Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Patience vs Persnickety-ness

Recently I complained about my lack of patience when it comes to painting. That comment sparked "incredulous" replies suggesting I must have tons of patience, considering the level of detail in some of my paintings. In particular, this one -

Sitting Pretty, 9x12" ©2014 Dorothy Lorenze

The thing is, although I love the details, it can be hard for me to stop adding them. So that's where patience comes in. I just can't believe I'm not done yet!

With so many details under scrutiny, I tend to get antsy and then I have a hard time staying focused. I'll be working on the wallpaper when I notice a part of the rug that isn't right so I have to fix that before I lose track of it. Then I'll go back to figure out where I left the wallpaper pattern, when suddenly I notice that the perspective needs correction!!! 

So I make tea. 

Why tea? It takes a few minutes to boil, a few more to steep and then I sit at my easel waiting for it to cool enough to sip. Just about the perfect length of time to refocus and reassess.

This became clear in a class with Leah Lopez at New York Academy of Art. I was having trouble deciding what was wrong with my painting. Leah told me to step back, and compare the subject to the painting to see if the area I was struggling with should be lighter or darker. I said, "lighter." Wrong. She gently (but firmly) suggested that I step farther back and give it some distance. When I still couldn't see it, she told me to leave the room! 

So I left. And when I came back it was immediately obvious that the trouble spot needed to be darker! Real distance requires time as well as space.

There is something about walking away and returning that can bring a level of clarity. Being impatient is what gets me to walk away. It's all a part of the process. 

Here is the painting framed in a beautiful plein air from San Diego Framing Company. Putting a frame around an interior scene adds a bit of mystery or intrigue, I think. It's like looking through a window into someone else's story.

Thanks for joining me on my painting journey!

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