Sunday, November 12, 2017

Upon Reflection....

Upon Reflection….

With the Italy residency and Florence workshop behind me, here are some more thoughts to the Traveling blog.

Everything about the trip was wonderful, instructive, constructive, enlightening and contributed to learning more about how I work best/worst, and what I’m searching for in art.  While I’ve discovered I don’t do my best work when painting plein air, the experience is important for learning to see nature more accurately.  I can ignore insects, loss of light,  changing weather, losing my painting and easel to the wind, grass, dirt and weeds in the paint, planet rotating, maintaining focus, grumpy land owners for just so long before I’m anxious to return to the studio.  But quick, gestural sketching outdoors, in tandem with a camera, becomes a great tool to train my eye to simplify and capture the essence of a scene. I'll also remember a lesson I learned years ago in nature drawing workshops, but forgot this time.  It's actually great to be back to sketching again! That is to guard my sketchbook from critiques.  A sketchbook is very personal and is more a recounting of a jumble of ideas, notes, quick value studies, even faster gesture studies and doesn't contain finished or even beginning work and shouldn't be part of any critiquing, comments, or comparisons.

Another thing to remember is that traveling in different regions means a convergence of new information, sights, sounds, aromas, all things that can be overwhelming.  It becomes difficult sometimes to take it all in!  I'm pretty good at walking and chewing gum at the same time, but it may not be the best time, for me anyway, to try to travel and paint at the same time. Next time I'll stay in one place and take it all in!

The food in Italy is superb, fresh, organic, local and delizioso!  The trick now will be to duplicate this in the U.S.  I buy organic food as much as possible.  In the grocery stores I seldom go down the aisles unless absolutely necessary.  But the true test for me will be to devote more time to cooking and preparing comparable meals.  Time for simple, visual and easy to follow recipes!

When flying in the future I will always put a copy of my itinerary and a TSA Manual description of the hazards of oil paint on the top of my packed things in my art supplies bag. The itinerary includes where I’ll be, the dates, who I'll be visiting, and what I’ll be doing.  I did this on the way over.  While the bag was still delayed, it wasn’t opened as they could probably read it with their technology.  On the way back I wasn’t concerned about how I packed and forgot these two sheets.  Security delayed and opened the checked supplies bag in the Amsterdam airport both way, but not the other one, and made a mess of everything!  I’ll also remember to carry a small bag of basic painting supplies in my carry-on bag in case the major bag of supplies is delayed again. I might also upgrade my airline seat next time to something more comfortable than economy.  It was seven hours of torture each way, but still a great trip!