Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Making a Painting

I'm busy doing some businessy stuff to finish off the year. I don't have much time to get much done before the holidays, but I'm working on developing some new pieces and getting some projects lined up for the new year. I'm getting ready to dive into starting a new series of paintings in January. I spend more time preparing paintings than painting them sometime. Here's a bit of what I'm working on. The following painting I'm preparing is tentatively being called "Free Will." It was inspired by the painting above ("Original Sin" by Hugo van der Goes, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.) I seem to be fascinated by the Eden story right now, and love how it is portrayed in painting. I especially love the lizard-serpent creature with the head of a woman. When I first saw this I didn't realize it was the serpent, only with legs and a human head. Then I started looking at other paintings of the same thing and realized how many ways it has been painted. I was originally going to work this into my painting, "The Bible Tree" but it has developed into having its own canvas. Below is a color sketch:

I somehow had the idea of placing it into a flooded world that's more like the flood story than Eden. (The theme of floods, water, and tidal pools also keep recurring in my stuff lately.) I put some dead trees sticking out of the water, having seen trees like that in flooded areas on the east coast. I eventually removed all trees but one-- thinking of making it more of a dead and drowned Tree of Knowledge. However I was unhappy with the composition and color somewhat, so I tried another color sketch:

I felt a little better about this one, I liked the lone tree but didn't quite like the foreground or some of the fine detail. It still seemed off balance, but the concept was much closer. I'm still not happy with the color, it feels chalky. But I will be able to refine it in the final, and get much more depth (which comes from spending weeks on the painting instead of the 3 hrs this one took.) I did a detailed pencil sketch to refine the detail and composition, I'm not sure if it's perfect, but I like it much better. It needs some more space on the right side I think. But I nailed the lizard-serpent creature.

I think I might put a rotting apple in the final painting (and straighten out the horizon line....) In this I also changed the eyes so they are looking at the viewer, and I'm still thinking about the face. I start out my paintings lately by photo-collaging them to work out composition and ideas. I thought I would include the photo-sketch as well-- even though I work from photos I change a good deal once I translate it into a painting:

For this painting, I will most likely paint more from the pencil and color sketches than the photos. While photos can be helpful-- I find they lock me into things (like where the rocks are, lighting, color, specific positioning) so I make an effort to question and rethink what's in them. You can see that in the tail and hands of lizard, the placement of the rocks, the woman's head and eyes.

I haven't started the final painting yet. I may start a small 8x10 of it this week, and may do a larger one later. I want to finish one more painting before Christmas, this may be the one but we'll see. I haven't done any Christmas shopping yet and am buried in parties and concerts and art shows for the next week. Hopefully I'll get some time this week to at least start.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Looking to Van Gogh...

I've been reading some of Van Gogh's letters to his brother-- I recommend them for any artist or art lover. It's one of the best art reads out there, with many great insights into Van Gogh and the world he lived in. Today I decided to start reading from the beginning with his first letter in the collection (by Irving Stone) and I'll try to read straight through to the end in order. In the first letter he mentions the above painting by Millet and then goes on to give this advice:

"Try to walk as much as you can, and keep your love for nature, for that is the true way to learn to understand art more and more. Painters understand nature and love her and teach us to see her. If one really loves nature, one can find beauty everywhere."

Vincent Van Gogh
London, June 1873

Friday, November 16, 2007

"The Jungle" 2006. Oil on canvas, 48x72 inches

This is the first *big* painting I did in Los Angeles. Both in size, and in seriousness. I was in film school when I started it, and was pretty unhappy with where I was geographically and mentally. I'm not a big fan of film school or the film world in general these days... but this painting was begun when I was coming to terms with that fact. I consider this painting sort of the starting point to everything I am doing now. Though it was actually "finished" (more accurately abandoned) quite a bit later. I probably spent 3 years off and on working on this painting. The concept emerged out of a series of photographs I did called the "Imposed Geometry Series" which loosely about humankind vs. nature, chaos vs. order. It explores how people impose order and shapes on nature, and try to contain it. Another theme that runs through the photos is femininity and vulnerability. This was inspired my Francesca Woodman photography who is probably one of my biggest visual artist influences, and my biggest photography influence. I liked the idea of woman in traditional dressy feminine outfits out in nature where they are seemingly out of place and out of their element. Below are some of the photos I took that inspired The Jungle....

