In this video I show painting time lapse footage and talk about these 3 paintings.
I have a fantasy of there being some concrete restart moment - like at the new year or after a move. There would be this magic time where I could start new where all the bad habits and crap mind sets were gone and I could just work on living as the best version of myself without having to undo the bad first. Unfortunately life isn’t that cleanly divided and its just a constant effort to do your best. The face is looking up in optimism like my head is in this idealized headspace, but I still have me there at the bottom - all the blahness - the laziness, fears, and crappiness - is going to be there to deal with.
I wanted to write about my favorite painting from this year. Insider is about creating an art piece that might not communicate anything with the viewer and only serves as a sort of inside joke with the artist - at least this is what I got from the piece. The Viewer can pull any meaning from it they want and it can be their own inside joke.
I really enjoy the strong features of the model along with the dramatic shadows. I'm really happy with the orange to purple saturated skin tones that I got with this image. The brush strokes satisfy my desire for both realism and expression. As I have created more work I have referenced this image as an example of the style I want to capture.
I sold this painting at my Thoughtscapes exhibition at Black Lagoon Gallery in May. I was absolutely thrilled to have made a sale. Of course the money is very much appreciated, but what really means the most to me is being acknowledged as having created successful art. Sometimes I really struggle with motivation, inspiration and the technical aspects of painting and to have someone appreciate your work really means a lot to me.
Earlier this year I found myself in this pattern of negativity. I got in a rut by repeatedly returning to destructive thoughts. I was unmotivated, bored, unsatisfied with the art I was making and I couldn’t figure out the point of doing anything. I created this image to give a visual representation of a repetition that gives the viewer no new information and instead makes for a disjointed and redundant image.
This is one of my favorite paintings that I've made this year and here is the thought behind it:
In January 2016 I started working full time as an artist at an event company. Up until this point I had worked in various positions that just weren’t my thing for various reasons. As I settled into this satisfying and challenging yet laid back job I realized that I had lost a major force in my life that I was always working against: quitting my job. In my previous positions, including when I owned my business, I was always trying to figure out what I would be working at next. It wasn’t a fun thing, but it gave me a drive and purpose.
This painting represents me trying to find a new force to work against. Its the awkwardness of finding that you miss the old conflict and need to create a new one.
I wanted this self portrait to appear disjointed to reflect inconsistencies and a not-quite-sound relationship with femininity. I find the pink background both energizing and cloying. The mismatched eyes are both interesting and off-putting. As I finishing up this painting I realized that the face shape heavy brows and hair were lending themselves to a more masculine look which I ended up keeping to contrast with the rose colored lips. This painting is an unresolved relationship with my own identity as it pertains to my femaleness.
I find this painting a little off putting. I don't know if this emotional reaction to the art piece means that it is successful or if its just gross and I should lock it in a closet.
The title of this piece comes from a Groupon customer's review of one of my painting classes. She called me a Space Case and not without reason. I'm pretty sure that night I was having a text spat with my husband (you KNOW I'm not the only one who has had the occasional text fight). I painted the face just kind of wandering off the rest of the head as thoughts tend to go. I chose a peaceful expression on the face as well as soft tones to show the pleasure that sometimes comes with being lost in thought
This painting is about that feeling when you consume something that is bad for you. There was a time I at some rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and it gave me food poisoning and I remember laying there with this horrible feeling in my stomach that there was something in there that was wrong and was going to violently make its way out. I also feel this way after a night of drinking - that awful feeling of having poisoned yourself. Its not always food and drink though. Sometimes I scroll through facebook or one of the other social media platforms and just feel completely negative. It could be trash TV or a person that causes the acid inside you.
I was really excited to use a chartreuse color in this painting and I love the way it paired with that deep purple. I've been experimenting with skin tone lately and the flesh tone in the face is quite bit cooler than usual, but I'm happy with it and I really enjoy the saturation.
