Time for Getting the Studio Organized

The fall season is a favorite time for many people.  I like fall because of the brisk and crisp air.  The solar equinox produces a nice even light in the northern hemisphere.  We break out our sweaters.  All of this reminds me a bit of academia.  These sensory queues make me remember this as a time when school is back in session.  We all know about spring cleaning.  There seems to be something about clearing clutter in the fall.  If spring is the season for cleaning, then fall must be the time for getting the studio organized. 

What was I Thinking?

I am busy these days here at the studio.  There are a lot of work and sketches laying around that have accumulated over the years.  Time to sort through it and catalogue a few things.  It hard not to spend a little extra time reminiscing over several of the canvases that I will likely remove from their stretchers.  Like looking at old photographs, I can look back some of them and remember where I was and what I was doing that entire day.  Sometimes, I look and see the progress that has been made in my work.  I will often admonish myself and wonder what I was thinking at the time.

Terrible painting of hills in Aliso Canyon, California by Curtis Green
First attempt of painting some hills in Aliso Canyon, California circa 2011 by Curtis Green. I remember being very upset and even angry at my lack of skill!

A Little Reminiscing

A conversation comes up quite often around here about hanging on to things too long.  Does the accumulation of detritus and do-dads suffocate our growth, or does it support it?  A philosophical reflection perhaps.  I tend to believe that there is a time to jettison some of what I accumulate for the sake of moving on into another phase of my journey. 

A tonal oil painting study of a scene in Carbon Canyon
A tonal oil painting study of a scene in Carbon Canyon near Brea, CA. I was likely using a limited palette of black, white and ochre as suggested by some reading I was doing. This is probably my first attempt at doing this.

The Giants may be Laughing

There is a wonderful thought that is familiar to many of us. It suggests that our accomplishments are from standing on the shoulders of the giants that came before us.  I look at the big pile of canvases, boards, sketches, and studies.  If not discards, then what are they?  They seem to be the work that was necessary to get me to the point I am now.  If not for these honest efforts and bumbling manifestations, I would be at the beginning of what I want to accomplish, and not somewhere along the way towards realizing something.

Plein air Study
Believe it or not, this muddy mess is a view of Eaton Canyon near Pasadena, CA. The ability to distill the scene into some essential features was not yet realized! The principle of atmospheric perspective was not yet comprehended either!

Will I Graduate?

This pile represents the courage it took for me to begin the journey into doing the painting I want to do.  It is like looking through an old family album, perhaps.  Each one has its share of happy reflection mixed with a bit of cringe worthy embarrassment.  I can attentively re-examine each one and have my moment with it and then move on to the next one.  Sometimes, I can sit with a cup of coffee and just look at the giant pile of so much visual journaling. There are successes and failures. Then, there is the seemingly foolish pursuit of painting in the first place. 

A sketch of a trail in Malibu, CA
My first attempts were filled with delicate sensitivity in handling. I had not realized yet that the expression comes from painting not by coaxing! Although, I do kind of like this one. A trail in Malibu, CA.

But they represent me also.  I did all of these.  The question comes again, at this moment in my artistic life, will they suffocate my growth by hanging on to them or support it by letting them go?  I look at them one more time and I sense something.  They are like a beloved teacher and the time has come for the student to depart.


Note: This was fun, I may put together a special online “gallery” of my own “Salon de Refuse’s” to display my embarrassing first attempts. Why not? Hopefully it would be and lighthearted and encouraging .

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