Find Your Hiking Buddies For Your Creative Work

Right before going to bed I looked at two canvases I began a few days ago and was like: “And how do I do this?” My eyes automatically create characters while connecting lines and colors in places which for some might look like a bunch of color splashes and random lines. The hardest work for me is to highlight one thing while sacrificing another I see on a canvas I paint.

These last few canvases I am working on are unbelievably light in the amount of paint I use. Acrylics are watered down. They give almost water color like feel. There is this funny thought about these paintings being done. They came out of me quickly with the least amount of effort. Could this indicate that my painting skills are getting better, because my hand somehow already knows how to follow a line I put on a canvas? This thought puts me in a peculiar state where my mind comes in and starts doing this: “Oh no, I need to do a bit more work on this canvas, because, you know, I just have to, because, you know, this just came out too easily…” and shit like that. I experience something that comes to me with ease, but then my mind starts questioning if that what just came out is enough and if I am getting the full impact I am looking for in a painting.

(At the moment of writing this) I am much clearer with my work on smaller canvases. Large paintings put me into a different state. I get a feeling of not wanting to put anything “heavy” on those large canvases keeping paintings washed out as if they were left in the rain or something like that. Maybe that is because I move much more when I work on large paintings? Large canvases like broader movement, especially at the beginning stages, while small canvases, after some broad-work, go into the detailing stage much faster. Smaller canvases are (usually) about a character and their story. I zoom on them almost as if with a magnifying glass enhancing some characteristics unique to them. It is essentially a portraiture but a weird one. Of course, nothing is stopping me from applying the same principle on large canvases, but larger amount of space asks me to look into body movement almost as if needing to stop that movement zooming in on it. While body is still moving I freeze it on a canvas so I could reveal the mysterious characters that hide behind those movements.

What does it mean: find your hiking buddies for your creative work?

The paintings or, I should say, the drawings that made the biggest impact on me were created with a few strokes of black ink on large pieces of paper by Andrius Brazys. I am pretty sure he developed this skill over time even though he was barely twenty when he created them. There is, most likely, a pile of discarded tryouts somewhere which didn’t make the exhibition I saw. I could not peel myself off of these lines. They made me cry, literally. They were somehow telling me my story even though they were created by Andrius. The emotional impact I had while looking at these beautiful lines, of course, raise questions about my own lines and their affect on others.

While looking at my tools and materials, it is amazing for me to see that I am using only one particular brush and a paint knife. I dilute the paint with lots of water which drips onto the ground where I collect it with paper towels. Then I use those saturated with water and paint paper towels. I smudge, stroke and fill in some spots which might need more consistent layer of diluted paint. I like the simplicity of my tools. Just give me one brush, one paint knife, a lot of paper towels (to collect the dripping paint and water) and yes, two colors, one of which has to be white.

I catch myself on a certain feeling being close to something I am about to find with my large canvases. This sense is similar to the feeling I had when The Blue Boy Richard With His Pink Tailed Pet Fish came to life. It was about the direction the painting demanded me to take. The series of Character Portraits was started because of The Blue Boy Richard.

What I see developing on my large canvases is this lightness of brush stroke and stopped movement. I halt emotions on faces of characters on small canvases. I freeze parts of movement on large ones. This is where I am now. Of course, I look for that “oh I don’t care” feeling when I work on any painting or, actually, on anything. “Oh I don’t care” feel removes overthinking, which can become a burden preventing from moving forward. When I say: “oh I don’t care” I mean that the creative approach is light. You are in it because you must be. There is no right or wrong way of doing it. It just is and it is beautiful. But, of course, you do care, because that is why you are doing it. You are doing it because it is in you and it has to become alive and not because of some kind of responsibility or wish for being liked or something like that. We will not escape these feelings/wishes either, but they could be forgotten in the process of creation. After you are done, I believe, it is perfectly fine to want others to like what you like too. It’s almost as if you are taking your friends hiking. You all go to do that because you all like hiking in the nature, swimming in the fresh water, and spending time together. I believe something similar happens when you introduce your audiences to your creative work. You are taking them to places. You reveal through your work what you like. Of course, there are going to be people who are not fond of your work pretty much the same way some people prefer not to go anywhere near anything nature. When you set your mind like that, which, by the way, helps me tremendously now, you understand that your work might not be somebody’s cup of tea. And that’s perfectly fine. They are not your hiking buddies.

Today was the day Kirill got hit by a car…

Originally written in journal on 02-23-18

Trapped In Cadmium Orange Love – The Fairy Tale

There was a town of True Love hidden in a faraway place. It was not on any map, but if you found your true love, you gained awareness about the town instantly. Some people used the knowledge and went to live in this town, but some still questioned the true love they encountered making their path to the town disappear like a fog on a sunny summer’s day.

People who stayed in the town were conscious that they found the true love and that there was no need for them to go anywhere to look for it anymore. Some people, even though already in the town, still were not sure about their feelings. They would leave the town looking for the true love, they thought they didn’t have yet, losing their way back.

The story is not about the town each of us could find if we were to find our true love. The story is about a boy who was born to one of the families there. Even though the Boy was surrounded by love, he was missing one important part of his being. That part was where the true love resided. The Boy could physically feel things, hear the sounds and taste the wonderful food his parents made. He was not devoid of these senses, no. What he was missing was the feeling which recognized love, that specific love called the true love.

The Boy was not aware that he was missing it until one day he saw his best friends fall in love, into the true love. He was quite confused by all that he observed.