In the photo above I was aiming to get a feel of a jungle, and I wrapped myself in plastic I took off a dress hanger. Somehow it reminded me of how dolls are packaged in plastic. I play with various materials in my photographs, plastic is one of my favorites. I like the connotations has, and how unnatural it is. And it doesn't hurt that light really interacts in interesting ways with it. Also note the oil derrick on the hill in the upper right corner, this park in Culver City where I took many of these pictures in was full of them. I tried to avoid them in most of my photographs back then, but they are now featured prominently in recent paintings.... Just to show how the seeds of ideas are planted.

In this one I wanted to have that fairy tale feel of a woman stumbling through a forest wearing heels. I liked that the pattern of the leaves is almost echoed in the design of the shoes.

I started the painting of "The Jungle" soon after these photos, and the concept was pretty much the same thing. I know at the time I was questioning why I was painting something that I already did pretty decently in photography. But it was what I was thinking about at the time, so I went with it. It was later I realized that in painting I had much more control of the content much like visual effects artists can escape the physical limitations of locations, actors, reality. All the reference of plants and the background was taken from photos of plants around LA and a bunch from the jungle garden at the Huntington in Pasadena. The model was my friend Julie who is a phenomenal actress. I met her when I cast her in a short film I did that was inspired by a scene from Franny and Zooey. At the time she had this long wild mane of red hair which I decided I had to paint. I really got into the jungle scene of this painting, and the idea of a woman lost in it. I had the impulse to put a tiger and some other creatures in it, but in the end I decided to leave it more simple than over the top. I don't know if I feel like this painting is finished, but I worry that if I worked on it longer I would kill it. I sometimes feel like I quickly kill my paintings if I work on them too long and get too precise. I also stop working on paintings more because I get distracted by new ideas and concepts that often make my older ones seem sort of obsolete.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Stretching Canvas Week! ...or the "I need a much bigger apartment" blog

I am stretching 8 canvases this week, and hopefully will get well into oil priming them by Thanksgiving. I do them in batches, because it's hard to switch from stretching to painting in the same day. Mostly for space reasons. Depending on what I am doing, I usually have to reorganize my apartment to accommodate everything. The picture above is my living room. I don't paint in this room. It's usually used as a living room/office/library/dining room. But because it has more "open space" I use it for stretching canvas as well. My apartment has 2 other rooms. The kitchen, and the bedroom/laundry room/studio. It's pretty tight. I can turn around but that's about it. I do need to spend a weekend purging a bunch of stuff to make more space, but I've been meaning to do that since January and it's likely it will be a while before it happens. Once I get this latest round of canvases stretched, the tiny space will really start hitting me. 80% of my walls are already covered by existing art. And so once I start working on these canvases I'm going to run out of wall space real quick (I like to keep my paintings out in the open on walls while I work on them-- I think half of painting is just looking at the paintings as they progress....) So I am going to have to solve my space problem, and soon. Over the next months I will either A) need to sell paintings, B) need to lend paintings, C) need to get a raise so I can rent a storage space for paintings. I'm really really pulling for option A, but that's not going so well-- at least not for the big ones. (I guess technically I've sold 8 or 9 paintings this year, but they were super tiny.) But for now I'm just going to keep on stretching and painting. I'm aiming to do a couple more paintings by the end of the year, so I can go out with a bang. Then more at the start of the year... to start the year with a bang. Hopefully I'll have more shows coming up, that I'm working on. I am going to do a 1 day show on December 13 with some small works, so I'll be working on those for the next week or so while I get my big big canvases primed and ready for action.

Monday, October 29, 2007

At Sea

It's an in between week for me. In between shows, in between paintings, kind of a no man's land of creativity. A week where nothing will happen as I am out of canvases and finished with the ones I have... and I itch for another deadline to burn myself out on. I should start planning my next pieces (before I find myself with a new and impossible deadline upon me.) But instead I've been playing rainy-weepy guitar for hours broken up by periodic trips to various bookstores to see if they have Anais Nin's Collages which I am determined to read next (even though I have a stack of other unread books right next to me. I should read those first probably....) I just read the other day that Anais Nin lived not more than 2 miles from here, and I tend to cling to any shred of literary history that Los Angeles can claim. I almost walked to her house yesterday but had to stop myself because I had things to do and it was getting dark.

