When I read, my eye moves like a bee who is inspecting one flower while fixing another facet of her compound eye on the next yummy blossom; the email in my inbox entitled "Farming Sale" proved it yet again this morning. "Yippee," I thought, without even questioning why de Serres, an art store, might be so informing me . Already formulating lists of possible farming implements (it's spring and I'm a gardener), I was eventually forced to realize that I should have read "Framing."
Rushing through life is wrong, I know, but overdrive has always been my default setting. I've spent my life trying to slow down - cultivating quiet settings, low lights, early bedtimes, limited outings, and learning to say no - but only glaze oil painting has really done the trick.
Because each layer such as the grisaille or the various colour foundations has to be bone dry before proceeding, I have had to pace myself better. If I do wander out to the garden, the painting will call me back before I've spent a week on my knees, an idiocy which I have committed in the past. This winter, I read copiously but in small doses during drying time and even now have eight or nine books on the go but quietly awaiting their turns. Kakuro, an American number crossword invention with a Japanese name, is another reliable and absorbing alternative. I've been learning patience.
Only three or four of my larger paintings were done in acrylic. This one, long gone in a charity auction for The Art Gallery of Mississauga, was inspired by an extraordinary day of fly-fishing in Newfoundland with Sandra and Bob, Jon's cousins. I took my moose-alert eyes off the highway just long enough to aim my camera at this sunset. I then managed to paint it in acrylic without much difficulty, only because it was fairly simple, I think, and needed little glazing.
While I may still give acrylic paints another go, its lightning-fast drying time works against it in my case. You can finish an entire painting in an afternoon and I have a number of friends who prove this (thinking of you in particular, Lise!). Their abilities make me green with envy but, even if I could, I know that I shouldn't.
Slow painting is:
*good for my blood pressure;
* an enhanced opportunity for me to look at something very carefully multiple times and maybe get it right eventually; and
*a practical necessity for any mildly productive artist living in a small house with limited wall space! I'm even running out of room in the stairwells....