Tag Archives: Abstract winter landscapes – paintings

Thirty-in-Thirty: Day Twenty Two

Rattled Birch ⓒ 2013 Michaela Harlow - 15 x15 - Pastel & Pencil on Paper

Rattled Birch ⓒ 2013 Michaela Harlow – 16″ x 16″, Pastel & Pencil on Paper

One of the many things that thirty-in-thirty accomplishes for me is that it forces me to stop seeking perfection in my work. When I’m focused on doing —the process of painting and drawing— and not on expectations, I lose myself. Letting go of my ego —pre-conceived ideas and anticipated outcome— and returning to a sense of joy is the most important part of this exercise. I rediscover why I paint: I paint because it feels good.

Rattled Birch ⓒ 2013 Michaela Harlow

Rattled Birch ⓒ 2013 Michaela Harlow – 16″ x 16″, Pastel & Pencil on Paper

It’s surprising to me, that this rigorous work schedule and focused discipline can bring freedom and happiness —but in my experience, this is absolutely true. The less I think about going into the studio —torturing myself with self criticisms, worrying about whether or not my work is good, or if I am growing as an artist— the happier I am to go into the studio and just work. Just work. Don’t over-think, Michaela. Just work. Let your mind go and the rest will follow. And that is exactly what happens. I just begin to work each day and eventually, even on the days when my mind is a bit noisy, I find my zone —my flow— and suddenly I am filled with happiness. The result of this crazy, daily exercise is that I force myself to paint for the sake of painting itself; to just do it. And lo and behold, all of the obstacles fall away, and I find that work feels like play again.

How awesome is that?

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Thirty-in-Thirty: Day Twenty One

Winter Wind ⓒ 2013 Michaela Harlow

Winter Wind ⓒ 2013 Michaela Harlow – 16″ x 16″ – Pastel & Pencil on Paper

Today was very cold and blustery, but the sun came out, illuminating swirling clouds of fine snow. The landscape looks soft, in spite of the biting conditions outside my door (beautiful to look at, but not so fun to walk in). I spent most of my day indoors, working in the studio.

I finished this piece early in the afternoon and continued work on an oil painting. Next month I will be focusing on larger works in oil on panel, and reducing my studio time and blog posts to three or perhaps four per week. I feel like I’m ready to jump off the paper.

Winter Wind Winter Wind ⓒ 2013 Michaela Harlow - Pastel & Pencil on Paper (matted)

Winter Wind ⓒ 2013 Michaela Harlow – 16″ x 16″ – Pastel & Pencil on Paper (matting a few to check fits)

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Thirty-in-Thirty: Day Twenty . . .

January Half-Light ⓒ Michaela Harlow, 16 x 16 Inches, Pastel on Paper January Half-Light ⓒ 2013 Michaela Harlow – 16″ x 16″, Pastel on Paper

In addition to taking out the power for half the day, yesterday’s wind brought along colder temperatures. Gone are the soft, moody mornings; the fog, frozen mist, snow squalls and honey light. Today was grey and dreary; the kind of day you can’t really get warm, no matter how many cups of tea you make.

No walk for me today. Instead, I remain inside, conjuring up memories of better winter days…

January Half-Light ⓒ 2013 Michaela Harlow - 16 x 16, Pastel on PaperJanuary Half-Light ⓒ 2013 Michaela Harlow – 16″ x 16″, Pastel on Paper

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