I am pondering my next paintings, there are several distinct stages of painting. For me it seems the conception of paintings is separate from the actual painting. I will spend a month or two brainstorming and developing my paintings-- this usually involves sketching in photoshop, collecting reference, and just churning out the basic framework for a number of pieces. This is usually the most creative part of painting, but sometimes the physically most dull part because it involves sitting in front of a computer more than a canvas. The actual painting I love completely, because I'm on my feet in action. It becomes a sort of a dance with music blaring and my brush moving to the rhythm. I love it because it is very high energy, creative, and instinctual (versus intellectual and sendentary.) When I'm painting, I usually have a permanent high. And right now, this week is the exact opposite-- that low valley between mountains, an anticlimax.

Hopefully by the end of the week I'll find the beginnings of my next paintings, and I'll start work on some canvas frames. (Yay, woodworking time!) Perhaps the industry of cutting lumber and the rush of using power tools is just what I need. I may be fancy this time and break out my router and make my own beveled edges.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Spaceland Sketches

I've posted some fun little sketches I did at the Parson Redheads show last week at Spaceland. I kind of wish it was less crowded so I could've snagged a table closer. But instead I was tucked between the merch table and the trash can looking at the backs of heads. Spaceland is not the best place to sketch, Silverlake Lounge is better, and perhaps Bordello. Also El Rey is good (when they have the tables & chairs set up along the side) because it's easy to see over heads and sometimes the lighting guy throws up some crazy stuff. I think my new fantasy is to someday paint a large canvas live on stage with a band. I heard it's been done before, it never occurred to me it could be done. In high school during talent show time I would feel left out that as an artist I couldn't put my talent in front of an audience. But live painting side by side with music would definitely work. Some day I will find a way to do this. Meanwhile I will keep drawing at shows I go to sitting quietly off to the side....

Cigarettes and Red Vines

I saw Aimee Mann today on Vermont Blvd. I had her CD Bachelor No. 2 on repeat when I first moved to LA (along with The Who's greatest hits.) I got to see her perform at Largo last year, I was sitting 4 feet from the stage with best bud Guillermo and sipping on a dirty martini. It was one of the best live shows I've seen, despite the fact she kept forgetting her own lyrics (thankfully the audience could help her there.) Seeing her reminded me of that awesome show, and made me think of all the wonderful shows I've gone to here in LA. Here is my top list of the best musicians/performers I've seen:

1. Josh Ritter - I've seen him 4 times live and every show I'm blown away. It's partly the sheer energy, the stage persona, and the band as a whole. I think his lyrics are the most interesting and wonderful that I've heard. I'm really drawn to the images and concepts in them, and he uses the most bizarre juxtapositions and references. I had been thinking about metaphor in literature vs. painting for a while (See my painting "In The Ruins of the City" for a prior attempt.) But it was his CD "The Animal Years" that crystallized my thinking about this and compelled me to follow my instinct about using my own bizarre juxtapositions of imagery (see "The Edge of the World.") I'll probably write more about this later, since it's been on my mind again as I start a new series of paintings in the vein of The Edge of the World...
2. Mia Doi Todd - Every time I go see her I seriously float home and start painting or writing poetry furiously. Her lyrics are so plain and deceptively simple yet beautiful-- they often consist of simple observations but it takes someone like her to turn them from ordinary to an extraordinary song. I studied poetry in college with Olga Broumas, and reading poetry aloud was very important there. When poetry is read well, it has a musical quality. And Mia's music/voice somehow seems to straddle the world of music and poetry. Plus she performs barefoot and uses a harmonium, and I looove things like that.
3. Ferraby Lionheart - Another LA local, I first heard his music on the radio as I was moving my last load of belongings to my new place here in Silverlake. It took me a while to track him down online (now it's not as hard since he's starting to get some attention) but I was able to see him play solo a couple days later. I think what struck me about him is his reserved quality as well as how magical his music is. I also find something familiar about his music, and after some thought I decided that his songs feel like songs I would write myself (well... if I could write music.)
4. Aimee Mann- I loved her live, partly because of the intimacy of the venue and the casual quality of the performance. She had no set list, and I think some of her back up musicians were not her normal people and just following along. Also since I found her music during a transitional period in my life so it just holds so much extra meaning for me.


