Calico Art - Carol Vaage

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Letting My Brush Take the Lead

I've been spending the last week going through my collection of art works. Tending to be prolific has its drawbacks as I have hundreds of paintings. I've noticed how tight and tentative my earliest works were, and how closely I used the photo reference to try and replicate what my eyes were seeing. What I noticed was the surface of each photo, what you see when you first look at an image. The trees, the buildings, the lakes, the mountains.

Very few of those early paintings appeal to the artist I've become.

Since January I've been dedicated to using Daniel Smith granulating paints and experimenting, researching what happens when two granulating pigments are mixed together. The effects of those combinations inspired me to break free of my tight/tentative self. Now I'm painting two abstracts with every mixing color I use. Since January I've accumulated 175 paintings, which is quite a tall stack of work.

When I look at these, I feel freedom, movement, and surprise! Starting with a blank page every time, and no guiding photo or image, my brush seems to move on its own. Grabbing juicy paint with my sable brush and letting the brush take the lead.

The emotional feedback I get showed me just how deep my artist-self is. I see sharp lines, diagonals, curves, color contrasts, and I feel emotion. I feel like these paintings speak their own language.

As part of an art group that meets on Monday mornings, I see my paintings are different from all the other works. They are fluid, done quickly. So I wrestle about just how far out of the norm this journey is taking me, and the value of my work.

My sister reminded me this morning, I am doing this art for myself. Yet I've found other artists online who love working with granulation as well. Jane Blondell, Muriel Napoli, Anna Zadarozhanaya, Stephania Boiana, Muriel Buthier Chartrain, Anne Larrson Dahlin, Yesim Meltem Gozukara, and Reine-Marie Pinchon. I've been following their works on Pinterest, and noticing how free and unlimited the possibilities of using granulation.

So somewhere in the world, I belong  - with my quest and journey.

I'll continue to be surprised with what comes in the future, wherever my powerful sable brush leads me. Now when I use a photo reference, I'll look for the underlying emotion and feeling that's hidden, and paint with freedom! Lead on, brush!

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