You see, children of the families in the town could live in it until a certain age. They had the unconditional love from their parents and that was enough. But as soon as a young person would hit a certain age, the test-request for the true love would kick in. This test was not really a test. It was more of a calling each child received at the age when the true love was possible. Taking this test usually meant one of the two things, staying in or leaving the town.

A young person was allowed to stay in the town if the true love was there, but they would be asked to leave if their true love was somewhere else to be found. They were to forget the path back to the town until the true love comes into their lives.

The Boy of this story was approaching the age when the butterflies beat their wings in your stomach every time you see somebody you like. This feeling would indicate the beginning of the test. But the test was not kicking in for the Boy. There was no calling of any kind. His body felt as if the butterflies were still caterpillars sleeping in their cocoons. The Boy had no interest in anybody in the town and was still by himself which raised questions for town people. He knew that there was something different about him, but he could not figure out what exactly. The Boy buried himself under piles of books looking for answers. This led him to experimentation. He was testing that part of his existence where the true love, he thought, should reside.

These experiments were innocent at first. They were as if somebody, who was to become a doctor, was learning which organ in a living organism was doing what. All but one thing in a human body made sense to the Boy. He was not able to place which organ was responsible for the true love.

The Boy studied living beings, but quickly eliminated smaller ones which existed according to their natural instincts. Pretty soon he went to study primates and animals which seemed to stick around with the same partner for the rest of their lives. Still, that was not enough for him. He was able to answer about partnership between the animals, but humans were a mystery to him. When it came to placing where this feeling of true love came from, it was all blurry and undefined.

The Boy’s frustration grew. He heard about the Sage who lived in the crater of a sleeping Volcano. He decided to find the Sage and ask him about the true love.

The Boy’s parents were afraid that after their son leaves, it was very possible that he would lose his way back to the town. It has happened to many others who went to look for the true love and never returned. The Boy was aware that this could happen to him too, but his drive to find the answer was much bigger than anything else. One day he left the town for the Sage.

His journey was quite difficult and maybe one day I will tell you all about it. But while he was taking this journey, he had no idea how every meeting and every place on his path was revealing something to him. After a long way of travels he reached the top of the Volcano. The Volcano was as deep inside as it was tall from the outside. As soon as he reached the top, the Boy went down into the depths of it which were as dark as the darkest night can be.

We all know that the night is dark because of shadows. They become thick and cover everything around. The Boy met his first shade with the first step he made down the pit. Shadows can become big nuisances and distractions when you are not able to see your goal at the end of the road you are taking. They will try to distract you into a path that is filled with their gloom. If you are not careful, you will be obscured and become one of them. The truth to be told, these types of shadows can make you believe, that you are one of them, that there is no point in seeing through them. You get used to their numbness.

In between these shadows the Boy encountered a lot of people who were distracted from their goals. Pretty soon he realized that the mountain was filled with the ones who got diverted from their true love. They were offered something better, or at least that was what they thought happened, so they stayed there. Little they knew, this was a trap. As soon as they got disgraced by these promises, they became less and less defined turning into the mass the Volcano was filled with.

The Boy’s lack of the sense that recognized the true love helped him. He was immune to the promises shadows were giving him. He could easily see through all of them as if he had the night vision. The Boy could clearly define what made one or another shadow stay in the depths of the Volcano. These desires inside glued each shadow into the murky mass the Volcano was stuffed with. It was painful for the Boy, but he had to cut through them exposing obsessions. As soon as he shone the light onto their thirst, that particular shadow, which was affected by it, would disappear clearing the path for the Boy to the depths of the Volcano.

Many days, weeks, months, years have passed. The Boy was still there fighting his shadows on the way down. One day, after meeting a particularly confusing gloom, which was much stronger and thicker, he saw a glimpse of light. It was as small as a firebug’s shine. It lasted only for a split second. The Boy thought that he imagined the spark and that his eyes were deceiving him, but after a closer examination of the shadow, which was blocking the view, he could clearly see the spark flickering in the distance.

– I almost believed this shadow that I found what I was looking for, – the Boy thought.

As soon as he grasped that idea, an open path to the place where he clearly saw the light falling off of the fire pit appeared. At the end of the path there was somebody or something sitting next to the fire.

– I was expecting you, – the Sage told the Boy as soon as the Boy reached the place. – There is nothing I can tell you about the question you have in you, but I have to warn you, that as soon as you find the answer, the Volcano will erupt killing all where you came from. It is all up to you now.

The Boy felt a tremendous pain after the Sage told him all this, but still asked:

– What do I need to do to be able to find the answer to my question?

The Sage looked at the Boy with his all-seeing eyes and told him:

– You will need to lock me inside yourself and burn with me in this fire.

– How do I do that? – the Boy asked.

– That I cannot tell you, but we can share this fire while you are figuring this out.

The Sage and the Boy sat next to the fire pit talking about all that the Boy has experienced on the way to the Volcano. Has the Boy figured out how to lock the Sage inside him? That I don’t know yet. What I know is this. The town where the Boy came from disappeared. The Cadmium Orange Desert stood where True Love was before.

The Blue Boy Richard With His Pink Tailed Pet Fish – The Fairy Tale

Once lived a boy who had a Pink Tailed Fish as his pet. He didn’t remember how the Fish ended up with him. The Boy held it in a fish tank. He kept his home dark at all times, so the Fish would feel comfortable being with him. The Boy walked the Fish outside during rainy days and nights. There was never a sign of any one on the streets. He wondered if he was the only boy on this Earth.

The Fish grew larger and larger every day. Pretty soon it outgrew its fish tank and had to be moved into the bathtub. The Boy ran the shower on the Fish at all times.

