Dissatisfaction seems to happen like depression–is it a result of some mysterious collision of hormones or synapses (I’m not a scientist!), or is it justified by perceived failure? I am of course referring to my art. I can look at a painting that I created and quite admire it if I pretend it’s not mine. But knowing it is mine, and it is not completely successful in terms of what I had hoped to achieve, I am dissatisfied. This is very discouraging. The only way to escape discouragement is to find encouragement from the outside world. The best encouragement–say the “ten” of encouragement–would be if multiple admirers were competing to purchase a painting. A “one” on the encouragement scale would be sincere praise. I don’t mean to devalue sincere praise, but let’s face it, like is not the same as love.
The search for encouragement is why artists exhibit and seek to sell their paintings. (If they are looking to make a living, they teach, or pursue a career in illustration or graphic arts.) I think encouragement is also a prime factor in artists taking workshops from other artists; sure, you go to learn, but what you hope to learn is how good you already are! It’s as if we need a constant infusion of encouragement to keep us going. I know there are hermit artists whose work sees the light of day only after they are gone (gone=dead or institutionalized), but I cannot imagine how they keep plugging away with little or no input from the outside world. Such people must be so strong willed, propelled by such an inner vision, that they can only be compared to saints, as celebrated by the Catholic Church. (I was brought up Catholic and was a pretty devout one until I got out in the Real World where, after two children, birth control became a necessity.)
All is this is a preamble to this week’s collection of recent paintings with which I am not satisfied, completely. First, here is Margaret back again, after a three-session pose:
Three sessions is long enough to get it all right. I had to repaint her leg and arm in the third session because I had the perspective so wrong that her leg looked as if, in the words of a fellow artist, it were coming out of her belly. So it is correct. But is it inspired? After the first session, there was (I think) a freshness and spontaneity that is now lost. How did Sargent manage to labor over his portraits and produce paintings that seem to have been painted casually albeit perfectly with the first stroke?
Two more figure in the landscape paintings have entered the world as the result of workshops in the garden of David Curtis in Gloucester. First, the orange one:
She was holding a red parasol, the same parasol that I painted last summer, but this time, we had sun flowing through it. The two-piece dress is Indian, a saffron yellow-orange. Do I have enough light? No, it does not pop like it should. Is the green unrelenting? Maybe, but it’s not the problem, is it? Orange and green should produce quite an impact together. Perhaps the figure should have been bigger. So I resolve to go bigger with the next one:
This set up is similar to last summer’s red parasol.
My angle on the figure is so similar, but this time I have more of the face. Red has been replaced by white. We are all thinking about Sorolla, who was especially admired for his whites. The first impression of this painting is pretty good, I’m hoping, but I hate the little area where her right hand comes to rest. And I wish the parasol sun dapples came across better. Wish? That’s what I’m reduced to, wishing it were better. OMG!
That’s enough dissatisfaction for this week. Last week, I enjoyed the highly encouraging turnout for my reception at the Firefly last week. I didn’t count heads, but the place was full and I didn’t have any leftover food to take home. Thank you, all who showed up and seemed to like it. For those who didn’t quite get there Monday night, you can still view the paintings at Firefly before September 9, and I recommend you make a reservation to eat in the gallery room. Their food is excellent!
This weekend there is an event in Essex, Massachusetts, that you should consider attending. Saturday artists will be crawling all over the town making paintings, and Sunday these paintings will be displayed and offered for sale. Essex Paint out and Auction Facebook page with all the details. I am getting up extra early Saturday morning in order to drive down there and participate.
Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:
At the Library Arts Center in Newport, NH; at the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett; at the Bernerhof Inn in Glen; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway; at the Firefly American Bistro on 22 Concord Street, Manchester (reception August 3–5:30 to 7:30–all are welcome); and at the law offices of Mesmer and Deleault at 41 Brook St in Manchester.
As usual, you may view paintings with prices and order prints, iPhone cases and the like at my Fine Art America page. If the painting you are interested in is not there, or if you prefer to bypass that experience, you may contact me by email to email@example.com.
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