I revised my website again, and undid a few things I did late night earlier this week. I need to stop impulsively starting on projects at 2am (notice the timestamp on this blog, I am seriously crazy and should be asleep now.) So for now the artist statement has been removed, I am once again mulling it over.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Website Updated, for now.

I've updated my website so it has my latest paintings. I also reorganized the order that the paintings are viewed, so the recent ones pop up first (sort of, they're also somewhat ordered by concept too.) I also put a semi-coherent artist statement which shall be revised once I get a 1st and 2nd and 3rd opinion on it. It's still nowhere near perfect. It's hard to write one universal statement to cover every idea in my head and in my work. There's still so much I didn't get into, I feel like I could write a book. It's is additionally hard to write a statement when I'm going through a period where I'm feeling a bit scattered artistically. I had a show a few weeks ago where I saw a bunch of my recent pieces next to each other and I felt they were so different as if they were separated by years and not days or months. I resolved then to be more focused and unified somehow, even if it was just done by a unified color palette. I'm still turning this all over in my head, and I got a sort of unsatisfied feeling in my stomach. I know at some point I'll find my new direction and start a brilliant new series of paintings. For now, I'm loosing myself in music and a bit of poetry as a change of pace.

Try to compose it,
it fails
the center vanishes

the figure
in sight

or hiding under
scraps of buildings
the columns of a fallen bridge
any thing hard will do
as shield
or carapace

yet nothing stays
everything disperses
you cannot draw this
dust as it rises

excerpt from the poem "To the Far Corners of Fractured Worlds" by Susan Griffin. (from The Gift of Tongues by Copper Canyon Press.)

(I just realized I don't know the protocol for quoting poetry or other published material in a blog. Is it allowed, and how much? I have absolutely no clue, it's such a new world for me. If this has crossed any lines, please politely inform me and I'll remove it.)

Friday, October 19, 2007

bohemian night

Walking at night is lovely in silverlake, I think i could walk forever along the dark curvy roads that seemingly go nowhere. this time of year there aren't as many flowers blooming, that I missed. their scent is stronger at night and reminds me of northern Israel where there is a city I visited where the air is filled with the aroma of every flower possible and I've tried to figure out what flowers they were ever since. And I swear there are the same flowers here in LA.... But tonight the aroma was more of mulch and dirt which is pleasant in a different way. And the hills were very quiet, just the hum of traffic in the distance. I don't like to listen to music when I walk. Natural sounds are even better... the brief bits of conversation, TV, music. The constant rhythm of my feet. I steal glimpses into lit windows that feel like frames of pictures. I see vases, couches, chandeliers, framed art, books. I wonder what they read, who they are, what they do, where they go. Everything looks charming in a window, it's like a miniature stage with much quieter drama. Sometimes there are no characters at all. The roads are very narrow with little lighting and steep inclines. The homes are build into the hills and overgrown plants in a haphazard terraced manner. Some of the homes look like the big earthquake has already hit. They have crooked doors and sagging beams and the paint falls off like paper. There are vines every where, and hidden staircases and lamps meekly radiating yellow light. There are no straight lines or order, and it's almost as if you can see all the changes and incremental movement of the landscape from decades layered on top of each other like multiple exposures.

My walk ended at spaceland-- which was more a reason to walk through the hills at night than a destination. I have returned to sketching musicians and crowds. It seemed like I needed to be a bit bohemian and return to living fluidly without structure or discipline. When I draw from people (especially in a public place) there is no control. People move, stand still, turn around, block your view-- whatever is unexpected. It's nice to sketch them because I can't get too precious about anything. I see a nice moment... such as a person whispering in another's ear, a couple embracing, a person walking through my view... and it's gone. I draw what I can. Sometimes it's a figure, somtimes it's just an elbow or outline or nose. I layer the drawings on top of each other and they form a sort of messy shape of gestures. Again, it's kind of like multiple exposures. Little is recognizable, I capture the energy of a person or people moving by and it's gone. And then among all this I like to put the sketchpad down and join the picture because behind all of this is the music which always put's me in a transcendent mood and makes me skip home giddy and glowing.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"Walden" 2006. Oil on canvas, 15x19 inches.

