finished painting my computer room this weekend. It was a lot of work for such a small room, and my stuff is still scattered around the rest of the house. I'm tired and sore." This is all still true, except I'm still painting that room.
I had painted three walls light gray and the fourth lavender. It looked pretty good, but I just couldn't bring myself to love the lavender wall. I bought fabric to make curtains, but couldn't love the idea of curtains either. I kept handling the fabric and decided I wanted pull down shades instead, but I don't know how to get my fabric to be a pull down shade (and washable). I noticed that lavender wall again and decided what I really wanted was to paint the pattern on the wall.
|Still painting leaves.|
Planning to cover the whole wall.
My dislike of wall painting hasn't stopped me. I'm using the gray paint to paint the leaf pattern on the lavender and loving the results. Hopefully at some point I'll stop fussing around in that room and actually put the computer back in the computer room.
The jeep is another piece I did for the Mensa magazine. I only intended to do one illustration for them, but the art editor kept getting me to do "just one more". I was enjoying myself so I let her talk me into it. The article was about action in Vietnam and I conferred with a vet pal because the art editor made a point of saying I had to get the right model year.
My pal and I talked on the phone and Googled photos together. Reference is so much easier now than when I started out In the olden days I might've had to go to the library, use the card catalog and everything. (Which I know only makes sense to people over 50.)
I had to make a "morgue" for one of my teachers when I was in school, photos I painstakingly cut out of magazines and filed for future reference. It's in the pile of stuff that I'm debating about whether or not to return to my computer room. I also have folders of ideas and inspiration, folders of artists I like, "how to" instructions, etc., etc., etc. I almost never use any of this stuff and probably don't need it. The idea of throwing it away feels like ripping my security blanket away though. What if I need to make an origami alligator sometime?!
The more I think about this, the more I'm thinking that it's time to let some of this go -- or revive it. Sometimes we come across a great picture online. Sure, we could come back to it -- if we remember where we saw it in the first place. We may not need that picture now, but some day we may want a face that's lit in just that way or a spotted toad or whatever.
Let me say that "reference" is a tool to help us, but isn't something we should copy faithfully. We should do something new with the inspiration because the original already exists. I don't remember the exact copyright law, but it's something like changing 60% or more from the original. Copying can be a good tool when we're starting out and learning, but the result isn't something you can sell.
I also keep things I call "art starts". These are painted backgrounds, textures, objects, whatever that I can use again. I still use these a lot. Why should I paint a graduated blue watercolor background again when I've already painted that once and can PhotoShop it into a new piece? I have lots of patterns that I can drop in when I need them and a deadline looms.
These are things I learned from old guys when I started out. I miss being in a studio with them teaching me things and laughing. I wish newer artists got the benefit of their wisdom. I'm grateful I got to live the experience.