“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

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