"I'd Rather Paint," should be the title of this painting.
I put it up on the wall for a critique for a drawing class. We had 2 days to do a 4'x3' drawing. If you've never done any type of art before you can probably still imagine that painting takes a lot more time than drawing. Idiot! I guess I forgot that I still liked having a social life. But I was excited to be in a class where I could create whatever type of imagery I wanted. So I did an acrylic painting of flowers.
Flowers: My Costa Rica kick
My interest in flowers began sometime over the last year. When I did this painting (September 2009), I was definitely still on my Costa Rica kick. I lived there during the fall semester in 2008...ahh the fabulous life of a CC student. Seriously, it was one of the most artistically inspiring, eye-opening, perspective changing, cultural experiences I have ever had. I miss it. Mostly just the people I met and lived with, but I also fell in love with the way the Ticos (what Costa Ricans call themselves) live.
Their outlook on life as a culture is so different from our North American view. Innately, these people know what beauty is and they value it in one another in a way that is very different than any idealistic image you see everyday. What they really value is their families, friends and their beautiful green country. Obviously, as Americans we value the same things but the order on our priority list and the incentive driving those values seems questionable to me at times.
Anyway...PAINTING! The point is that flowers are all over the place in Costa Rica (minus the city, San Jose), spilling onto the street and all but exploding from people's ears. For real, the earrings I encountered (and one does "encouter" earrings) are the kind that are big enough to walk off your ears or look like big pieces of plastic candy. But the thing is...what is the thing? People are attracted to beautiful things.
What is Beauty?
What is beauty? Open to interpretation...but I think everyone can agree that nature is generally beautiful. What is the most beautiful aspect of nature? The crown of natural design? I believe it's the flower.
Flowers are pretty and interesting to look at no matter what. They don't ask to be told they are beautiful, they just are. Their purpose is beauty. As human beings no matter what your idea of flowers might be, the fact is that when you're pooping in the woods and you need something to wipe with you aren't going to pick the petals off a flower to do the job. Something within us makes us want to preserve beauty.
The Reality of this Painting
It began with the need to fulfill an assignment. I was walking home after class and couldn't help but stop to pick a few flowers along the way...that sounds like I'm making it up..."oh, and I just stopped to smell the flowers, lalala!" but flowers are definitely still blooming in Colorado in September and lots of people have them in their front yards. Nice. I took them home, put them in a cup of water and covered my 4'x3' piece of paper with white acrylic paint aka "Gesso."
That night I sat down on the floor in the living room and painted on one of the flowers I had picked earlier, then I did two more. There was still a ton of space to fill by 1am and I had no plan.
After class the next day, which was all figure drawing (naked people drawing) I came home and stared at the empty space behind the flowers I had painted the night before. ugggg! And I guess since I like drawing and painting pictures that show depth (space) I took my drawing board out the back door of my apartment and painted in the alley between the building and the fence. After that there were some problems with the colors and the purple flower can just go to hell. I repainted that thing like six times. It started out yellow and also a sunflower and now it looks like something out of Fern Gully. Whatever.
I really enjoyed piecing together different subjects that I had painted "from life" (meaning not using a photo reference). This painting became a reality that isn't real. There are definitely no flowers in the alley behind that building, just rocks and weeds and a couple cigarette butts. And no one really goes back there. My roommates like this painting because it reminded them of where they live. So I guess what I did was take something I like, flowers, and placed them in an overlooked setting...I think they brightened it up a bit. That's the beauty of beauty baby! hahahaha...