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Giving Permission, "Coachella Cadence" 12x16

"Coachella Cadence" 12x16" Oil
(pardon the glare)

"Coachella Cadence" detail

Pastels have been my medium of choice for nearly twenty-two years and have given me great joy and freedom to paint. Pastels have no mixing and drying time that traditional paints require. Sometimes I call it "pick and peck" painting. Pastels give me quick results and are fresh. I could finish a piece in one day and move on to the next.

When I began working with oils, I was consumed by learning all the names of the pigments and brushes, brushstrokes, mixing possibilities, other artist's palettes, solvents, mediums, and so much more. Coming from a pastelist's point of view, it was overwhelming. By now one would think I'd have a handle on oil painting, but I still struggle...a lot! Most of my struggle is in the mixing of pigment and getting it down in a wonderful brushstroke. I tend to lay it on messy and clumpy, or it's just plainly "cat licked" to death. Or worse, it was overworked leaving the piece heavy laden and boring. I was bored!

Then it hit me just the other day. I decided to step over the "boring" and gave myself permission to just paint with the palette knife and discover whatever comes from it. Loosen up a bit. Step through the gate. Cross over all those self-imposed rules. And when I did, I felt like a delightful child pulling petals off of a daisy and broke free from my self-implied shackles of painting with oil. No surprise that I painted all day long!

Painting with a palette knife is much like how I paint with pastels. I have found the flat side is much like the wide side of a pastel. I can smooth out pigment, let the canvas peek through, mix the colors and collect it without making my brush overly loaded. I can wipe it clean and start a new passage without cleaning my brush with solvent. A palette knife has thin sides which can be used to articulate fine lines and also scrape away paint. No more "over noodling" for me!

What makes it hard for you to paint? When was the last time you picked up a new tool? Are there things you wish you could do with your painting that others have inspired you to try? Then, why not?

Give yourself permission.

2 comments:

Kim Vanlandingham said...

Funny, I'm pretty comfortable with the paints...but you put a pastel in my hand and I tend to overwork. So glad to see you outside of your box and this painting is great! Very expressive! Well done!

Brenda Boylan said...

Oh thanks so much Kim. It's funny how we create walls and freeze up. It was so refreshing to give myself permission. Perhaps the next time you pick up a pastel, you could just make "marks" to loosen up?
B