Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why Paint?

Painting, as with any art form really, is a journey... a journey of self, of reflection, of emotion, of spirit, of soul, of imagination.

Here are some words I associate with my time in the studio...


Going to my studio is my chance to rid myself of all other goings-on; it is my time to let out what is inside of me, to be totally at one with color, with brushstroke, with my connection to the trees outside the studio, to the birdsong, to the music I may listen to, to the subject at hand. Sometimes my journey on the canvas is one that simply happens... I let the colors and brushes take me where they will. Sometimes I have an idea of what I want to see in a finished product, and it may work itself out closely to what I have envisioned. But sometimes that vision never comes to fruition and something totally different takes its place.

Sometimes a canvas gets an early layer of paint with a faint image trying to emerge, and then I have to let it lie for a period of time before I can come back to it. I have two or three of these in the studio right now. One of my favorite paintings took place this way. I started with black and white, simply painting circles around and around... and then I had no idea what to do with that. So I set it aside for a couple years, actually forgetting all about it. When I came across it again, I knew exactly what to do with it... and this is what emerged.

Oftentimes a painting develops from a photograph I have taken, as is the case with my newest painting, which will be listed on Etsy this evening. The photo came about at dusk one evening when I saw a Wood Thrush (also the bird in the above painting) singing in the pear tree. I grabbed my camera, changed the settings, and this is what I got, after altering a bit in PhotoShop:

And from that photograph emerged Solstice Song:

While most of my paintings of late celebrate the good things in life, which is how I have been feeling, sometimes there are paintings of deep yearning, fear, and frustration. I think this is where I was when I painted the black and white circles, and it's definitely where I was when I painted this... Irrational Descent.

Painting allows me to celebrate life in all its stages and emotions. So why do you do art?


  1. great post, rebecca! its interesting to hear what painting means to you and how your work evolves. i also appreciate that you included a piece representing your darker side . . . i can relate to the imagery.
    if i didn't make art, i would struggle with mental illness and insomnia. i make art to stay healthy, work through painful memories and keep a grip on reality. making art means staying present moment and in the NOW it is possible to see the beauty that surrounds us and find and share joy.

  2. I love your paintings! I especially love Summer Solstice and the photograph of the wood thrush.
    Painting is definitely therapy for me. I get cranky and out of sorts if I am kept from my studio too long. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about painting.

  3. How beautiful Rebecca! I can't imagine a life without creating. It keeps you in the moment and transports you at the very same time. And like Kendra, I think it keeps me sane as well.