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

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