Monday, January 18, 2010


January in Michigan and one cat with serious cabin Digby. We've had a recent thaw and I've since taken down the wreath. I posted this because of the expression on his face. After creating yet another unsatisfactory birch painting, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and saw I was wearing the same exasperated look.

Yes, I seem to be stuck at the moment. Not a good way to enter the new year but here I am nonetheless.

Berries & Birch #1 has been spoken for and the customer would like a companion piece to go with. As this is a fairly close view of a birch I'd love to do a birch landscape. I was blown away by
Cecy Turner's 'Early Winter'. A cropped version of this painting was featured on the cover of the February issue of Watercolor Artist and it's simply yummy. It's a birch landscape but the painting is really about the colors. I love the reflected glow on the birch bark. Face it...birch are pretty much black and white, a few interesting greys with a peek of peach color where the bark has peeled back. Anything to spice up a birch landscape is welcome. I drew up a new landscape that would fit my format and I knew I would have to tweak the colors to have it make sense beside the first painting. Sadly, my version didn't make the cut. Make that version...sss. I've painted this three times and I'm still not happy. Nothing even worth posting, IMO.

Feeling frustrated, I started Googling birch trees in watercolor and stumbled across
Guan Weixing's 'Autumn Rhythm'. Wow! Artists are doing wonderful things with birch trees. Why can't I seem to find a way? Last night I found myself lying awake in bed wracking my brain for an idea that would work for me, my customer and ultimately, the companion painting. If the two paintings work together everyone will be happy. I think it's time to walk away for a bit and clear my head. Time to let go of the thought process and let the creative part of me work it out. Does anyone else ever run into this? I hope it's not just me. :(
Note: I can't seem to link directly to Cecy's painting. Follow the link I posted and select 'Landscapes' on her site. The painting I refer to is in the second vertical row, 6th painting down. You won't be sorry for your trouble. It's gorgeous.


Diana said...

I agree. Sometimes when I'm having trouble with something, I let it rest and put it away. When I see it again, I'm not so close to it anymore, and I see it more clearly.

One option could be to keep that one and try to design 2 from the beginning, part of your "Birch Series" paintings. Just a thought.... :)

Billie Crain said...

Thanks for the input, Diana.:) This would be a good argument for having more than one painting going at a time...which I never do. I get focused on one thing and hang onto it like a dog with a bone until I sort it out.

Your suggestion/option is probably a wise one but right now the thought of starting two birch paintings makes me shudder. I'm having enough trouble with one. LOL

Diana said...

LOL! Your so funny!