A big storm passed by one night. It shook the house to the core making all fall smashing onto the ground. With the first rays of the morning sun the storm flew off into the distance.

The Blue Boy Richard went to the bathroom to check on his pet. There was no bathtub in the room. The Fish was also nowhere to be found. A huge hole gapped on the side of the wall where the shower once stood. The sun shone brightly through the ruins. The Blue Boy Richard stepped outside and found all these people, he thought didn’t exist, enjoying themselves on the streets.

Colors and Their Behavior – Recognizing Their Character Using Brain’s Taste Buds

I started a new series of paintings a month ago, but was not able to keep my focus on it. I had a break through yesterday after I reorganized my work area using my work table as the division. On one side of the table, I write and work on my computer on another side of it I have my easel with paints and brushes. It felt as if the two creative areas mimicked the two sides of my brain.

After feeling yucky for a few days because of my sore throat and the heat, a break from it was necessary. I had to paint. The flow of energy was unlocked. The canvas I worked on still needs attention, but essentially the character(s) are already there. The Hooker’s Green Hue is proving to be a very giving color once again. I am glad I have covered that mess I have started the painting with.

For some reason I decided to work with these three colors on this canvas. They weirdly clashed for me.

The violet and the yellow I used still peek through though, but just enough to make the main character(s) pop. I write “character(s),” because the main subject/object on the canvas is constructed of three “facial” states, of one or several versions of the same or several characters. These characters are work of my brain. A part of my creative process is to find where these characters come from and tell their story(ies) not only with my brushes and paints, but also with words.

Just passed by the painting on my easel and, again, I had this feeling that I might be overthinking some parts on it. Sure, it is already good enough, but that is where I am being tricked. “What if I am already done with it?” – I’ve heard this before, ha! Continuing working is crucial. As long as I have this “what if,” I am not done. I should know this by now.

What I see happening is simple. I am leaning towards colors which work for me at this precise moment. I don’t know how I should explain this, but at the moment this green is just right and inspiring me for my next painting in the series. The colors initially used on the canvas were just stuck on it. They were confusing me until I “calmed” them down with white. The previous (confusing) step was needed though. These “weirdly clashing” colors are still there, peeking through a layer of paint, giving the Hooker’s Green Hue a needed boost and richness.

Even though there is still quite a bit of work to do on this canvas, but it is already alive with new inspirations.

There is something else I can’t put my finger on when it comes to using certain colors. Let me see if I can figure this out for myself. The liking/disliking some colors is a part of a learning process about effects colors bring when “muted” in the background of dominating ones. If you are looking for a color quality you can’t see right away while working with it, you could “force this quality out,” in a way, by adding a “clashing” or a “complimentary” color. To explain this process, I am going to use our behavior. You, as a person, can’t truly know how you will behave in one or another situation until you actually encounter that situation. This situation is that “color” you need to reveal your true colors, your true character.

When we see something in the dark, we see it because that dark area is picking up light. That light “becomes” something because of the colors which are reflected there. I could go into physics and talk about why we see one or another color, but this is not the topic I am exploring right now. My purpose at the moment is to look at color effects from “what if” angle, and possibly find a bit of a “fictitious explanation” of why we have certain feelings towards certain colors. “Fictitious explanations” give me more food for imagination. It allows me to delve deeper into inspirational resources when I need to trigger my creative bone.

When you use a pure color, meaning, you paint with one color on white background, the surface you paint on gives you just that, the color with its initial characteristics of the pigment. But when the background becomes just slightly affected by another color which, you might think is not a big deal, it changes the color on top or next to it. Our eyes are able to mix these colors together making a unique experience for our brain. This new experience triggers something in us because it is not recognizable by the brain right away. When presented with “unusual” combination, our brain registers some kind of information which brings a certain feeling or sense previously not fully known to us. These might be triggers of two opposite sides of the same thing. When you play with combinations of colors that are recognizable to your brain, inadvertently you are playing with certain presets we, as humans, have in our brains because of our experiences. When you mix up these “presets,” you might produce unexpected results. New taste buds involving colors might be created in the brain, thus new reactions to certain color combinations might appear.

I wonder and I would love to research why certain people react to certain paintings a certain way, with excitement and awe, while others find the combinations of the same colors in the same paintings that speak to the others just blah. They don’t get engaged with any of it and feel nothing at all. I believe this Hooker’s Green Hue is triggering some kind of set of information connected to a certain preset in my brain which yields a need for certain colors to accompany it. It is almost as if my brain’s taste buds for color are controlling my decisions. The brain reacts to a certain set of colors as if saying: “oh, this combination I absolutely love. I can spend hours and hours looking/analyzing it.” At the same time some combinations of colors make my brain irrelevant, passive and non-reactive. It feels as if I perceive these colors as of a lesser interest to me.

What I find interesting to observe is that each generation reacts to specific sets of colors. Some generations remove certain colors as if saying: “oh, we enjoy these pastels at the moment, so anything which is not milky or pinkish brown (which is an interesting combination for me to explore, now that I said it) we find tasteless.” Funny how Tolstoy comes to my mind (again) with one of his descriptions of a dress which describes a girl who is not fashionable. She was wearing a pink dress with a green belt. Scandalous! and “oh, a poor girl!” This combination of colors was a no-no at balls. If you wore these two at that time, there was something wrong with you. When you look at examples like that, it becomes quite clear that different eras could be described by the use of certain colors, the colors, people at that time reacted to and considered them fashionable.

