Saturday, March 21, 2009

Autumn Clear-out

Digging around in my old paper drawers, first to find those old sketches of my daughter, and then in a vague and unsuccessful attempt to sort through and throw out to make room for the growing piles of newer paintings, I wondered, not for the first time, if my work is actually improving, or getting worse over time! These two bring back a happy period when I was painting only once a week, meeting with a friend and sharing a model. I seemed to immerse myself far more in the process back then, going home exhausted from a morning of concentration and expended creative energies. Donvé and I both worked on really large paper - the one bottom right is 55x75cm/21x30" - and were avid admirers of Charles Reid's figure and portrait study books. My palette was clean and simple and the brushstrokes look much surer than I seem able to apply them lately (although the one on the right is very unfinished-looking). I think I am rushing through paintings now, for various reasons, and I need to find bigger chunks of time to devote to the process, and perhaps another fellow-painter to help create that atmosphere of industry (Donvé moved away to the Cape).
I definitely need to clear some space in my studio, so my 'Autumn Clean' shall continue - so if I'm a bit scarce for a while, that's what's going on, hopefully with a productive outcome at the end of it.



14 comments:

Pat said...

Cathy, I love the new posts, thanks again for keeping your blog going. I was just checking your work out again and wanted to comment on the process you and so many of our art community go through, self examination and the critique. Good luck with your cleaning. I am also cleaning, but mine is spring cleaning.
Pat
patreesedesign.blogspot.com

Art with Liz said...

These paintings are terrific and maybe you're right. Rushing to get a painting done is (I don't think) the reason why we paint. When we enjoy doing something it shows.

Have been a Newlands for the past three days and done NO sketching!! Cricket is too exciting.

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

What delightful fresh clean work Cathy. I agree with you, we often try to create something in a hurry. Sometimes it brings that spontaneity to the work and other times we feel dissatisfied. I also think we are trying to experiment too much with all the wonderful techniques we see other bloggers using, but on returning to our own loves, we get these lovely surprises of good work. But its all growth.

Cathy Gatland said...

Thank you Pat, Liz and Joan - yes, a balance is needed between blogging and painting, and between inspiration from other bloggers, and over-stimulation and distraction from our own work. But you're right Joan, it is all growth - thanks for that! Enjoy Spring there up North! I can't believe autumn is here already.

Liz - I've been checking the crowds at Newlands for a woman scribbling in a sketchbook, but yes, the cricket is too exciting - enjoy the rest of it!

Helen Percy Lystra said...

I like your old work and your new work... the sketches are delightful and part of that is the quickness. But I like the older pieces too. Variety is key for me. I have said often, I'm mainly a watercolor artist;however, I slide off the page often and try a lot of other things... always coming back to watercolor... I think doing that keeps us fresher.

Laureline said...

Cathy, I SO understand your feelings. I went through an intense period of self-examination last April on this very topic. I will try to email you later this week and tell you more about the conclusions I came to. Maybe my experience will help you.
These questioning periods are part of the process and maintaining balance between what is inside you and what you take in from the outside world is key.
These are lovely paintings. Your recent work is, too.
I'm glad you're taking time to recharge.

prairieknitter01 said...

I am not a painter, but I love your paintings! For me, I really like the work you always label as "unfinished"! Maybe it's just a look that appeals to me.

Gillian said...

Great to see these; glad you dug them out. I thought the redhead was DMG at first... Ja - it is interesting to go back and rediscover old work. For me - the memory of where I was at mentally, emotionally, physically seems to snap back into focus. (Not that I have much 'old work' to peruse!)
Anyway, I find everyone's comments above very interesting...

Cathy Gatland said...

Aren't they so interesting, G! I'm always amazed and gratified at the way blogging friends respond and offer such personal experience and support.
That snapping back in time is great for someone with a memory like mine!

- Helen, I love the variety and experimentation in your work, and the way you accept that as part of your creative persona.

-Laura, its very encouraging to know that you've 'been there' too - one tends to forget that it is all part of the process, and will pass - I hope!

-Andrea, I suspect I really like unfinished too in my own work, though I feel a 'real' artist should produce more polished looking results!

africantapestry said...

These are really lovely Cathy! I can understand where you are..I'm still in that phase, but the good thing is, that I think I'm in a "rapid growing" phase. Much lke teenagers growth...standing still for a long time and the suddenly just grow out of their socks. Maybe some new grounds to break in are awaiting you. And it's good that you're not painting the same way as years ago, your new work is different and as beautiful and that's good too. Hang in there, it will all sort itself out very soon.
ronell

Teresa said...

Wow! These are awesome!

I love these, but I also love your new style. These seem to be much more color saturated than your present paintings? Your current style is a little softer?

Gillian said...

I find myself drawn to the w/c of girl + vase of flowers. Reminds me of Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World - in the mood of picture. Is she contemplating a problem in her life?
The little statue - looking like a gremlin - right in front of her!

Teresa said...

Awfully quiet your way... you must be doing one heck of a clean-out job in your studio!

Cathy Gatland said...

Er... or not...<:-o life in general just got busy and a home clean-out hasn't reached the studio yet! But an itch to paint has begun - think I'll be back in the saddle again soon - hang on!