fun for me. I haven't created large furniture paintings in quite some time, though I do still create smaller pieces with those images because I love them, even after twelve years. I did take a hiatus for awhile a number of years ago and thought I wouldn't paint another chair in my life, but I was mistaken. Then I realized it wasn't the paintings that were making me unhappy, it was all the business related to painting that I wasn't enjoying and so....I changed the business part of my creative life.
Now I am only involved in those things that make my heart sing, and only work with galleries and patrons with whom I feel a connection with and where there is mutual respect. It's definitely been working for me. The most interesting thing about this all is that once I made that decision, opportunities presented themselves to me - I didn't even have to go looking for them. And everything fell into place. Easy. I guess that old adage about taking a leap of faith works.
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