Jo M. Orise Painting – Committed to My Craft

You guessed by now. I painted most of the time I spent in Florida this past winter. I also worked on my MS (manuscript)—but that is a whole other story.   ;-) wink.

Edward Gay at his easel working on a painting....
Edward Gay at his easel working on a painting. Inscription lower right: “Edward Gay, Jan. 1907”. Gay, Edward, 1837-1928 Collection: Macbeth Gallery Records, c. 1890-1964 Accession number: aaa_macbgall_4699 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I paint I get into a  “flow state.” Nothing around me is real. My only concerns are line, shape and color. What color will work with another color, or needs to be next to what color.

Color is complicated. A subject artists continue to explore. One does not possess all the answers. Nor is there only one way, or right way to lay color onto canvas or paper.

Some artists have a technique, others experiment and others have  a ‘gimmick’. Some artists know how they will approach color for their current painting. It depends on the mood, lighting or effect desired.

If I have a visitor in my studio and that person is quiet or asks one or two questions about art or the effect I am working toward, I don’t have a problem with that. But, if that person engages in useless banter or is verbose by nature, I have a problem.

Signs of a ‘Flow State.’
Talk to me and I will bite your face. LOL

At the easel, lots of activity happens inside my brain. It is all about the process, painting and creating. I am focused, I am  in a  “flow state.” (Click link.)

One day, Hubby invited Neighbor to ‘chat’ with me because I was available in my open-to-the-rest-of-the-house studio in FL. So Neighbor and Hubby stood at my elbow talking about ‘stuff’ I had no interest in contributing to, and joked about the amount of snow I included in the winter scene I worked on. The conversation went nowhere, so did my attempt to paint. So, I put my brush down and went to the kitchen for water. They followed.

When Neighbor left, I asked Hubby not to bring anyone to my studio when I was busy.

“You didn’t look busy. Neighbor wanted to see what you were doing. I thought you wouldn’t mind,” Hubby replied.

“If I am staring at a blank canvas, or a painting that is propped on an easel, it does not mean I am ‘not busy.’ My mind is very busy. I am communing with my muse. I make decisions every second I stand or sit facing the canvas.  Whether I hold a brush or not my mind is occupied.

Artists for Humanity. Artist in painting studio
Artists for Humanity. Artist in painting studio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“If I am using watercolors, a distraction will ruin an effect I am trying to create because the paint dried. The opportunity for that effect on that particular painting is gone.

“I do not ‘color’ a picture, I create an illusion, an idea, an effect. If I want to color I will use crayons and a coloring book and welcome anyone who wants to chat as I color the sky blue, the grass green and the face pink.

“If company arrives, please ask me before inviting them to the studio. I will let you know if it is okay. Be assured this is not a personal attack or rejection. It is just what people need to know about me and how I work.”

Other artists may love constant companionship as they work. But in every classroom I was part of, every workshop I participated in, every person I taught to draw and paint, all were focused and none chatted.

Last year, I joined a group of figure/portrait artists. All went well. Not one artist spoke except for the moderator.

During a couple of our painting sessions, one or two artists left early or moved their easel.

N.C. Wyeth in his studio with a cowboy model
N.C. Wyeth in his studio with a cowboy model (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At break time, most of the artists were surprised some had gone or others had moved to a different spot for a another perspective—something their muse had advised.

The artists had been in a group “flow state.” We may have seen the activity in the corner or our eye, but it did not register for most of us.

This figure painting group hired live models who posed for fifteen minute time intervals. A particular model said a few jokes one day. No one responded, except for a couple of giggles. The artists looked to each other and to the moderator. Then other jokes and tidbits of personal information were offered by the model.

At break time one artist said he was ready to leave because he could not focus if the model continued to be disruptive. The mediator shared  an experience when she was enrolled in a college, master of art program, “When the class painted, chit chat was not tolerated. The offender was cast out of the room.”

The model apologized. He returned the next week. All was well.

Artists are not anti-social. Just very committed to their craft.

Have you ever been in a  “flow state?” Artists, athletes, people with special skills or training know what it is like.

Let me know and share your experience.

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