Lately I’ve questioned myself about how far I want to go with my new impressionistic style. As yesterday’s painting shows, I’ve been going deeper into the woods, letting myself wander around, giving myself a chance to get lost in my art. All of that’s a good thing, I think.
I’ve thought about dreams, I’ve given in to emotion and intuition, and I’ve approached my easel with a newfound freedom. I’ve learned, I’ve grown, and I have improved in many areas of oil painting.
Yet all the while a question has been lurking. How far is too far? Or, as I asked in a previous post, when does a painting cross the line between being loose and impressionistic, and just being a big mess?
As I ventured forth on this new pathway, I figured I’d just keep going until I knew I’d gone too far. I got there yesterday.
Oh, but I started with such good intentions! I grabbed one of those recent failed paintings, a little churchyard scene, and I decided to give it another try. I took out the church, the bell tower, and the gate, and settled for a simple barn-like structure. I’m not sure if it’s really a barn or if it’s just a little cottage, but that doesn’t matter. I just wanted to give myself another opportunity to practice drawing and painting a building.
The building definitely is better than its predecessor, although it’s still nothing to brag about. But, oh, my goodness! Did I ever get carried away with sploshing paint here and there. OK, so maybe sploshing isn’t really a word. It seems to fit.
I have to laugh when I look at this. Yes, it’s a mess. It’s cluttered. It’s busy. It’s decidedly over-worked. Not to mention the garish colors I ended up with.
But you know what…?
I had fun making this mess. Like a kid with a new toy, I couldn’t put the brush down. I knew I was going far beyond the limits, and in a perverse way, that became part of the fun. I did all those things I knew I shouldn’t do. I ignored all voices of reason calling me to come home. For me, it was important to cross that boundary, to deliberately go too far.
Oh, my goodness, how awful this painting is! I can’t stop laughing — at the painting, at myself, at the very idea of my little artistic rebellion. It was fun, it felt good, and I think — I hope, at least — that I now have a better understanding of where the limits are for me.
Sometimes maybe we deliberately need to make bad art. I think there’s actually a lot we can learn from choosing to create something truly awful. Am I on to something here? Or am I just talking crazy?