by Lisa LarrabeeIf you follow my progress, you will know that I love to experiment. My exploration influences the classes I offer. In the last six months, I have taught classes on expressive drawing, experimental color and portrait essentials. During that time I focused on a variety of mediums outside of my traditional oil paint. I did not consciously consider how my exploration would effect my painting; I just absorbed the information. The painting below had been set aside for several months. I wasn't sure how to finish what I had started. When I recently returned to this painting, I had new solutions to try.
I loved the vibrancy and heat of the red-orange against the gray, but I was afraid I would lose the energy if I followed my traditional process because the color palette was out of my comfort zone. Setting this painting aside was essential. During my break from the painting, I was able to further explore atypical color combinations in colored pencils and pastels. I also dug deeper into the anatomy and structure of portraits and facial features for my classes. Applying this knowledge allowed me to finish my painting in the way that I envisioned. I would never have thought to paint her highlights using Veridian green, but here we are!
Too often we feel that we must stick with a problem and see it through to the end without ceasing. Putting the problem aside can feel like failure. That is perception not reality. I cannot tell you how often I have discovered a solution to one problem when I have given it space and focused on something else. Not all solutions require conscious analysis. Our brains are complex and capable of considering more than we realize. Working on multiple pieces (studies and exploration included) provide opportunities to be creative and productive without forcing a solution. With deadlines, it is not always an option. That said, I think it's important to remove any judgement we place on ourselves by giving a problem time and space to be resolved. Often time is the missing part needed for the solution.