Rainy Night in NYC

Not too long ago, I spent the weekend in NYC. It was the rainiest weekend ever. This resulted in a lot of indoor activities. Luckily art galleries are generally indoors.

Some steam after all the rain
Some steam after all the rain

We went to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) among other places, hoping to get inspired to paint. If I’m being completely honest (which I am) I’ll admit that I was quite disappointed by the lack of actual paintings there. Maybe I’m just not up to speed with modern art, but the majority of the art work there was just strange.

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On Criticism

Why is it so easy to remember all the criticism we get but so hard to do the same with the praise? I don’t know about you, but I can vividly remember all the negative things I’ve been told, while the praise I receive usually goes in one ear and out the other. It makes me feel good for a fleeting moment then I completely forget about it. But the criticism…that lingers forever! Why is that?

While you think about that, here are the beginning few stages of my newest painting.

Steps 1, 2, and 3
Steps 1, 2, and 3

I can still remember the (luckily very very few) situations from my childhood when someone said something mean to me. Here’s a good one. In the 7th grade, I wore a sports bra and a boy told me I had a uni-boob (I know, what a strange thing to say to someone…). Yup. That one stuck with me. Yet the thousands of nice things people say just somehow vanish from my memory. But the uni-boob comment is with me for life! Why is that?

And continuing with the progression of my painting…

Steps 4, 5, and 6
Steps 4, 5, and 6

Why do we value critical comments so much more than the nice things we are told? Isn’t this why everyone loves and hates Simon Cowel? Although he can be very mean, we consider  his thoughts and opinions to be superior to those of the other judges because he isn’t scared to say what’s on his mind, even if he crushes the souls and dreams of young artists.

And back to the painting tangent… the end is near! 

Steps 7 and 8
Steps 7 and 8

I guess that’s the way I see things too sometimes. I assume that if someone says something critical then it must be true. In reality, more often than not, it’s simply a manifestation of their own insecurities. Yet we still aim to please those who are most critical in our lives.

Go ahead, be critical. Here is my finished painting. 

Autumn Drive - 48x36" - Acrylic on Canvas
Autumn Drive – 48×36″ – Acrylic on Canvas

Why am I writing about this? You probably think that someone said something very critical to me and it got me down. In fact no, quite the opposite. I’ve been getting nothing but praise recently for my artwork (THANK YOU) but found myself completely disregarding all of this praise. I usually nod and smile and forget about it. Instead of using it to fuel my fire, I take the compliments and just completely disregard them. I find myself waiting for that critical person to come by and say something rude so I can prove them wrong. So this post is a reminder to myself, and to anyone reading, to listen to and believe those compliments. And while there’s definitely a place for constructive criticism, just plain old criticism usually comes from a place of hate and shouldn’t be regarded as having any much truth unlike the nice things we are told.

This painting is quite huge. The largest one I’ve done in about 7 years… Here I am standing beside it to give you an idea. 

me

Rant over. Let’s go paint.

Like this painting, Autumn Drive? Want to see more pictures of it? The original painting is available for sale on my website here and on Etsy.

P.S. If you’ve been waiting patiently to see how my online ads have been doing (money wise) come back tomorrow for a review of the month of July. If you think talking about money is tacky, then don’t come by tomorrow 😉 Cheers!

All or Nothing

If you’ve never heard of Leonid Afremov then you need to do yourself a huge favor and google him asap! He is a Russian–Israeli modern impressionistic artist who works mainly with a palette knife and oils. He has a very unique style and it is unmistakable. Oh, and just amazingly beautiful. Seriously. Beyond words. Unlike most artists who have to die before they become famous, he is still alive! Bonus. Needless to say, I am a huge fan of his work and am constantly inspired by it. Here is an example, courtesy of Wikipeida.

Leonid Afremov and his painting of the Venice Canal

If you can’t beat them, join them, right?! Well that was my inspiration for this next painting. I figured he’s doing something right so I might as well learn from it. So I can’t take all the credit for this painting… a huge shout out goes to Mr. Afremov.

I started out with a very rough outline for the background. Basically just getting some colour on the canvas.
Slowly started building up the background, added trees and some more colour overall.
Next I added some lamp posts
Then some light!
Lastly, I added some more trees and a couple under an umbrella.
This painting looks great unframed because of the depth

18×24″ Acrylic on Canvas. Here it is relative to my bed, to give you an idea of the size.
Zoomed in on the couple under an umbrella
Zoomed in on some trees.
Zoomed in on the lamp posts

 

So I think this concludes my “rain” paintings, at least for now.

On a side note, I tend to have two extremes in life: all or nothing. I either love you completely, or you are totally indifferent to me. You get all of my time and attention, or none of it. I’ve noticed this coming out through my art as well. For starters, I went from painting almost never (maybe 2-3 paintings a year) to pretty much pumping out 2-3 a week! I just can’t get enough of it lately. It has been such a tremendous stress reliever and the amazing feedback from everyone has been very motivating as well. I woke up this morning at 5:30am (even though my alarm was set to 7:30am) and pretty much jumped out of bed and painted until 7:30am (which is when I completed the above painting).

I don’t know how long this enthusiasm will last, but for now I’m just going to go with it and paint. Since let’s face it, there are far worse things I could be spending a big chunk of my time doing.

Ironically, this same “all or nothing” approach to life has prevented me from painting in the past. The last couple years I’ve been super busy, taking 6-7 classes per semester (another example of my all-or-nothing approach to life) so even though I often felt like painting, I would always talk myself out of it justifying that a 1 hour break is not enough time to paint, and it’s not even worth starting if I can’t finish it. In retrospect, it probably would have been a great way to take my mind off school work.

So what changed now? With only 4 classes this semester (by default, since that’s all I have left 🙂 ) I found myself with more spare time than I am used to. I considered getting a part time job, but then had a light bulb moment and thought that I’ve always loved painting but never felt I had enough time to fully pursue it. What better time than now? And honestly, I couldn’t be happier with my decision!

I seam to have gone off on a tangent here. What I originally wanted to get to is that life is about balance. I constantly have to remind myself that. So bringing that back to painting, how about only 1 more “rain” painting this year? Sounds good to me!

Anyone else struggle with finding balance?

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