I Do More Than Just Paint...


Red Hot 2009 Oil, Graphite on Canvas    36 x 36 inches         

I do more than paint.  I am brave.  I try.  Yeah, I know everyone tries; everyone has issues; but I am different - I am - trust me.  Painting for me means more than just creating a painting to display or sell.  It is more than trying to become an “established” artist.  Painting has been one of my main vehicles of survival.  Oh, this sounds so melodramatic or phony or affected.  I am serious though.  I have been struggling to deal with my childhood trauma for years. Painting has been a way for me to express myself, to acknowledge to myself what really happened.  Sometimes my paintings have been my “evidence” telling me to trust myself, trust my memories, trust my feelings. 

This is  a painting I totally love that I did a couple days ago.  It is a victory for me on so many levels.  As I continue to blog, maybe it will become more clear what I mean.  Having done a whole series of abstract water lily paintings in the last year or so, I often use those shapes when I start a new painting - just making some sort of quick sketch, to have something to build upon. The actual painting I do is usually quick. Here I started with a thin wash of left over oil paint, making a quick sketch on a 36 x36 inch canvas.   At that point the canvas didn’t look like much except a wild and loose articulation of muted greens.  Ahh - but when I got the canvas out the other day, I was in a real “what the hell” kind of mood.  I squeezed out a bunch of different reds - very uncharacteristic for me lately: greens and yellows with all their infinite variations are what I often prefer.  Wow, some of red was transparent, some was opaque, some orangish and some purplish.  I’m not even sure which one I started with, i think an earthy red.  There is also some metallic pewter and silver color, applied with a knife.  At the end I added a bit of black with an oil stick. Once I finished, I felt almost in shock but in a good way.  Shock, then victory.  This is one I don’t think want to sell.


Kitty 2009 oil on canvas 36 x 48

Sometimes one painting leads to the next.  It may be easy to explain the connection, or it may be impossible.  This is the painting I completed just before I started Torrent, the red one above.  Wow - at first they seem like such opposites.  They are color-wise.  There is a lot of unrest in this one though.  It may have peaceful colors, but there is a lot going on.  I call it kitty, because when I first looked at it, I saw the face of a cat.  I love it when this happens.  

I love painting, trying not to think about creating something but just doing it.  Feeling it as I do it: putting on a color, moving, responding to that color.  It is just so good - when I can get there.

A lot of times, too much thinking gets in the way:  You don’t know what you are going to paint.  It won’t be any good.  The last one was a fluke.  This is ugly, no good, whatever.  Getting past all that is the key.  When I’m able, I always value the results.

originally published: August 15, 2009

© Trixie Pitts 2009