This painting was done along side of "Away." I had the idea of a girl sitting in a rowboat with no oars. Originally it was going to be set on the ocean. But then I changed it to a New England setting, out of a bout of homesickness probably. (My family has a canoe that they often take out onto the Concord River.) I set this painting on Walden Pond, mainly since I have a large obsession with Henry David Thoreau and have read Walden and Civil Disobedience way too many times. This painting was made at a point in my life where I felt I was going nowhere, and I started was asking myself what was most important to me. It was at this point where I taped the following quote onto the wall of my studio:

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

"Away" 2006. Oil on canvas, 13x16 inches.

This painting is significant to me because I painted it at a time where I was in a crossroads in my life. I wasn't really very satisfied with my life and had come to a point where a decision had to be made... the type of decision that takes 9 months to make and you don't realize you're even making it until you look back and realize how far you've travelled from where you started.

This painting is about withdrawing from one world and going into the unknown. The figure is walking away from us, and we can't see her face or what's ahead of her. I'm fascinated with painting people from behind because the first impulse when we see someone from behind is to try to see around to their face. And in this painting I deny the viewer the woman's face, and it creates a tension that pulls them in.

I also wanted to have an element of darkness in this painting. I didn't want to literally paint anything threatening into the image-- but by placing a woman into natural setting there is an implicit quality of vulnerability. Nature is wild and untamed, and dark forests hold the unknown-- the looming possibility of danger. But there is also a regenerative quality to them as well as a spiritual one. I think of this painting as sort of a fairy tale-- the moment our hero embarks on a journey into the unknown.

Because music is very much intertwined with my life and my paintings, I want to include a few songs that were in my head when I made this:

Earlimart - Treble and Tremble, "Tell the Truth, Pts. 1 and 2"
David Kilgour - Frozen Orange, "G Major 7"
Seekonk - For Barbara Lee, "Maps of Egypt"
The Dissociatives - The Dissociatives, "Lifting the Veil from the Braille"
The Shins - Oh, Inverted World, "New Slang"

Blogging my Paintings...

I've been struggling over writing a concise and accurate artist statement these days. Well months, I've been putting it off regularly. I feel my work is in state of change-- so it is hard for me to make statements on my body of work as a whole. Much of what I would say now about my work doesn't even apply to paintings I did earlier this year. And what's in my head now has yet to be seen on the canvas. So I thought I would do it my own way, and write a statement about each painting on my website (as well as all the details people ask like "How long did it take?') I'm gonna try to do this over the next week or two while I have some downtime catching my breath between shows. (Next show(s) to be announced soon, FYI. I have a couple things in the works...)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

switching gears... again

I'm doing a bunch of photos this week. I thought I would be back to painting now that my open studio show is done, but I think painting will have to wait just a while longer. (This is what happens without an impending deadline. There's a tiny show next month I think I might see if I can get in on, just for a deadline. But I'm procrastinating that as well.)

I'm taking photos these days. And not self portraits for once. I've been doing headshots off an on for a while as a side gig. But I wanted to do a little more so I've angling to take some publicity shots for musicians. And since I've been thinking along photography lines lately-- it is always my style to get carried away. Because I've already come up with several series worth of photos. (It's hard, everything I look at inspires me... it gets ridiculous because I can't keep up with myself. But I do this when I am concepting new paintings too... come up with 20+ at one time until I just come to the natural end of the line of thought.)

The photos series I'm going to do first was inspired by a trip to the 99-cent store (the best place for inexpensive inspiration, 2nd only to the fashion/garment/jewelry district downtown.)

I call it the "Bubble Gum Series", because it's going to be completely over the top with candy colors, childlike themes, playful feel, and a complete lack of seriousness. It's so easy to get serious with fine art portraiture. I want to do something all out goofy.

So it started by my not being able to afford photo backdrops at $40 each just for the 53in roll of photo paper. Let alone the apparatus to hold it up. So I went to the 99-cent store to have a look around, mainly for anything matte, and black or gray. They didn't have that. But I found other stuff: bright wrapping paper, table cloths, shower curtains. All perfect for backdrops. Then I found balloons. Ribbons. Childrens make-up. Very mundane 99cent stuff, but I always find that it's the simple stuff that is the most promising.

