Monday, August 27, 2012

Time to Ponder

Perhaps you noticed that I haven't posted here for the past 10 days. Something happened, still don't know exactly what, and I lost my internet connection on my computer that I store my photos on and write this blog on. At the same time we had house guests that arrived for the week and a trip to Seattle planned to see the King Tut exhibit and a camping weekend at the coast. Blogging did not happen. Today the internet is back. (Thank you, Ray.)

Amidst the busy activities of the week and with no internet to distract me, I have had time to ponder the nasturtiums, and all the suggestions I got. I didn't ask for suggestions, but I enjoyed reading your ideas and thoughts on how you would "fix" my piece, or in some cases, your opinion that it was just fine as it was. No, really it wasn't. Something was off. But back to the suggestions. Many of you knew just what I was thinking—color seemed not exuberant enough, not enough movement, too contained by the pot. Some suggested that the pot was superfluous and the nasturtiums needed to be set free. These were all things I was thinking too. The thing about the pot was that it was part of my inspiration—this big, old terra cotta pot in my yard with nasturtiums spilling out of it, but Kristen said the magic word—"contained." Too contained. Suggestion for bigger slashes of paint was something I had already tried and found too garish for my taste. But I went back and added more of the foliage, flowers and some paint energy, letting those nasturtiums un-contain themselves more.

Just to remind you, this is how you last saw this.

It is finished. I have learned some things from this piece. Just thinking about it has given me some ideas that may not even be apparent in what I finally did to it, but they are things I will consider the next time around. For example I think it might have been an interesting idea to use less naturalistic color. A crazy background color like turquoise or purple might have made the nasturtiums feel jazzier and more energetic.

Or maybe not! The thing is I need to loosen up. I keep working on doing just that, but I keep falling back into my rut. I think my class with Elizabeth Barton is going to help. I need to see through some different eyes.

Tonight I was reading the latest art letter from Robert Genn and he quoted Elliott Eisner about art education:  "The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer."  That made me think of all the great suggestions I got about this piece. It gave me several different ideas on where to go with it. It could have been something entirely different. But no more suggestions please. I am finished with it and looking forward to moving on.


  1. Thanks for sharing your process. I am always interested in how an artist develops an idea - or why they feel a need to change a work in progress. Lovely geraniums!

  2. Nanette6:31 AM

    I like it, a lot. I took a oil painting class, a long time ago and the teacher said "sometimes you need a bang in the head to say it is finished"

  3. Anonymous8:02 AM

    This is so lovely. I know you want to be looser but your style is so distinctive and special,I can tell it is yours. I love your style and wish you had a class I could take. I took the bird class you taught at Silverton and it was so enjoyable.

    Susan in Spokane

  4. I love the process discussions. It gives me more ways to look at my own work. I think you'll really like Elizabeth Barton's class. I took an online class with her and liked the process, though I wasn't able to spend enough time at the homework. I'd love to take her class in person and be able to focus more.

  5. I was down in California beginning to worry about you - no blogging, no FB - what has happened to Terry? Then you posted on FB and I thought ok, all is right with the world, Terry is fine.

  6. Now you have a "party in a pot". Good job.

    Next time try and crop so the subject is half in the frame and half out.

    I find flowers benefit from pushing up against the edges.

  7. So schööönnn!!!
    Very nice!

    LG Jutta