Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Misty Dawn -- 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge (Round Two), Day 10, and Thoughts on How Artists Create Art

Misty Dawn, Ruby Beach,
 Watercolor on Richeson Zoltan Szabo #140 Cold Press paper, 5"h x 7"w, 2013 #61


Since I was going through the reference photos I took on the trip to Ruby Beach, Washington when doing "Sea Stacks, Ruby Beach" a couple of days ago, I couldn't help but picking out a few more favorites to work from, hence this little one today (and a few more to come). Lucky for me, it still fits in my theme for the current week: landscape with water (ok, ok, yesterday's piece was landscape but without water, I got it :-P... I just got carried away designing those trees and finished it in the end...)

It has been a long time since I took the trip, but I stood on that beach from dawn (which was nice and sunny) till past dusk (which gradually got very cloudy and finally started to rain -- as I complained in the post about "Sea Stacks, Ruby Beach", looked, listened, smelled, pondered, drew and painted, even took a nap! The place with its unique windy, salty atmosphere was well burnt into my memory. Had I not spent such precious time lingering in a place like this, but only snapped a photo and left, I probably wouldn't have felt being suddenly transported back again when my eye accidentally scanned across the reference photo I took there at dawn. I remembered how the warm mist gradually rose from water as the sun slowly climbed up, as if the spirit of the land was waking up along with the warmth provided by this source of life. I remembered the amazing rosy golden glow around everything behind the veil of fog, and the purple-orange shadows of the back-lid sea stacks standing against the rising sun...  I just had to get it down on paper.

After finishing this piece I started pondering about the creative process -- what an artist, every artist goes through after being hitting by that overwhelming sense "I have to paint that!!!"... First comes looking: a sensation; seeing a piece of nature and saying, "There is a beautiful tree", or "I love the light reflected on water's surface". We as artists start to be aware of the "present". Eyesight reception stirs up a chaos inside us. Something has to be done. Then it all quiets down to a more pure, condensed perception: the artist acknowledges him/herself the existence of the scene, and a deep, more real "seeing" is retained within our memory with every extra stare, providing a storehouse of visual data for us to mull over and over, ponder and digest, which finally may be integrated into a "concept" -- a perceived experience with intention. At this stage we as artists have gained an awareness of what stood in front of us in the totality of personal experience. It has become axiomatic, and can be held as a scheme in our mind's eye as an integration of similar units whenever we want to recall it. It matures, and waited to be executed, carried out as a visual statement about the experience -- experience not as what happened to us but what happened in us. And as we finally do that, the finished work becomes separated from us, the artists by time and space. It enters a life of its own, to stand or fall, no longer within our control. There is often a sense of deep vulnerability felt by the artist when such a product makes its public appearance, as for so long we have lived with it, held it deeply in ours minds and hearts, being tortured by its will of coming out of us, worrying that even after giving it our best effort, the result still could not stand up to the beauty we see in our minds' eye... 

It is such a painful, labored exhilaration, an addiction, a powerful experience that we repeat again and again, everyday. The most powerful and most vulnerable position: the position of the creator. 

... And that, is exactly why I am doing it again today.

You can now buy high quality Giclee prints of many of my sold paintings, both on paper and canvas, as well as some note cards with my paintings here:


Thank you so much for taking time visiting and commenting on my blog! Your feedback and encouragements are things that keep me going with I am feeling down or frustrated... I will try my best to reply to every comment ASAP but sometimes life gets in the way and I am a bit slow in my response. I would like to apologize if that happens...

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