Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Taking the Scenic Road

Do you ever feel that force majeure is getting in the way of settling on a planned route?

You go on the freeway with a destination in mind, and suddenly you see an exit that calls for you, and you take it, surrendering to your gut feeling?

I have quite a few paintings in my queue. I'm still working on the untitled acrylics guy; I have another version of my grandfather in mind; I really need to start that commission; I already did the drawing for a new painting that's been marinating in my head for a while; I . . .

. . . and out of the blue, my sister has emailed me this incredible photo of our father (who died just over a decade ago). It's a photo I've been dying to have, a very unique capture of him a couple of years before he died.

OK, you know what's that means - I tossed everything aside, cleared a little space on my overloaded desk in my insanely messy studio, grabbed some watercolor paper, dipped my brush in some paint and just followed my overflowing heart. Two hours later, I was done, and exhausted.

And to think painting my grandfather seemed like an emotional journey... well, Einstein's theory of relativity was proven, yet again.

The painting got quite a few constructive comments at our critique group, which I agree with in the sense of design and composition. However, I realized it may have been a mistake to bring this kind of painting for critique. To me, it was all about the courage it took me to paint him, the feeling I had when I was caressing his face with my brush, and my success in capturing exactly what I was going for. The elements of design were not at the top of my priority list with this one.

So, that was quite a detour from the "appropriate" way to paint. And it made me realize that taking the scenic road from time to time - even if it doesn't lead to a preplanned and well defined destination - is OK. It's more than OK.

We'll be taking a lot of scenic roads in the coming couple of weeks. The JohnnyB is in dire need of a vacation, and due to the restricted time-window dictated by his work, we found ourselves on a spontaneity spree in a very fast-forward mode of pondering-considering-discussing-deciding-arguing-deciding-doubting-deciding-stressing-deciding-booking-planning a 2-week timeout.

To contrast the hectic pace of the Bay Area, we chose one of the more laid-back countries in Europe, that seems to be beautiful and charming and welcoming and different, with a language neither of us speaks.

Portugal, here we come!!


Vicki Greene said...

What a wonderful journey you allow your art to take you on. Your painting of your father is truly a treasure. Hope you have a relaxing and renewing vacation.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my. Your father. Make way clutter, the desk, the easel...make room. His presence is felt after 10 years gone.

Valerie said...

Your gut senses are in great order - your father's portrait has power.

Bon Voyage - may your trip be a memorable one full of images and joys.

Blueberry said...

That's an amazing face!

have a wonderful trip! Should be a beautiful place. I have only seen it from an airplane, and on the ground only the airport (when I was 11).

רינת said...

תיסלמי אחותי!! יסא מ-ה-מ-ם והספעים שבחרת לצייר? הסגול וכוחול? כל כך שמיימיים שממש עושה רושם שהוא בא לביקור אחרי עשור

Dar Presto said...

It is a splendid piece, quite powerful. How on earth did you make it glow?! Good journey to you.

Nava said...

Thank you all.

Vicki, I agree - sometimes, we need to ??? it be about the journey.

Pat, indeed, it was one of those times that just required everything to be pushed aside in order to make room for the real thing.

Valerie, power - that was one of the things I was after, a sense of quiet power and presence.

Blueberry, we all have those places we've gone through, only seeing the airport. Always makes me feel that I am missing something by not stopping for a couple of days.

רינת, תודרבה אחותי.

Dar, that incredible glow is, um... done by my camera that gets ecstatic whenever it sees blue.

רינת said...

אחותי שלי, מה קורה לך עם השפה? ממתי מחליפים צ' ב-ס? ו-ב' ב-פ', הא?

RHCarpenter said...

Sometimes you need to let your mind idle and let your spirit rise - I think it did while creating this one :) He looks like a kind man. said...

Like your painting and your analogy.

Anonymous said...

Throw away formulas and give way to feeling and emotion. That's how you made your fathers' image real, transcendent and yes, alive.
A wonderful tribute and no doubt a moving experience for you.
Come back refreshed and eager.