The art world dictates these trends. The pink and the green is a fashionable dandy today. It might change in an hour or so because of the speed of information we receive, but then, with the same speed, this combination will come back and nobody will ever know that there was a time when you didn’t wear pink with green. No wonder my brain has certain reactions to certain combinations of colors. I am subconsciously affected by the surrounding me today’s world. A combination of colors which clashes in my mind at the present might become the future trend. Recognizing this is a skill. Is it possible to train our brain’s taste buds for the future? The artists who survived the times prove it to be true, but did they know about that then? Just looking, for example, at what is happening with Van Gogh today one must wonder and could start believing him to be a very rich man because of all this exposure he is getting now… But that’s a topic for another entry.

“The Kiss Goodbye” + “The Blue Boy Richard” – cut an ear and scan it with the fish

Yesterday I read an article about how they are incorporating x-ray scan system to reveal what is underneath of old paintings. Essentially, with these types of “reveals,” art sellers are looking for stories, which would make already an expensive painting by a dead artist even more expensive, because, you know, this painting is actually two paintings in one, so I am going to charge you twice. Of course, these mystery reveal stories are exciting and I am the first one on line to read them, but for some reason I have this nagging feeling that somebody is exploiting all these stories just to get their pockets stuffed, even though artists, whose works are being sold, died penniless.

I won’t lie, a part of the reason why I am running this blog is to become this “scanner” for you. I’d rather reveal these stories myself than am caught with my pans around my ankles, buried six feet under. I don’t mind to be found in a compromising position, but, come on, I am dead there, so where is the fun for me, huh?

This idea is not new, but it is always exciting. I might get myself into this overthinking mode, but I will just shut up and continue what I have already began with my paintings from the very first blob of an oily color I put on an empty surface at G.’s place, who said, that I must paint after finding me covered in paint early in the morning, still without a minute of rest from the world which was opening up in front of me with every brush stroke I made while all was still and sleepy.

The Kiss Goodbye already has that effortless feel, but this starring at me character at the center of the canvas wants to come out to the front and be more visible.

My “Orange Kiss Goodbye” (The Kiss Goodbye) is not done yet. I want to check how the canvas could look if I completely cover the whole “mysterious character’s face” in a different color, giving it a certain, almost graffiti like, feel. I am still hesitating, but I shouldn’t be, because well, it is my work and I deal with it the way I need to. The dilemma I am having is that I already like the painting even though I am bothered by this feeling that something is still missing like, for example, this mysterious character I am trying to highlight, making it more permanent on the surface. The character is most likely happening. I just need to spend a bit of time away from the painting to be able to see how it should be done.

The story of The Blue Boy Richard with His Pink Tailed Pet Fish is still in the works, though the character on the canvas is a portrait of somebody I was in love with some time ago.

The droopy eyes and the cracked lips, oh and the pink beret in front of the Pink Tailed Pet Fish.

What I remember clearly about him are his lips, a lot of times cracked from the cold or dehydration. He lived with me, but he also dated somebody else, which, it seemed, made his lips crack even more. For the reveal of the full story you will need to wait a bit, you know, maybe a century or two, because I might be refused the privileges of “still un-dead artist” and might find some dead fish in my bed as the sign of… well, You Are a Dead Fish now, if I reveal the story before its time, meaning, the people in the tale are still alive and strong enough to beat me up somewhere in a dark alley. You say: “cracked lips? I’ll give you some cracked lips, just watch,” ha.

Oh the mess of falling in love and making all kinds of chaotic decisions because of it. I made quite a few, but hey, they are like this cut ear of the artist you all, I am sure, know. Oh the dramatics of late night calls from lovers, which only proved, we all walked the fish in the rain as some kind of dog on a leash.

My love interest lived with me until the fish began to stink. One day he was not there, the fish was also nowhere to be found. It all got stolen by the alley cat, it seemed. Where he is now, I do not know, but I hope he is okay. The Boy is a type of person who always has this sadness about himself like his pink tailed pet fish he walks from place to place.

Originally written on 02-18-18, edited on 12-02-19

“The Kiss Goodbye” + “Fear of the Blue Touch” – revealing “mysterious” characters

Yesterday I worked on my large orange painting, which at the moment I call The Kiss Goodbye. It is a very light painting. I started questioning if I should “thicken” some areas with the white paint. I tried to do it on one area where a character, probably only I can see, is now. I didn’t get the effect I was looking for. I am going to darken up some other areas with diluted orange, because I still keep thinking about the character with the empty eye sockets looking over its shoulder with an expression of sadness. This is one of those situations when I don’t want two stories to compete visually, but they both are needed to be equally visible on the canvas.

Light orange drips can be easily destroyed by thicker paint removing the attention from the main characters in the painting. The “mysterious” character doesn’t have strong defining it lines.

Not sure how I am going to solve this problem. There is this very strong feeling that I should somehow highlight the skull like character, which is hunched and looking right at you while this young boy is passionately kissing somebody, who is much older and most likely dying. Well, maybe this is a bit too dramatic when I say that the man, whose profile we see laying on a pillow, is dying. He is not, but there is something about both of them. They know that this is their last intimate time together, which is going to last forever now, because I trapped it on the canvas.

What I like about the painting are the three stages of the “kiss,” which become a movement. First, it is defined by the boy kissing the man on his neck, then the kiss goes into a transitional peck on the lips and in the final stage we see the boy lying next to the man with his head turned away from our view. This “movement” also reveals emotional stages of the man who is being kissed by the boy. In the first stage the man’s face is cut, we only see his neck, then the peck (kiss) reveals both of them, but only in a transition and the last stage, when we don’t see the boy’s face, we clearly see the man crying, because he knows, all ends in the world.