Now I'm saddled with the chore of coordinating my "models", mainly my friends and acquaintances who say "Sure, I'll up for that" and then promptly get busy with other stuff. Which means by Monday I'll be doing self portraits again.

Found out today...

Rudolf Arnheim passed away June 9th at age 102.

Monday, June 11, 2007


I'm tired, so tired.
I have sleep to do.
I have work to dream.

~Bill Knott, "(End) of Summer"

hmm... I should write more.

I've been missing for a while. Somehow months slipped by. But they were busy months, full of art, as well as annoying stuff like 15 yr old cars with dying transmissions, subways, working weekends, logistics of organizing a show, preparing for the show, having the show, and now recovering from the show (recovery means watching re-runs of shows on cable wearing pajamas at 5pm.)

I think I'm now into a new period of creative things. I'm going to paint more, photograph more, write more. I have to stop going in so many directions, and not rush. Deadlines are good though, but I've had too many lately. I just hope I don't get lazy without them for the next little bit.

Above is a commission I did recently in the middle of all the craziness. It came out great-- and I think I need to do more like it. It's mixed media (acrylic, gesso, gel medium, pages torn out of Franny & Zooey) & covered by a couple layers of UV gloss, on panel.

It of my friend Julie who was in a Franny & Zooey inspired movie I made a couple years back. For this piece I worked from video, which is unique. Actually I recently saw a show where the artist supposedly painted from video-- I don't know if he painted from video as it played or from a video still (I'm curious...). But for my piece, I captured a couple stills from a scene and superimposed them, and fiddled with them a little in photoshop-- and then painted from the photoshop image as well as a series of 3 still frames. I'm thinking video might be a cool way to work now, even from moving video. I have to play with it more. But I like having a digital step to my art-- even if there is no digital element literally in my work. I do all my preparatory "sketches" in photoshop now. Sometimes I sketch stuff and composite it in the computer (so I can move it around.) Other times it's photos. I can play with color and composition-- and it is much faster than painting a series of miniature painting studies. My teachers in school would have a heart attack about this though. And perhaps a miniature painting could serve a purpose too. But I have limited time, and I never allowed myself anything digital before... and I always had such purist art teachers who never planted the possibilities of technology in my head. But I'm sure had the Renaissance or Impressionists, etc. had photoshop-- they would have used it like crazy.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

new drawings

I posted some recent drawings on my flickr site. I started a 2nd sketchbook of more refined drawings of ideas I am working out-- some may become paintings. I needed a way to develop my ideas for paintings that didn't take very much time-- especially since my paintings can take anywhere from 1 month to 1 yr to make.

I've also been developing new paintings by composting photos and sketches in photoshop. That way I can move elements around. change color, change sizes, and pretty much play with infinite variations. I won't post any of these because they're ugly and they only come together in the painting.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

stir crazy

I've been in my house painting all day (well, painting and checking myspace) and I'm getting stir crazy. I want to go outside to stores and buy things. But I don't need anything-- except fresh air. I just need to paint paint paint.

Since the holidays I've been painting like crazy, and taking slides and submitting to things. I haven't had a moment to spare really-- just using every free minute to get things done. Today's the first day back painting after a mad stretch of self promotion. I feel rusty. The colors are all wrong and I'm getting too tight-- I think my paintings look better loose and messy-- but sometimes I start to get tight and I go too far and things start getting flat and one dimensional, like the face of a lady with a really bad face lift. It all gets muddled and lifeless.

I'm working on a new series of paintings which I should be done with soon since I've been working so much. Plus I'm submitting them to a show on Monday, so they have to be close to done by then. I got rejected from my first show of the year already as well-- but I'll stay positive, because I have so much better stuff happening that hasn't been seen by anybody yet.

For the time being, I just gotta focus on working and resist the urge to go on 5hr walks or to the mall to try on clothes. When I get frustrated with painting, I itch to quit and do something else but I've found that working through it is the best thing-- and when i learn the most. And it's no good to just paint when I'm in the mood to paint well. I'd only paint one month out of the year at that rate-- spread through out the year.