Thursday, February 3, 2011

Funky Monkey

"Funky Monkey" -- oil on canvas 6x6" -- Margie Guyot

Started the day with the goal of painting 3 versions of this and only managed to paint one.  Some days are like that!  From Simplycupcakes in Traverse City, Michigan, it is described as:
Funky Monkey : A banana cake filled with peanut butter buttercream topped with chocolate ganache and more peanut butter buttercream and a banana chip.

The swirls: always a challenge!  Once I finish a painting, I like to turn the cupcake a little to get a different swirl pattern.  Why paint multiple versions of an identical scene?  That would bore me to tears.

Years ago when I was in a landscape painting class, the instructor took a dislike to me (? why???) and said, "Obviously this comes easy to you!"  Huh????  I was shocked.  I said, "No, it's hard for me.  I always set up and look at the scene and think good grief -- this is going to be tough!  But I just keep plugging along, figuring things out as I go."

Painting, for me, is like taking an algebra test.  When the instructor hands it to me, I initially freak out.  All those problems frighten me.  I flip through all the pages until I see a problem I think I can do.  I do that one, then hunt for another problem I can handle.  One solution feeds the next solution.  And so it is with painting.  I start out with a basic outline, very rough, to figure out where to place it on the canvas.  Then I figure out what space the frosting will occupy.  The paper cup -- how much does that cover?  And so on.  I have to control my panic when figuring out the twists of the frosting.  Then I start in on the darks.  It all goes like that, working from dark to light.  For most of the painting process, it looks pretty bad!  But, like Clyde Aspevig told our class one time, while doing a demonstration painting, "This is the point at which beginners would quit.  But I know how to fix it!"

That's why I tell people, "Making a good painting involves learning how to control your panic!"

Betty Edwards, in her book, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain", teaches how you can learn to ignore that part of your brain that wants to tell you it looks awful! You can't draw!  Great book!  It changed my life.

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