The skull like figure is looking straight at us during this whole movement. It is wearing a coat and giving this hallow smile as if saying, sorry but I already knew all this would end before it even started. This painting is one of those paintings I enjoy looking at for hours.

Fear of the Blue Touch has a similar feel. The painting is just much more saturated with colors. The figure that is hugged by the boy is very close to being that hallow eyed figure which is appearing in The Kiss Goodbye. There is also this witch type of character who is just there, enjoying the fear the openmouthed guy has while the boy is peacefully leaning his head on the man’s shoulder. The man is terrified, because, well he is afraid to be found out that he is also “blue” as the boy who hugs him.

In Fear of the Blue Touch the man in distress with the bulging eyes becomes a part of the “mysterious” witch character.

In both of these paintings, as in most of my paintings, there is this mysterious, almost fairy tale type of character(s) which is just there as some kind of reminder about that other world we are not familiar with. You don’t see these “mysterious” characters right away. In some paintings they become the main focus, in others they reveal themselves after you spend some time looking at the paintings they are in.

My dilemma with The Kiss Goodbye is about how much clearer do I want to reveal this mysterious character to viewers? I can see the character now, but do others see it too? These type of questions are distracting me from moving onto the next work without destroying what I already have. I know that if I start “highlighting” that mysterious character the work is going to change the painting into something completely new, but I know that what I already have is what needs to stay on the canvas without change.

And now, even though I have put just a little bit of white highlighting this mysterious character, the area I worked on is already driving me nuts, because I am not sure if I want to see any spots of white distracting from the two intimate figures. At the same time I really like that mysterious character with its sadness and ugliness. I get cornered and begin to drive myself crazy because I am not sure if the mysterious character is visible enough for others.

Ugh, I should stop this madness, because I do see the character clearly enough. If somebody doesn’t see it, oh well, they don’t see it, that’s why it is mysterious and not seen right away. I might be surprised by others actually “catching” that character before they see the two kissing figures.

It is amazing how our brain works. This is exactly the situation I discussed in the previous blog entry. There I said that our brain is able to connect lines even when there is a lot of information missing. That is how a few smudges of different colors suddenly become a part of a face or something else we recognize in nature. That is probably why I am more excited about paintings which indicate forms. These type of paintings give my brain more work. This “work” promotes inspiration. They allow me to see the surrounding us world in unexpected ways.

Originally written on 02-17-18

“Fear of the Blue Touch” – morning routine and a few strokes of paint defining the beginning and the end

Today I was up with the sun, watched how its dark orange turned into white, got out of my bed at eight, took a few photos before the sun moved, jumped into the shower, sat down and now am wandering why I struggle with some paintings while others seem to be painting themselves. Every time something like that happens I inspect my work trying to find spots “I should be working on” because, you know, it took only a few strokes of paint to reveal what was hidden on a canvas.

The main figures/characters were finished quite quickly on this canvas with a few strokes of paint.

I can’t find anything “that needs fixing” on this resent painting. If I begin fiddling around with the canvas, I am pretty sure I am going to get a completely different image on it. These characters I have now would be gone. In a situation like this I begin to wonder if this is the direction I want to go with my other works. I can’t find an answer to that. I am going to leave this last painting the way it is now, as different as it is from other of my paintings. Some time ago I didn’t know what kind of direction I was going with them either, so to ask this question now is kind of pointless.

I should say that the way the series of color character portraits appeared to me after I painted The Blue Boy Richard with His Pink Tailed Pet Fish made me realize that this large painting of two people hugging might be the one that gives me a hint about what I should be going for next. Observing how I put paint on canvas now fascinates me. I see how my technique is changing. I started to use a lot of water making colors change in density. That is quite unusual for me considering my earlier works with oils. I looked for thickness and saturation. My paintings are becoming very watercolor-like with see through areas layered in different transparencies.

Under the Blue Wing (oil on canvas circa 1995) was all about thickness and texture of oils.

Before starting this canvas I imagined how I was going to put the paint in transparent layers creating denser spots, revealing forms and characters through them. I was not expecting my work to happen the way it is happening right now. I am a bit surprised and am questioning the direction I am taking with this one. This questioning often times is funny, because who the f**k cares. Follow creative energy and enjoy the process. Be glad there is a movement in your work allowing the change to happen.

I don’t need to remind myself about some struggle I had with some of my works. I struggled because I listened to my head and painted things “where they were supposed to be painted,” not where my emotions were guiding me to paint them. In a way I became too clinical with some of my canvases. Of course, when a painting like the one I painted yesterday happens I go, hmm, so where and what do I fix now, because, you know, it must be something that is not working there.

But then I stare at the painting and feel, it needs to stay the way it is. I might think later: “and what the f**k was I thinking about leaving the canvas the way it is now?” But I am familiar with this feeling. It happens with most of my canvases. My works really start living their lives when I completely forget about them but then rediscover with a fresh look. Usually only then I can tell that yes, this canvas or that piece is done. They are already claiming their existence, so there is nothing for me to do but let them live.

I guess it is harder for me to comprehend what is going on with my work because I am still developing my style. I am still trying to domesticate this wild horse I have running amok in the fields, so of course when  something like that happens I get surprised and have all these questions for myself. I know for sure I am not interested in the naturalistic/realistic portray of my surroundings and people. Yes, I adore the technique artists who paint realistic images have, but I know that that type of work is not for me.

Yes, to study a human body and its movement, face and its expressions is crucial for me, but I am not interested in painting somebody’s portrait as realistically as I possibly can. There are plenty of artists who do this type of work impeccably. Would I be interested in learning how to do it the way they do it? Of course. I am in a way doing it now but through a very peculiar approach.

