Wanderlust – January 2018

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ve been seeing posts about paintings and Wanderlust 2018. Wanderlust is a year-long art journaling class that I was so excited to sign up for. I haven’t gotten into journaling yet, but I decided I’d do one painting a month using the techniques I’ve been learning. I thought that’d be better than just watching art videos every Friday night. đŸ˜‰

This has been a challenge for me. I struggle with painting. I kind of struggle with art in general. I have a hard time translating ideas in my head into a finished piece. I thought I’d share my art journey with you guys so you can see how sometimes things work out and why I think they don’t.

When I got the idea to do twelve paintings, I went into the studio and played with gesso and paint and misters and literally just played.

I felt like I painted the Universe by the time I was done.

January’s theme was Roads and Paths. I spend a lot of time on the highway commuting to my day job and I have a fascination with the views I have from the driver’s seat (Lee Friedlander really reinforced this). I took this photo for a school project and I just love the road scene.

I zoomed in for the detail. My vision isn’t *that* good!

I broke out a black marker and sketched knowing I’d be painting over the lines.

Preliminary sketch

One of the keys to making good art is having contrast. I blocked in the darks and lights using watered down black and white acrylic paint. The car in the upper left is my focal point.

It’s starting to become a thing!

All excited, I copied the reference photo to my phone and started painting. And I came up with crap. I suppose this is ok. It looks kinda like the photo. But it wasn’t the look I was after. I wanted something that had some vibrancy to it. Some life. Some bam!

There is no bam here.

I lost my enthusiasm for this project when I saw what I had done. I went from painting the universe to painting an exit ramp. I did not feel like I was a real artist. Maybe this is not for me.

The next day, I started thinking about the things I’ve learned in the art classes I’ve taken (thank you Tom Lynch and Robert Burridge). I started focusing on the focal point area (you’ll note it’s brighter than everything else) and setting the color of everything else to shades of blue.

They’re kind of odd looking cars, but it’s got some life now!

After some refining (the cars look a little more normal), this is the final piece.

Heavy Traffic. Acrylic on Canvas. 8×10.

I was feeling pretty good about myself after I finished it. I used techniques from classes I took over the last 10 or so years and I didn’t flat out copy the photograph or someone else’s style. I feel like I made this one my own. I felt like I really accomplished something.

I don’t know what I’m going to do with the series when I’m done. I will likely offer the originals for sale, but prints could be an option too. I’d love to hear what you think. Is this something you’d like to have hanging in your home? Comment and let me know!