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New Painting: Three Blue Fish

Though I have been out of school for numerous years (let’s avoid listing specific numbers, ahem), I still get a feeling of excitement at the end of summer. I enjoyed school and learning, so the upcoming school year presented a realm of rich possibilities. This week was back to school week for the Columbus area and I feel a little bit of the excitement creeping into my soul.

As my last blog post stated, it has been an emotionally difficult summer for me. Because this season has been straining, I’m ready for something new; for a change in schedule. As I reflect, I believe that’s why this ‘back to school’ season is affecting me more than normal. I’m ready for the possibilities and changes and scheduling that comes with a new start. (Not that I’m in school, but I’ll use the ingrained feelings to my advantage!)

And just like preparing for a school year, I bought new art supplies, mainly paint, and figured out a weekly schedule. My big changes were put in place last week and it was great!

I’ve realized that scheduling my time in 1/2 hour increments seems to help me stay on track. A year ago I tried to schedule myself in 15 minute increments and it was a DISASTER. I felt the constant need to watch the clock. Consequently, pressure loomed as though I was behind in a race. It wasn’t conducive for me, but the 1/2 hour approach seems to allow for flexibility and improvisation, if needed.

With my new paints and new schedule, I went to work on a new painting.

Last week was the prep work that included thinking, sketching, processing and planning. If there was anything I was scolded about in high school and college, it was my lack of sketching and planning. It was always so hard for me and still is – I just want to jump in and create! Thankfully, this week was the fun week of actually getting to put paint on the canvas. Here’s the end-of-week result.

Palette surgeonfish painting by Cortney North

It is a bit of a change from my abstracts, but it seemed like a natural creative jump. I have always loved fish and ocean life since I grew up near the beach. When I was younger, ocean scenes filled with fish, dolphins and orcas were the only subjects I drew.

Lately I’ve been batting around the possibility of painting non-abstract forms, but I had difficulty landing on what that form would be. Animals? Humans? Landscapes? I was undecided. Then, after a long talk with my husband who guided me towards domestic animals or fish, I looked at one of my recent abstracts that looked like an underwater scene. The decision was made.

It was a lot of fun to paint these three fish and I’m looking forward to doing more. I need to spend a few days not looking at the painting, though, in order to decide if it’s finished or if I need to make more adjustments.

With this painting, I’ve felt as though I’m combining my passions for design, animals and color with the added bonus of having fun while I work. That isn’t always guaranteed when I try something new. At the end of the day my head is still tired from thinking, processing and mixing colors, but it is a great form of tired.

So that’s a wrap up of what’s been going on in my studio. I hope you enjoy the painting and cheers to a happy weekend!



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