When I wrote my first fairy tales in English it was about writing and learning how to write in a different language through something I deeply cared about. The mundane descriptions of my room were just not for me. Because I wrote about something I deeply cared my writings improved. I sense a similar approach to my learning about human anatomy and movement. I need to feel the image I am working on to be able to keep my focus on it. Or I become too clinical. I lose my touch. A painting in work might go through so many changes that I would not even know which one was the one I was going for. I find my own ways how to draw a line that reveals a movement or an expression I am going for.

I realize that even though I adore the finished works of painters who paint things and people in realistic way, I love the ones that leave something out or are saying more with less. I don’t really need to see a perfectly drawn eye to perceive the eye in a painting. A hint of an eye gives me way more space for interpretation. Our vision somehow naturally makes all these connections. For it sometimes is enough just to have a hint like in those English reading tests when words are misspelled on purpose where only the first and the last letters are correct. The amazing thing is we recognize words immediately and continue on reading these misspelled texts as if the words were spelled correctly.

If you are successful in defining “the beginning” and “the end” of something on a canvas the image you hint towards to magically appears in front of you. This is exactly what I feel right now while looking at my latest large painting of two people hugging or rather one guy leaning on another guy’s shoulder while the guy on whom the other guy is leaning is freaking out.

Sometimes it is enough to get one line right to reveal an emotion/body movement/character all together.

The fear of touch, (oh maybe that should be the name of the painting?) “The Fear of the Blue Touch.” There are a few things that I love about this name: one – “blue” in Lithuanian slang means “gay;” second – “blue” indicates sadness, so you are not only afraid to be touched by a gay person, you are also afraid to become sad because of it. Yes, now I understand that the painting is finished. Yes, it felt like it painted itself, but that is probably how I should feel with every painting. They should feel as if they paint themselves. I am just some kind of transmitter of the energy that goes through me and ends up on the canvas.

I believe I found something of importance for myself describing my process of creation. The most interesting revelation for me was to find this connection between our languages and our eyes and brains. No wonder my mind is quick in seeing things, faces, movement while I look at something that represents something else. Many times when I stare at the same spot for a long time I begin seeing characters almost as if drown by the nature or the universe. I know that most would just see some dirt splattered on the snow while my eyes are constantly looking for that “beginning and the end” of an image in those splats. When my eyes find it, the image appears to me as if: “hey what are you staring at, I was always here, there is nothing new, just me, the image you are seeing now and no, I am not some kind of dirt you think you were looking at, I know myself as an image of a bird, screaming bird, for that matter, so stop staring and move on.”

Just some snow, shadows and lines in the snow for your viewing pleasure.

The same way I am attracted to certain writers I am attracted to certain painters. I know that not everyone is going to understand my fascinations, but that is perfectly fine. They are not me and I am not them. Life would be quite boring if everyone would like the same things. Well, we do tend to appreciate similar things, but when it comes to certain taste we wary and that is great!

Yes, sometimes I do not understand certain fascinations towards certain trends, but that’s fine, there are plenty of things for all of us to appreciate in our unique ways. One loves Mona Lisa, because it is expensive, the other loves it because it is a masterpiece. I find Mona Lisa overrated, gasp! But that’s me. I’d rather have something by Harring on my wall than Mona Lisa.

Okay, I just thought about something while using the restroom, ha. I have this blog hanging on me called “Under the Fluorescent Light” which was started with an intention to write and show my creative process. It got abandoned, because, well, because I actually need to write and edit things for it. I remembered how G. told me that I should explain my art, explain the way I see it. The blog is a perfect opportunity for me to put all of it into one place and start showing my work to the world. Of course this is more for me than anybody else. This is my way to document my work and later present it to the public. Since I don’t have a gallery to show my canvases in, I need to use what is available for me and that is the Internet. The audiences are out there staring at their screens. Now it is my work to get them to know me and my art better.

Every blog entry should have a finished painting I talk about, the process and the stories that come out of it. I just need to start doing it. The rest is going to fall into places. Every time I finish one or another painting I complete it with a blog entry where I present to the audiences my process and the painting itself. I know this sounds like a bunch of me, me, mes, but there is a need for me to be out with my work, how else others are going to find out about it if not through my own introduction, besides I have documented all of this, so that is no brainer.

Of course my brain goes berserk now because it wants to go “from the beginning” and that is just laughable. This is exactly why the blog didn’t go anywhere. I was constantly “getting ready” to work on it “from the beginning.” No, I am going to go from whatever comes to my mind first and whatever gets me excited and inspired, so if I start it with this last painting of mine, so be it. I believe I have already made the entry with today’s writings. I just need to edit them a bit and I am good to go.

Originally written on 02-13-18

“The Naphthol Crimson Wrench Head Danny” – does a tree make a sound in the forest if nobody hears it fall?

I am looking at my recent painting and it is poking at me: “you need to relax and let your hands do the magic.” It is fine if the painting is a bit different and not exactly what I was expecting it to be. At the end it is going to be exactly the way it should be. I need to lose all this imaginary responsibility of how one or another thing has to look. It is a complete bullshit which is only in my head. Understanding about my paintings comes to me not through my head but through a feeling which is hard to describe. This feeling just lets me know that a painting is done. I might be thinking over one or another canvas for days, but the result somehow is achieved by this unexplained sense. It leads my hands and then “it” happens – this sudden realization that a painting is finished.

Sometimes I have to drastically cover areas in my paintings that don’t work for me. This picture shows how I covered with the white the area which used to be painted with the turquoise green.

