Mirror, Mirror

abstract oil painting on recycled framed canvas
Mirror, Mirror; oil on recycled canvas

 Happy Accidents

In my creative journey I have largely left behind my planning ways. As in, I don’t stare at my sketch book for hours trying to figure out each minute detail of my next painting. Usually, I just pick a few colors and start painting. Everything else that happens is either a happy accident or artist’s intuition.

Mirror, Mirror is the perfect example of this style of painting that I have adopted since finishing school.

I am in general a planner. My day planner is filled to the brim with notes and post-its and scraps of paper to remind myself to do things. So at first I thought I was happy to be planning every detail of my paintings. It wasn’t until I stopped doing it that I realized letting intuition take over is way better. The paintings come out more organically, and I think they mesh better as well.

In Mirror, Mirror I went completely off of what felt right in the moment. Each stroke lead to the next, each idea burst from the one before. As I painted I looked and analyzed what I was painting to determine what had to be added next. It was all one level so I added texture. The right side was very dark so I made the left side lighter. I didn’t want the green figure in the center to be too solid so I made it misshaped and added texture over it. All of these decisions were made in the moment, and I’m very happy with how they turned out.

Painting in  the moment has become my new favorite thing. I’ll start with a bottom layer and leave it for a few days. When I come back to it I look at what I’ve got and add to it. There’s really no extra planning made in between sessions, except sometimes when I walk by a painting in progress and think of something I might add later.

Framed to Perfection

Perhaps the heading is an exaggeration, but I’ve really had a fun time looking for framed artworks at garage and estate sales. They can surprise you in amazing ways. Like the one for Mirror, Mirror – it’s elegant and gold and makes me think of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

I actually bought this framed canvas from the Prairie Arts Council because they had a bunch of really old art that no one wanted to look at anymore. All I had to pay was a nice “donation” for a few framed canvases. It was great.

It doesn’t matter where I get these recycled canvases from, though. If they have a great frame and they’re less than $10, I usually buy it. I once bought a 4″ x 5″ canvas from Good Will for $20. That’s an amazing deal for such a large canvas! It barely fit in my car, but it did. I have yet to paint on that canvas because I’m going to have to cover this hideous early 90s swoosh art splatter that has a lot of texture, but one day I will cover that beauty and it will be so much fun.

I always look forward to painting, but when an old canvas has a particularly fun frame it makes it that much more exciting. How will the frame work with the art? Will they contrast or go together?

In Mirror, Mirror, I’d say there’s more of a contrasting feel. there’s an elegant frame around a relatively dark and misshapen painting. But that’s part of the charm, isn’t it?

P.S. – what are some good cropping tools for ovals? You have no idea how long it took me to erase the edges of the photo for this painting in Paint, and now I think I have carpal tunnel.


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