12″ x 12″ oil on canvas
by Cheryl Peddie
‘Blossoms’ was a good lesson for me in judgement. Or, make that – a lesson for me in NON-judgement. I began this piece as a demonstration at Galleria in Inglewood – the gallery that represents me. I’d originally planned to do a more detailed still life of books and mugs on a shelf. It was a gorgeous summer day though; the gallery was playing awesome music and I just felt like painting from my shoulder. Maybe other artists know what I mean? Just splashing the paint on the canvas, Letting loose and piling on the pretty colors. ‘Blossoms’ was the result.
Trouble was, that the next day I looked over my canvas and thought ‘WTH IS this mess?!!’. Sure it was fun, but… this piece was so flat, wasn’t it? The flowers looking up at me had no depth; they were a mishmash without a light and shadow pattern I usually strive for.
So I went into it, and yet again, let loose. I did fix up some of the blooms that I hadn’t yet gotten to. Adjusted some of the temperatures and values. Added a couple petals flowing off the canvas. It was fun. By then I had so much oil on the canvas that I really couldn’t add any more without making mud.
When I stepped back to look at it I still couldn’t quite decide how happy I was with it. I mean, there was no perspective, still very limited depth, and still no firmly established light and shadow pattern. And yet…
It’s pretty. I love the blues, purples, and pinky-corals. And my kind friends and acquaintances on my Facebook page seemed to really like it. But it was still unsettling. I mean, creating it wasn’t that HARD. I felt like I was cheating. Shouldn’t something I’m charging money for require more justification and evidence of my artistic skill? Surely something that was this fun to create couldn’t possibly be in the same ‘league’ as my more detailed urban scenes, for example.
I wish I could say I had some sort of revelation at this point. That I realized I don’t have to exhaust myself or analyze a canvas to death, to make it valuable. I guess I still enjoy the detailed pieces too – just in a different way. And maybe there’s room for both – I could bring a little more ‘fun and loose’ into even my more intricately composed pieces. I like the idea of that, because work and life really shouldn’t HAVE to be so hard, to be of value.
But, it’s 9:00 now and time to open up my studio for the day, and begin again.
Thanks for reading; all my best. Cheryl.