As a photographer, I’d often heard this quote by Henri Cartier-Bresson…Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst. When I look back at my images over the past seven years, I couldn’t agree more with his statement. I probably took ten thousand, if not more, in my first three years of photographing. Every once in a while I’ll go looking for an image and find myself thinking…”omg…that’s horrible! It has no composition, it’s not in focus!” and so on and so forth. But, it’s also very fulfilling to see my improvement over the years. I’m sure I’ll have some of the same thoughts several years from now as I glance over images from 2016! It’s all part of the process, right? And then recently I read that for painting – it’s your first 100 paintings. What immediately came to mind? OMG…that’s a lot of paint!
So here we go!
Before I left Arizona to return to New York, the three white canvases started their new beginnings with the oversight of Georgia O’Keeffe. <smile> Having experienced several breathtaking sunsets in Arizona during the week, I was inspired by the sky’s evening color palette for my first canvas on the far left (above) and as shown below.
The second canvas was just to experiment with a number of items that I’d collected in my backyard to use as natural paint brushes. I’d always wanted to try various plant materials just to play and see what worked and what didn’t.
Several items didn’t work at all. A couple were ok, but didn’t work well enough to use again. A couple items were really pretty cool. When I return to the desert this winter I’ll try more natural items as it was a very fun process to work through.
The third canvas on the far right was just to use up leftover paint instead of throwing it away. It’ll have a totally different color palette, but as I move along with this process you’ll see that the first couple of layers will have little to do with the overall finished pieces. So they all have experienced their new beginnings!
In my readings and studies of “intuitive” painting (more on that in a future post) I came across this beautiful poem by John O’donohue that speaks so perfectly to this transition into a new beginning. Perhaps it’ll have meaning for you as well.
A Blessing for a New Beginning
In out of the way places of the heart
Where your thoughts never think to wander
This beginning has been quietly forming
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire
Feeling the emptiness grow inside you
Noticing how you willed yourself on
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the grey promises that sameness whispered
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.