Funny how I am constantly on this weird brink of questioning myself about why in the world I am doing all this? Thankfully this question is like some kind of fog which dissipates the moment I start painting. It would be interesting though to find the answer to why I am painting and why I am doing all this creative work nobody would miss if I would not do. At the moment only a very few know that I paint. There are canvases nobody has seen. This situation to me sounds like asking the question: does a tree make a sound in the forest if nobody hears it fall?

Originally written on 02-10-18

Yesterday I made a huge improvement on my Naphthol Crimson Wrench Head Danny. I went through a few of “oh my god I am not sure if it is working” thoughts, but now I might be pretty close to finishing this painting. I am learning about the naphthol crimson so much, but it is still giving me weird results. The color just doesn’t lay the same way other colors do. If I mix it with the white it becomes pink and if I leave it by itself it tends to look a bit dirty, which is okay when I need this result.

The red of the square “beard” on the lower left looks dirty while it looks the way I need it to look on the top portion of the canvas.

I added some turquoise green to the painting. The color is working, though I did ask myself “why am I using these weird colors?” once yesterday. The whole point is, I am using these colors the way I am to make them look appealing. I don’t want to skip certain combinations and just stick to the familiar ones. That’s too predictable. My approach to the use of colors is a bit based/influenced by the graffiti culture/art. You have only a certain color in your spray can/paint container and you make it work. Many graffiti artists usually don’t have enough money to buy expensive paint so they use the paint they have on hand. This is quite true in my situation. I literally have a certain amount of jars and tubes on my table, so I pick one of them and say, today I am going to communicate through you, my dear, and I go on painting. Of course I could have easily dropped the naphthol crimson and paint over it with some other “less tricky” color, but this red has something I need to uncover. The naphthol crimson is also a hard color to photograph. It is amazing how it changes throughout the day with different light. So no, I am not giving up on the color.

Under the ceiling light the painting loses all the details I need to see.
The cold light reflecting from the snow outside brings out the turquoise green and gives the red a cooling effect.

I should say I do like the name I just gave to the canvas “My Naphthol Crimson Wrench Head Danny” (with the turquoise green beard (maybe to add later?)) I should start signing my paintings the day I finish them, not after a few days of waiting, questioning if there is anything else I need to work on. You already should trust yourself enough to know when the painting is done, sign and move to the next one. There is always going to be this “something to improve” feeling. It is normal. With every new painting you learn and improve your skills. Of course, a painting I painted a few years back is going to look different from the one I paint today. It is okay to be a little unsure. That is where my feelings should be. When I am totally sure, which I don’t know if it is ever going to happen, I might be in some kind of trap. Being unsure is okay. It means I moved into a certain territory I am not familiar with. Sign your work and move to another canvas.

The turquoise green became more permanent on the canvas.

I should say I am quite impressed by the amount of paintings I was able to produce in a year. After I finished my novel around this time last year I moved into the next creative stage, preparation for an exhibition. At the start my work on canvases was sporadic, but then, when the weather cooled down, I was able to find certain time slot meant only for the painting.

I am still to attack my large canvases which are patiently waiting for me in the corner. I will need to cover my room’s floor with paper, because I use more paint and it tends to drip more when I work on them. I am thinking on exploring body movement, but I am open to anything that happens. It just makes sense to me to have my focus towards “expression of emotional body movement.” I concentrate more on “portraiture” on my small canvases.

Only after I painted the portrait of R. as “the Blue Boy with the Violet Beret in front of His Pet Pink Tailed Dolphin (Fish)” (The Blue Boy Richard with His Pink Tailed Pet Fish) I felt like I was going somewhere with the series (I like this way of naming my paintings). For N.’s painting: “N. or the Interrupted Tea Party” sounds right. R.’s name is a bit clunky. Names of my paintings are getting clearer. I need a bit more time for “editing” the way I do for my writings. First draft is always very messy, but then the clean up begins and little by little my sentences become more to the point with less of needless explanation and ornamentation. This realization about my writings comes to me through my work on my paintings.

Originally written on 02-12-18

The Naphthol Crimson Turquoise Green Wrench Head Danny – theater, fashion, spolights

Yesterday my sudden decision to use the turquoise green on the naphthol crimson painting took me over. I should say I am glad it did. This stark difference is exactly what I needed on the canvas. Of course now I have to deal with all kinds of other stuff because of that turquoise green, but all is good. I was getting quite tired looking at the red and feeling that something is just not working for me.

The turquoise green forced my mind out from a stagnant place. It took my attention and forced me to look at my characters I created from a different angle.

It seems like the turquoise green and the naphthol crimson like to be together. It is almost as if they are meant to enhance each other. They are good accent colors. I am just going to go bold with this canvas. If I lose some of the things I like now, so be it. My goal is to make this canvas the way I like it. I don’t want to look at it and think that I am missing something or that it is not finished yet. Because of this turquoise green interference I covered that one spot that was bothering me in the painting. The canvas has way too many things started on. I don’t know how I am going to name it yet.

Several characters were fighting for my full attention. The turquoise green directed where my focus should be.

For some reason my mind just went off from the main focus and I began thinking about how my paintings could be perceived by audiences in the U.S. and in Europe. It is a weird feeling. The feeling is similar to the one you get when you direct a theater show. You don’t know if your show is good, if it invokes feelings, if it is entertaining enough for the audiences to want more from you when you work on it. A couple of times I found myself thinking about how my characters I create in theater now are different because of the painting I do.

