Sunday, March 18, 2007

Freedom of Expression

I had just completed my latest of five portrait commissions last week, feeling relief from the stress of months of painting with the hope of my clients' happiness. It is amazing how the final analysis that there is no more you can do to make the painting better, that it is now time to sign the painting and call it complete, and that all your current deadlines have been met lift a major weight from your shoulders. One would expect that a day or two away from the studio would be welcome, but instead, a couple of lemons on my kitchen counter, brought home by my husband for lemonade, provided the inspiration for a small still life painting. I have been itching to paint some still life paintings for quite some time and I immediately grabbed the two lemons, an orange from the refrigerator, and two over-sized marbles I purchased for just such a purpose. I knew the blue marbles would be a perfect complementary color foil for the orange. I returned to my studio, set up the tablecloth, the subjects and the lighting and painted for hours. I had to make myself stop painting to make dinner, although I'd have kept on painting if not for a hungry husband. (I'm the cook, he's the dishwasher - that's the deal!) Next day I was back at it, just as eager as I had been the day before!
One can love the process of painting regardless of subject, and one can prefer certain subjects to others. But the process of painting to please no one but yourself, to produce an effect you envisioned with no other opinion or outside influence, with no approval necessary save your own, allows for a freedom of expression without equal. It felt great after so many recent commissions, especially knowing there are currently four plus one pending ahead of me.
I have titled this still life painting The Odd Couple, referring to the marbles. I hope you like it as much as I do! And if you don't that is perfectly okay, too!