Entries Tagged as 'rough drafts'

A New Conversation

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A New Conversation

I sold the Survivors painting, and I’ve been missing  those big-faced flowers around the house. So last night I started this new one.

I had just two hours to work, so I gave myself a few parameters: Paint quickly, use all the paint, and follow my first impulse.

Working on a new painting is like the precious time connecting with a dear friend. I don’t get to see my closest friends every day; nor am I able to paint every day. But I carry our dialogues with me, and they enrich my quality of life.

With a new painting in process, I’m once more happily in conversation. As long as I keep showing up, listening, and trusting my instincts, the painting will lead me home.

Flowers 5

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

flowers 5

Tonight, Mason dropped by unannounced for a hug.  I opened the door wearing my painting apron, brush in hand. “I knew you’d be painting,” he said. “I can only stay a minute–Mom wants me back on a schedule before school starts, so I have to go to bed early.”

We commiserated about the reality of childhood bedtimes. “I’m going to bed early tonight, too,” I told him, “but of course, it’s different when you’re an adult. No one tells you when to go bed. Bet you can’t wait for that, huh?”  He smiled.

“Well, come see the painting real quick, kiddo.”

Mason walked into the studio and gave it a 3-second look. “Still a rough draft,” he pronounced. “Okay, gotta go!”

He’s confident now, unphased by the mess. As if he knows I’m far from done, but trusts I’ll get there. I do, too.

Flowers, 4

Sunday, August 3, 2014

flowers 4

Mason stopped by again today while I was painting. “Is that still a rough draft?” he said, eyeing the changes and smiling.

“Yep! Still a rough draft.”

“It’s getting better,” he said. I agreed.

I mixed matte medium with Mars Black to start the loose outlining, a process that reminds me of tying ribbons to the plants that get to stay in a major landscaping.

“Yeah, it’s getting better,” Mason repeated. “It’s not good yet, but it’s getting better. Where’s the Ipad?”

Then, he sat down on my rug and played quietly like the best kind of studio visitor; I was alone, but not alone.

This made me think about painting, writing, and the growth process in general.  Perhaps every good thing is simply the result of one rough draft after another. Thinking of my work and my life in this way–as a series of successive rough drafts–sure makes me feel safer putting myself out there. First make a mess (experiment, give it a shot, get the sort-of hang of it), then gradually, one rough draft at a time, tidy up till it’s done.

That, and try not to leave messes on other people’s rugs.

Flowers 3 (rough drafts)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

flowers 3

This morning, my nephew Mason, age 8, stopped by the studio as I was preparing to paint. He looked at my easel, at the draft of the painting in Flowers 2, and scrunched up his face.

“Um, you’re going to work on that some more, right Aunt Sara?” he said with that unfiltered critical quality children who are still allowed to be honest sometimes have when they speak to adults about their experience.

“Yes,” I said, “that’s what I’m doing this weekend.”

“Oh, I see. So it’s like a rough draft?”

“Yep, exactly.”

“Oh, yeah, I know what that is,” he said. “It’s like you start off just being messy, and, and then, well then you can mess up.  Like in writing, in art…And then, once you’re done with the rough draft, you can do it nicely, since you have the hang of it. The rough draft is for getting the hang of painting the picture.”

His voice had changed; there was acceptance in it, softness, a knowing. I was floored, but I tried to play it cool. “I like how you describe that,” I said in my best I’m-not-that-interested voice. “Can you tell me one more time?”

He did, and I jotted it down verbatim.

Mason was playing with my pallet knives, trying to scrape off their dried paint. “How did you learn about rough drafts? Who taught you about them?””

“At school,” he said. “My favorite teacher taught me about rough drafts.”

It took everything I had not to envelop him in one of those “Auntique Sara” hugs he hates and loves.

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