As mentioned below, this past week I embarked on an experiment in painting. In an attempt to challenge myself and stay busy, I gave myself the task of painting for at least 30 minutes every day for the whole week, and am glad to say that I was 95% successful in this endeavor (I think Friday was the only day I didn’t paint). I really really enjoyed painting this week, and am glad to say that I’ll probably keep doing it as time goes on. I didn’t watch any TV this week, and often found myself painting until it was way too late for me to be awake.
Kind of a tangent, but–it’s easy, when you live in a place like this, to just sit down and watch Netflix until your eyes start to get salty and your brain starts to think (or maybe wish) that time travel IS real. The last time I lived alone and in a town where there wasn’t much to do I ploughed through an embarrassing amount of television, including all of Buffy and Angel, all of Seinfeld, BSG, Dawson’s Creek, Spaced, Noah Baumbach’s entire shitty catalogue, and tons of others that I’m forgetting. This was not a wonderful time of my life (chicken and egg situation–was it because I was watching so much TV, or was I watching so much TV because of the shittiness?), and I’m determined to not let myself fall into that trap again. Yes, I am older, happier, and in general more put together than I was then, so I’m not too worried about getting sucked into the Netflix void, but it is soooo tempting and easy.
My point being that sitting at home and watching TV all evening long usually makes me feel shitty about myself. But sitting at home and painting all evening had the complete opposite effect on me–I never once this week felt that I had made a mistake by not making plans to go out after work. Even on the days that I did go out, when I got home I’d still sit down for a little while and paint until I forced myself to go to sleep. Needless to say, I’m really satisfied with this first experiment, and I think it bodes well for my plans to do similar projects in the coming weeks and months. Here’s a rundown of what I worked on:
The first day I spent all day trying to figure out what I might want to paint when I got home. As I was walking home and decided to make mac and cheese for dinner, I also decided I wanted to paint some mac and cheese. Like I mentioned in my previous post, I imagined what my mac and cheese painting should look like in my head and was not quite able to accomplish what I wanted, but this isn’t all that bad. Some of you may recognize the thick outline and unnatural color highlights as inspired by Wayne Thiebaud–he is hands down one of my favorite painters, and I thought a fun place to start for inspiration since he paints pictures of food and food is my favorite. Of course it’s impossible to get the same feel out of gouache that Thiebaud gets out of oils, but I don’t think this is half bad for my first night of painting.
On day two I decided to try another portrait (similar to the one I did of myself) and decided upon the goofy face of my friend, Steve Rogers (which, if you’re awesome will give you a hint to why it’s titled O Captain!). Anyways, Steve has great hair, and that’s really the only part of this painting/drawing that I am truly satisfied with. I originally wasn’t even going to include it in this post because I think it’s kind of awful, but where’s the truth in not including something because you don’t like it?! Also, Steve put it as his facebook profile picture so it’s already out in the world, and the truth is, I think it captures his essence quite nicely.
On day three I came home with a knot in my stomach because the facilities guys at work put 3 mouse traps in my office to catch the rodent that’s been leaving little poop presents all over the place. It just hurt my heart that they would use the killer kind of mouse trap and was sad to think that one day I’ll walk into my office and there will be a little guy smashed to death in there. So when I got home I painted this mouse. It is by far the best painting I did this week. I love it to death and will probably frame it and keep it forever.
I was so pleased with my mouse painting that I actually did another that night–this one is of my spirit animal, the komodo dragon. I’m not really sure why I decided that my spirit animal is a komodo dragon, but sometimes I think it fits and sometimes I think it doesn’t. Either way, I was less satisfied with this guy than I was with the mouse, but after sitting with it for a while I think it’s pretty good.
After having a discussion with Steve about our spirit animals he decided that a black bear suited me better than a komodo dragon. I don’t know if I totally agree, but after returning from my weekly Thursday trek to West 6th for Firkin Thursday, it was late, I had had some beers, and I didn’t have any inspiration. I find that drawing animals comes really easily, so I decided to do this bear. I’m not sure why I decided to make it look like a bear skin rug, but I like to think it’s just a really happy bear sliding down the side of a hill into the water or something less sinister than being skinned and used as decoration.
As I mentioned before, Friday was the one day that I didn’t manage to sit down and paint, but it’s the first thing I did when I woke up on Saturday morning. Of course, what Jessica project would be complete without something that has to do with my dog? so I decided to paint a portrait of him. It’s based off of a photo I have of him because he doesn’t sit in one place long enough to model for a painting. I don’t think it’s the best portrait of Cooper, but I think it captures his essence alright. I’m really pleased with the couch, however.
I’m definitely going to keep painting and will likely keep posting some of the things I’ve done. I think painting animals is where I’m strongest, so that’s probably where I’ll go from here. But who knows, anything can happen now that I’ve opened up this new interest in my life. I mentioned that I was painting to my coworker who is the painting professor here and he offered me some studio space in his classroom, which I probably won’t use, but it was super nice of him to offer. Maybe he’ll let me sit in on a few of his classes sometime soon. That would be awesome. Painting for the win!