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The Canvas Knows


It's time to kick the canvas in its linen! It is not going where you want it to go! So, you talk to it, you scream at it, you sweetly ask it to work.  You pray and ask your guardians to guide you! You have an out of body experience with your anger. You have done every thing in your power to turn it around to your previous vision. You feel unqualified, insecure; you blame the canvas, you sigh, you moan, you sulk! You drink wine or worse, hard liquor! You listen to DuWop or Reggae to help you made a mood change. But suddenly you relax and see the polarity of its pull. You want it one way and the canvas wants it another way! You realize is that it is the canvas who is talking to you! Not your higher intelligence you thought you had! You have no voice any more! Whether you are a painter or another kind of creator from nothing, it is the job that is the boss. Not you! This is your opportunity to shine and grow with amazing creativity! Your job is to listen!

I do realism to abstracted work, and each has its path. I was doing a dog portrait a couple of months ago, and the the background did not cooperate, but what it decided to do was actually brilliant for the end result. The paint muddied and I ended up glazing a light transparent color over it once it dried and it was a miracle bringing out the dark of the dog's hair. My attitude was frst to sulk, then I let it be, then looked at it later in the month. Lately, my landscape went more to abstract that I planned, so it went to a wonderful place once I let it tell me it was going to do that to me. It is like being married to a controller, but the controller is a silent phsycological teacher.

I tried to tell a student this story after she had wiped off 4 of her canvases that were acually very good starts. She could not stand it that the canvas was talking! What she did not get to know was she had this opportunity to make friends with the paint and elevate her confience. Listen to your canvas, it lis as good as listening to your conscious. 

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4 Responses to The Canvas Knows

via karenweihsart.com40 months ago

Ah....such wisdom in your words, dear Karen. So many times my students insist they must stay with their preconceived notions in a painting; when I finally convince them to let it go, relax and look for the possibilities---voila! A lovely painting emerges! Just as you say.

Teri Cleverly
via karenweihsart.com40 months ago

For the past two months, on my weekends when I paint, I have been painting in oils, a 4 1/2 by 5 ft. painting of five Peruvian women. Last weekend ,I decided I had struggled enough, and now I am tempted to cut it off the stretcher bars. Proportions are ok, color harmony works, but the faces - I have laid on some juicy paint and the faces have lots of texture. After reading your article, I laughed and have decided to go home from work tonight and try and make peace with my painting. Thanks Teri

via karenweihsart.com40 months ago

Maybe now that your attitude toward the canvas has changed, it will talk back to you. It may say," sand down my faces," to bring the illusive look with the sanded paint doing its thing, It may tell you to try "glazing" it in places to liven up the dried paint or to enrich just one area of it. I just posted another blog on "mystery" with glazing techniques. Lemme know what happens. And Barrett, you rock as always!

mary duckham
via karenweihs.com35 months ago

Your words are lessons in truth, words everyone should hear.

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