The First Painting

 
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In an earlier post I talked about my first landscape painting and a particularly challenging assignment that my professor would task us with at the beginning of each semester, which led me to discover a new way to paint. Instead of using areas of thick paint, like I'd done with some landscape & outdoor scenes, I layered lots of thin layers on top of each other, giving the painting a glowy effect. I decided to try out this new application to a landscape painting, thus beginning my "new era," so to speak, of landscapes.

Scrolling all the way back through my photos made me laugh a little, because I found the original picture of this painting in the first hundreds of my 10,000 photos of my camera roll. What seems like a lifetime ago was actually less than three years ago. Three years. It's so easy for me to feel like I have been doing this forever, and that I haven't done enough, or haven't grown big enough or had enough success, but seeing the time stamp on that photo of the first landscape gave me some perspective. It showed me that I have grown, and I have been successful, and I've only been seriously painting barely three years, and part of that time I was still in school. 

Part of my painting process is starting with really bright colors in the first layers, and then painting over them with softer, lighter layers. Because oil paint is more transparent than other paints, the vibrancy of the first layers shine through, ever so subtly, in the finished painting.  

As you can see, that garish yellow and neon pink eventually gave way to a soft glowing sunset. When I finished this painting, I still couldn't believe that the process worked. I remember my mind and hands moving at 10000mph, itching to start the next painting. To me, it was like figuring out the secret formula or finding a missing puzzle piece - the big "Aha!" moment. Most of all, when I stepped back and really looked at the painting, it just seemed right

This makes me feel like I'm at the Farm.
This makes me feel real good. 
This makes me feel like I'm home.


then

This might make other people feel something too!?
This might be something people would want to put in their own home!
I should keep doing this! 
Yeah, I could do this for a looong time. 
I should be an artist.
I should be a landscape artist! 
I'm going to be an artist. 

This painting is currently hanging in my home (in a custom frame built by Austin!) and will never be for sale, because seeing it each day reminds me of the way I felt when I first finished this painting, and to encourage me to keep painting, and keep finding that sense of true purpose. From this painting forward, I just knew that this was what I was meant to do. The power with which this painting process moved me reoriented the path I imagined for myself. Somehow, someway, I had to make this artist thing work. Writing this today, nearly three years later, I feel like I am on my way down that path. The longer that I have been on it, the bigger I have dreamed, and the more that I work at it, the more I seem to achieve those dreams.

I am an artist. I am an artist! I am an artist.