There is this fashion photo shoot running through my mind. The clothes in it are “destroyed” by my paint first. Then they are hit by the intentionally directed to certain parts on a runway lights. The clothes become like my paintings, showing multiple angles of “characters” wearing them. The lights define only certain parts of models’ bodies while they walk. Multiple lights would create “spotlight islands” when the lights directed towards certain areas on the runways come together for a split second revealing several angles as if in a 3D image. I guess that is what excites me now, lights and shadows.

There are certain images/characters I’d like to explore on my canvases especially the large ones. There is always the fear of not having enough skills to fully realize all that what it is in my mind. But you know what, you learn through mistakes and your technique develops with time. More you do, better you become. I could linger on these thoughts or I could just do it. Through the actual work I know I am going to find my way to reveal what’s inside of my mind. It is quite amazing to realize that the paintings I spent least time on are my favorite. It probably has something to do with letting myself relax after being so strict with myself.

Originally written on 02-09-18

“The Naphthol Crimson Wrench Head Danny” – taming transparencies and sizes

For some reason this particular crimson is hard to manage. Not sure why that is but I am not getting the results I should be getting by now on my latest canvas. It seems like this red is quite problematic for me. I look at my previous paintings where I have used it. It always felt like I was missing something. For example, My Mother as the Guardian Angel of Angels has that red and even though I believe I finished the painting, every time I look at it I feel like my characters are not done yet.

My Mom as the Guardian Angel of Angels is still waiting for my final decision.

A similar feeling I get when I look at a part in another painting (The Flight) where I have this angel carrying a bunch of blue characters on its wings. The area where I have used the crimson feels, for some reason, unfinished. I am trying to understand what is happening there. I do like these two mysterious characters appearing on the upper left of the canvas, but then I have this strip of plain red right where the wings start and it feels like it is too flat or something.

The naphthol crimson feels too flat being by itself on large areas on this work in progress (The Flight).

This small red painting I work on has become more of a pink canvas by now because of all this white I have mixed into the crimson. And again I don’t feel like it is finished yet. A painting with similar characters using another color would be already done.

The naphthol crimson becomes very pink here because of the white I have added onto the canvas.

It could be that this particular red doesn’t like to be used in the fashion I am approaching it, mixing it with the white. That red works in The Interrupted Tea Party because I have the hooker’s green hue there, which balances it out.

I worked with thick layers of colors on The Interrupted Tea Party.

It seems like this red is tricky, but I am going to find how to reveal its beauty. The naphthol crimson is captivating, but I do need to keep myself from using another color, because right now I am making the same mistake I made on The Interrupted Tea Party. I introduced the primary blue on the latest canvas and, of course, I got the Pepsi-Cola colors again even though I am not using the colors as thickly as I used them in The Interrupted Tea Party.

This red worked well when it was barely visible underneath a layer of white. Maybe that is what needs to happen on this canvas? Maybe I need to cover the whole thing with the white and “bleach” the crimson this way?

That is not a bad idea, but I am not sure if that plays along with my original plan for this painting. I need to make this crimson work for me. If it takes a bit longer to figure it out, so be it. It is an enticing color, but I am not fully familiar with its characteristics yet.

I should say I was nicely surprised by the transparency of the orange and the violet I got on my previous canvases. I used a lot of water with them. The colors laid down on surface beautifully giving me gorgeous effects.

The transparency of cadmium orange gives me exactly what I need for this canvas (Cadmiun Orange Desert).
The transparency of this violet guided me on this canvas (The Turtle Baby of Memories with a Hard on).

This naphthol crimson and the turquoise green are opaque so their relationship with the water is different. They are not giving the transparency I thought I would get when diluting the paint.

I approached this red the way I approached the cadmium orange and the violet which were transparent. This naphthol crimson is opaque. The results are obviously different.

With the turquoise green I have a love/hate relationship. It took quite a bit of my time to figure it out on my Turquoise Green Angel. The turquoise green loves to be mixed with the white. I am still not sure how I am going to solve this one area on the large canvas (The Flight ) where I have the same red I work with now. It is a weird painting and I should say I don’t know if I have finished it yet. Maybe it has to live like that for a while. If I see that the painting is not demanding me to work on it, I am going to leave it the way it is now.

For some reason I started having more issues with my large canvases. I am not sure why that is, but almost every large painting has something I am not fully satisfied with the way I am with my small canvases. It could be that the small canvases look better because of the size of my room. They are going to look quite different in a bigger space while the opposite applies to my large paintings.

There is something that works nicely with this size of paintings on my walls. It probably has something to do with the proportions of my windows and empty walls.

This should not stop me from exploring large canvases the way I am working with my small ones. I might need a bit more space when applying the paint. I have to step further back from my large canvases if I want to see everything that appears on them, while with the small ones I can sit just a few feet away and get all the information for my next brush strokes. I need to find that sweet spot which cracks open the beauty of the large canvases. I am probably more familiar with smaller sizes by now. They feel “homey” to me. Every time I take on a new large canvas my feelings get enhanced. I need to adopt this feeling by taming my colors with it.

I tend to lay my paint with more energetic movements on large canvases. I need to watch where my paint lands. I already see many spots on the floor. I need to cover it to be able to splatter all this paint around. I guess that is a part of my discomfort with the large canvases. I have to constantly check the surroundings for paint stains.

It would be better to work on large canvases in an open space, outside the house perhaps, where I literally could spill the water and the paint around without fearing the paint stains on floors, walls and furniture. I found myself cleaning a lot last night. That took my expressive brush strokes away. This could be one of the reasons why I feel more comfortable working on small canvases in my room. I need more space to be able to dance with my large canvases.

Originally written on 02-07-18

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