You probably know that I own my own business, GeeBerry Art Studio. As a business owner I end up having a lot of the same conversations with various people at networking events and during classes. One of the things I really hate when people say is something along the lines of "Its so cool you get to do what you love every day" It annoys the crap out of me because thats what I thought I would get to do, but the things I like doing (making art, lesson planning, and teaching) make up a tiny percentage of what needs to be done. These people who say the "do what you love" thing don't give me any credit for what I really do with the bulk of my time. So yeah my "dream job" consists of taking phone calls, and if you've ever worked in customer service you will know how frustrating that can be, answering emails, paying bills, keeping my financial spreadsheets (ok I like doing this one a little), keeping the studio clean, researching competitors and other businessy stuff. Seriously give me credit for having a real job with sucky parts just like everyone else's.
So thats where the title originates, but the piece more broadly represents my huge frustration with having a start up business. There is one question that dominates my life right now: How can I get people to pay for my service? I have never owned a business before and I don't really know what I'm doing or what to expect. I have no idea if I'm on the right track or not. Its extremely frustrating and stressful.
So I'll just add this to the list of paintings that qualify as visual complaining.
So a couple weeks ago I thought I had finished the above pictured painting. I feel really strongly about the statement behind the image, but I felt kind of embarrassed about the image. It was doe eyed and off. So I sat down to work on that left eye. I would like to inform anyone that believes that watercolor is an unforgiving medium that I spent a couple hours lifting and putting back on the eye several times. I work on 400lb or 555lb paper and its durable enough to handle a little scrubbing. Its a true testament to the quality of the paper I use that you can't even tell how much lifting I ended up doing as the integrity of the surface is still there.
Even after all that work I still don't feel like I captured the intensity of the eyes from the source image, but there just gets to be a point where you have to accept the painting as a different image from the original source and either be ok with it or try again on a fresh sheet of paper.
I'm much happier with the image now that it has been edited. I also added more hair detail. I really hate working on hair, but I'm just not pulling of that vague hair thing.
I end up painting portraits of myself frequently, mostly out of convenience (I'm the only model available whenever I want). All of my painting reflect some part of me that I might be feeling at the time, as I'm sure is true with most artist's work. Weirdly though I don't consider much of my work to be self portraiture. I see it as I needed a model and I happened to be handy for it.
This newest painting though, I do consider to be a self portrait. This painting represents my relationship with my menstrual cycle. From late high school until about halfway through college I was plagued by horrible cramps every month. Then I had a large cyst removed and the cramps went down to average. I started having really intense moodiness leading up to my period. Like so much so that I felt completely out of control of my emotions and unbalanced. It felt awful to feel so controlled by my body and its cycles. Since then I got on the pill and its really helped me balance out my hormones.
The painting reflects on having a small portion of my life spent completely unbalanced and disrupted. I chose to flip the portion of my face in the red stripe because when I would think back on my moody-ass behavior it was unrecognizable as me, it just didn't match up. I know many other women struggle with these same sorts of issues and it sucks that we are saddled with such a crappy biological function
I wanted to do a painting that illustrates the isolation I feel as someone who works alone. I spend a lot of my 40 hour a week job managing the studio by myself and it gets really lonely. I miss being around people and I also miss living in the same town as my family.
Not sure how I feel about this painting. Up until this painting I haven't really included any props or background items. I would like to do more of this in the future. I will probably end up approaching the empty couch concept again.
In January I decided that I would kick off a new year of art by repainting a favorite from undergrad just to see how much better I could do it 3 years later. I should have posted this sooner, but I procrastinated on getting a quality photo of the newer piece.
I did a whole series of blindfolded portraits for my undergraduate senior exhibition. That body of work reflected on an intense anxiety I had about what direction I would go in life after graduation. I was afraid of what life would be like without the structure of being in school. The portrait shown above might have been my 3rd or 4th watercolor painting ever.
There is definitely a technical improvement over the 2011 painting! I'm using more colors in my flesh tone. When you see the new painting next to the old one you see a painfully obvious lack of darker tones in the flesh in 2011. I also ditched the ink outline.
Its kind of funny that the sentiment of first painting still rings true 3 years later. I still have anxiety about the future. What kind of life do I want, what is important to me, what kind of person do I want to be and how do I get there? My next big life step that I'm absolutely dreading is deciding about having children. Its the new deadline for me and its something that weighs on my just like graduation day did for me during college.