Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Teenage Shame

I've posted some of my art without shame. I'm still scrubbing off the rust so the work reflects that. It's a learning process. Even in the summer of 1970 when I attended an honors class in art in summer school I knew the painting of my youngest sister was not good. My mother kept the painting and hung it out for all to see and I cringed every time I passed it. That portrait was not my best work. It still isn't.

The portrait is done in acrylics, a brand new medium to me in 1970, and I had a lot of problems with the paint drying almost before I could apply it to the canvas. Acrylic paint turns to plastic when it dries and, while I appreciated the freedom to bring my sister to school and have her son, I didn't appreciate the lack of instruction I got from the teacher. Lack of instruction as in none at all interspersed with being told to let loose and be free with the paint and the brush. Had it been left to me I would've applied a coat of primer and started over with something else or repainted the portrait with oils or even wrestled with acrylics some more and found some way to compromise with the limitations of the acrylics.

Luckily, acrylics have improved since 1970 and so have my skills in working with them. In the meantime, I'm still learning the pros and cons of colored pencil and brushing up my technique with charcoal and pencil. It's a process and a process that may well take the rest of my life to master. I'm not worried. Erte went from drawing and designing magnificent costumes for the stage in the 1920s and in his 80s turned to ceramics with the same flair and unquenchable thirst for new ways of expressing his art.

My teenage shame,
Beanie at 5 in blue dress to match her eyes.  

It's more of a cartoon than a portrait and I have done better since -- and even before I painted this. I threatened to destroy it when Mom died so she gave it to Beanie to protect it. So much wron
g, but there are glimmers of possibilities never realized. Maybe now I can find some way to rescue the feelings of joy trampled by the realities of my own limitations and the limitations of the medium and learn. After all, life is about living and learning and life is far from over. 

That is all.  Disperse.

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