Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Getting Out of a Rut

I love flowers.  LOVE them.  I know most of their names on sight.  I can recognize them by their leaves even.  I rarely run across a flower that I don't know the name of and when I do, I make a point to learn it.  Many years ago when I was taking watercolor lessons, my teacher would tell me how well I painted flowers and she would say, "If you can paint a flower, you can paint anything.  They are difficult."  But they really weren't all that difficult for me.  Other things intimidated me, but not flowers.  I am confident in flowers.  Whenever I am doing art, I seem to paint flowers.  But lately I've been thinking ("A dangerous past time I know."  By the way, who knows what movie that is from?).
When Kate and I were playing in our art journals the last time she was here, I posed a question:  Do I paint flowers because I am following my natural abilities and my own path or am I just in a rut? 
Kate's reply:  "If you still enjoy painting flowers then you are following your path, if not then I'd say it's a rut."  She's so smart!
Well, more thinking...
...which requires a journal page of course!  Fortunately I had this page kicking around in my journal from another art day with Kate.  She was letting me try out her Sennelier oil pastels and, for lack of any other ideas, I did this flower, but didn't know what to do with the page after that.  This was the perfect flower pondering page.
Here's what I've decided about flowers...I'm kind of sick of them.  I still love them but I also want to stretch and grow and if I'm totally honest, I really don't have to stretch much to paint them.  If I start painting a flower, I am relatively confident that it won't turn into a big mess and if it does, I probably can fix it.  I'm not that confident with other subjects and I really would like to be, so I am trying to take a little break from flowers and try new things.  But now I find myself unsure of what to paint.  If I don't paint flowers, what else is there?  I am certainly stretching.
So here is a "flower-free" page.  It started with a crazy, bright background of palette cleanings.  I toned down the background with some random collage and lighter paint.  Then I painted a heart and added a hand image from a magazine.  The image looked a little too "real" for the rest of the page, so I bravely started painting the hands, using the image as a guide.
Now that I have finished this page, I'm wondering what I will work on next that is "flower-free".  I'm going to have to work on that.  More rut busting is needed!