The Paint Flies! Slate Painting And Taking A Hint
Every artist has an arsenal of paintings… That is, paintings either mapped out, planned out or even painted in their mind, that are waiting to come to life. My arsenal is getting quite large. It’s getting out of control. This is something that hangs over me when I choose what to paint when I get out my supplies. Each one of these compositions have been patiently waiting, some for days, others weeks or even years. There is nothing wrong with any of them. Their only flaw is that they inspired me at a moment when it wasn’t practical or even possible to capture them in paint. So I then, flesh out as much as I can before placing them in a hopefully-not (yet I fear in some cases) eternal holding pattern.
When the new slate craze came over me, this concept was the one thing holding me back. It was hard to give myself permission to freely pursue this ‘clean slate’ (pun intended) of ideas, inspiration, and exploration.
After conquering this artistic guilt, I found those shapes within the slate that first intrigued me began to take recognizable forms. What was once a strained and abstract connection, was now becoming a freely developing and tangible path that I would take with each piece of slate. My creativity had been so clouded with the dozens, perhaps hundreds, of paintings waiting for their turn to be created, that my brain had a hard time fulfilling it’s creative lingering at the sight of those tiles.
Finally I was free and the subjects were developing on each respective tile faster than I could catalog them… but that was ok. I chose two small 3×6″ pieces of slate to begin this new adventure.
The first had a deep green hue that faded into a rich and vibrant gold. There was no question what was to be painted. It would be orcas, at sunset, with mist, lots of swirly mist! Quickly I began to lay the paint down. The orcas seemed to paint themselves! I was tickled. Leaving pieces of the unaltered slate color showing through was difficult at first but a good exercise in trusting my initial inspiration.
Immediately following the orcas I picked up tile number 2. What had drawn me to it was when it stood vertical there was a unique ledge that caught lots of light. No question, a waterfall was beckoning, but not just any, a moonlit-tropical-waterfall. I eagerly obeyed and put down the brush strokes. Just as the first, this tile painlessly came to be.
This experience was both exhilarating on multiple fronts and intimidating in how far I could/would/should take it. How will it effect my ‘plans’ for studio work, future pieces, what are it’s limitations, how will it be perceived…? My mind whirred with questions before I breathed deep and decided not to worry about it. I am inspired. The paint is flowing. My creativity is being exercised. That is enough for me.