I have always wondered what it would feel like to be called an “artist”, unsure of what the meaning really is. There is something compelling me to understand how I fit into that word. Or, maybe I have it all wrong and it is how that word fits in me? Does one choose to be an artist or is it some internal electric wiring that compels a different way to express life? Whatever, it seems important in my life to let it happen.
Looking back I can barely remember when it was easy. Easy to let go enough to guide creative strokes through my fingers using whatever medium felt most comfortable. I used to draw because I knew I could. I see through eyes that analysis curves, color and space. Details I understand, abstract remains a mystery. So, I often struggle with my appreciation of spontaneous creativity and what I feel comfortable with, though there are more days when nothing comes easily.
I grew up smelling art, like the oils of a neighbor’s studio. I wanted to live in that smell. Then I became fascinated with the textures and contrasts of nature as a farmer. Now having spent many years traveling about in the natural food industry I desire to blend my passions. As I now live in Maine the physical peace here allows me to carve time to explore my path. Painting is becoming my journey. An artist’s journey.
Aurise Adele Randall
How to Write a Painting
I unwrap the new canvas. It already feels like a commitment I am unsure I am willing to take. The feel of the stretched fabric heightens my anxiety with an edge of youthful passion as I run my hands across the panel. There will be a story to unfold upon its surface. Ideas and expectations surround my mind but I question my ability as a proper storyteller.
There are many points in the process, the evolution of giving life to a painting, that meets with friction of self-doubt. Do I have the knowledge of technique to execute? Can I replicate what lies inside my imagination of desired results? Will I beam with pride after or hide it behind other abortions of failure?
I stare at the white canvas. It lies full of hope before me. I study it’s nakedness quietly. I close my eyes to determine its visual layers. Art is not talent of steady hands but a sharpened awareness of the eyes. It is an ability to see a mathematical progression of light, space, layers, texture and color. Before I start I must calculate the progression of layers.
I turn to face the table now, the box of paints lies open in a hasty pile of important colors, worn and gently squeezed from past adventures together. I carefully rearrange them by color, those I might need, others to be saved for the future and those with possibilities unknown as of yet. I prepare my palette. Those chosen colors will form a neat circle around the edge of a rectangle that soon will be connected by run-together blending of opaqueness. I love color. Color is the mood of life, of my painting, of me. The colors I choose will help me express my mood, my vision of where I am in my head. It will shout the backdrop of the story being told on the canvas.
The first step is the commitment to begin, a vow, of sorts. It lays the backdrop of the story, though important, it will eventually be covered by the details to come. Basic shapes are decided, where lines might meet or objects might transition colors. Where is there need for bold texture? Is there a need for a smooth surface for future delicate lines of the story? All can be forgiven here, all can be rewritten, except texture. I breath with a comforting excitement at this step. My fear of the empty whiteness has been overcome and I am eager to challenge myself. I let my eyes unleash through my fingers a creative vision. Basic blocking, that is all that is needed now.
I have trouble remembering to remove myself from the story from time to time. To take a step back and re-read the chapter I am writing. To see it from another perspective. There are many points that I require time to study the direction of the story and there are times the painting itself requires me to be patient. I am not a patient person by design, and that is also true in my painting process. That can hinder my objectivity to understand what is really required to achieve my desired outcome, yet it can also give me stamina and dedication. If I am too impatient with color it turns to mud. Life can be like that. I need to remind myself of this as my impatience with process blurs the need to shorten the story.
Each layer, each chapter, requires time to fully digest, reflect and analyze it’s meaning. The intentions of each stroke of the brush, the appointment of color and placement. Direction, movement, shapes...all need time to reveal themselves. I place my painting near me for hours, sometimes days during these transitions of chapters. I move it around the house with me as I work on other things. I glance at it from time to time, study it. Then when my patience has expired or blatant errors glare back at me, I move it back to it’s secure position upon my easel and the next chapter begins.
Often I think my story is complete before it is. Sometimes I have signed my name to the corner marking the final word of the story, only to realize days, weeks or months later as it calls back to me, my impatience once again cut my story off before it was really finished. Then I admit my flaws and take it back upstairs to, once again, attempt to perfect its voice.
Aurise Adele Randall
January 14, 2021
I have been fortunate to live in many passionate work environments. Traveled some of the world on my own as my personal educational experience in my twenties. Organic farming in my thirties, while raising daughters. Transitioning into the Natural Food world for a career in my forties. Art has woven in between. But, now, finding art will become my focus as I age gracefully.