Monday, January 06, 2014
Transforming from Big to Small by Lisa Goldstein
My first two years of painting I created primarily realistic paintings. I wanted to prove to myself and the world that I could draw/ depict images accurately. I painted many pet and animal portraits. This year I challenged myself to loosen up… and get whimsical with bright, bold colors. I spent several months creating a series of large floral paintings, focusing more on shapes and eliminating details.
The 2013 Studio Tour presented quite a few challenges for me. One problem for me is that I like to paint BIG (at least 36″ x 36″) and my paintings, being too large for the gallery preview, were unlikely to sell out of my studio on the Tour. Big paintings are a big commitment financially and space-wise. So my plan this past year was to create a dozen or so miniature studies of my larger paintings.
August came around and I had been painting alone, finding myself too isolated in searching for meaningful work using my health care experience. I was presented with an amazing opportunity to work part-time with abuse victims, but the timing was difficult considering the tour was fast approaching. I felt it was important to do this job, so I spent September getting my nursing CEUs completed, and October/ November completing 80 hours of training. I ignored that little voice that kept whispering “You’re not ready for the Tour!”.
I had no small paintings to sell like the year before, nor did I have anything for the preview show at Frank Gallery. The night before the gallery drop off I could no longer ignore that voice. I worked on a small floral piece, but was not very satisfied with it. However, I dropped it off at the gallery, reminding myself that the reason I was unprepared was for a good cause.
The dust from the Tour settled and my family and I took a vacation over winter break. But thoughts of my preview painting kept eating at me. I didn’t want to waste the gallery wrapped canvas of this piece, but looking at it made me feel unhappy. I’d been wanting to do a whimsical series of my dog, so I spent an afternoon transforming the canvas that had made me feel so unsatisfied. If you compare the before (on the left) with the after painting (on the right), you will see that I reworked the flowers and turned them into a more whimsical background of polka-dots. The result is a something I call ‘My Dog JUMPS!’ and is much more satisfying to me.
I can see now that it sometimes takes a long time for a painting to evolve. Now I know that if I give it time, when I go back to look again at a piece I have worked on, I can see clearly what I need to do to make it match my vision. It has been a hard lesson, but one I am so glad I’ve learned!
See more of Lisa’s work at her website: http://www.lisapgoldstein.com