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Week 29: Day - To - Day Painting Leaving Comfort

If I was asked to get rid of the Zen aesthetic and just keep one quality necessary to create art, I would say it’s trust. When you learn to trust yourself implicitly, you no longer need to prove something through your art. You simply allow it to come out, to be as it is. This is when creating art becomes effortless. It happens just as you grow your hair. It grows. John Daido Loor

I am showing 5 pieces here that span a 15 day period. When I looked back to select images for this edition of the blog I was surprised to discover that I did not have daily paintings. I did not understand why I had so few until I looked at the text that accompanied the images on Instagram. I remembered that I had been very ill with a respiratory illness that prohibited me from using the oil paints and in fact landed me in bed. This has led me to wonder, if I am not painting every day, does this still count as "Daily Painting"? I know sometimes I work a piece over two days, does that still count as "Daily Painting"? Strictly speaking, you are meant to work and produce a painting every day. For the most part I do just that, but what is the benefit for me of the practice and does that still occur if I skip a day or more? ​Through the process of painting my thoughts are externalized. My thought process which would otherwise remain hidden, becomes visible through the use of the material tools of painting and the compositional elements of marks, shapes and color. My aim is always to discover as I work. I uncover the expressiveness of color and form as I construct the painting.​ I cannot stress enough how different this "daily" process is from the usual studio process. The benefit of approaching a new page (almost) daily is that I work with no expectations of outcome, nor any expectation of creating a complex painting. The larger works created over many sessions may have more polish or "finesse". These Daily Paintings make up for the lack of polish with freshness and immediacy. This process has led me to allow for the unpredictability of painting. It has pushed me beyond the comfort of established practices. Over time, I have expanded my visual vocabulary to a far greater extent than I would have were I to pursue only my regular studio work.

completed January 5, 2020

Painting is not something done chiefly with a brush and some colours. It is, rather, a way of seeing the world … One’s actual painting is done inside one’s imagination and it is a function of how the individual relates to the world. The threadbare story of the blind men feeling the elephant and saying it is like a rope, a piece of leather, a rug and so on, is true on a more profound level. Each of us sees the world as an individual, alone, caught up in a vast maelstrom; but by our culture, we learn to communicate with our fellow human beings. Poetry, dancing, painting and other arts are all ways of communciating. The philosopher Kant said we not only see the world but the world conforms to our way of seeing it. This is certainly true in the field of art. ​Rollo May

This image has the feeling of fecundity to me. This first week in 2020 was a doozy, full of ups and downs. A painting sold to a wonderful family ( the painting looks awesome in situ), then, immediately afterward, I lost a source of income, and as I was hustling to replace the lost income, along came a threat, (a law suit). ​I held myself in a state of acceptance. I maintained equanimity through meditation and trust and working on these small pieces as well as large canvasses in my other studio.

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. Scott Adams

I worked on this one small painting over two days and was not sure I could accept it as complete when I stopped working on 1/9/2020. I only knew I had pushed it as far as I could at that time and I had to let the oil paint dry a bit. The next day, I decided this is complete. ​This is a prime example of a painting that would never see the light of day if I were only following my regular studio practice.

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves. Carl Jung

I really liked this one when I finished it. It is not always the case that I am pleased when I decide to stop working for the day. ​I like the energy created by the massing of the yellows and the light created by the loose brushwork, and the notes sounded by the deep reds and the purplish blues scribbles, Now I’m wondering does it remind me of some other work that I like? is that why I like it?

What genuine painters do is to reveal the underlying psychological and spiritual conditions of their relationship to their world; thus in the works of a great painter we have a reflection of the emotional and spiritual condition of human beings in that period of history. ... They have the power to reveal the underlying meaning of any period precisely because the essence of art is the powerful and alive encounter between the artist and his or her world. Rollo May

It was eight days before I was well enough to work again. Whereas the painting on 1/12 had some inherent depth, this one is entirely on the surface. The color palette is entirely different and yet like the previous painting, it brings the viewer directly into another world.

Working daily has allowed me to venture away from safe and known territory in my work. This practice has given me permission to step beyond what I perceive is "appropriate" for me to work on. . Do you have any practice that enables you to expand your view of "reality"?

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