Saturday, August 11, 2012

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway


Thats the title of a book I read in 1992, which forever re-positioned how I dealt with fear. Along those same lines, my favorite quote is by Eleanor Roosevelt "Do one thing everyday that scares you".  Well I had an ideal opportunity to deal with some real fears this past two weeks, painting in the middle of midtown Manhattan, en plein air. Sandwiched in Times Square, Bryant Park and 5th Ave. at 42nd Street (the NY Public Library), I was hired to paint the area - plein air only, for two weeks, 8 hours a day, part of a program offered to 4 selected local artists.  My gig ended yesterday and I was featured on the cover of the New York Times today - very nice payback for the grueling schlepping in 100 degree heat.

My big fear was less the intimidation of being surrounded by huge crowds of people, it was more an artistic fear - how do you paint people that are constantly moving? I became acutely aware of why most plein air painters choose landscapes. Mountains, trees and rocks don't move. People don't stop moving. Lets just say I had no choice but to figure it out, the hard way - by doing it on the spot - with no place to hide.

As it turns out, I got pretty fast painting one minute poses, often thats all the time I had to capture someone before they completely changed positions or left altogether. Memorizing was key, as was sketching fast, and also reconstructing (mentally) the physics of how the human body is put together.  Just like anything that is a great learning experience, it often happens at the expense of comfort. Well this wasn't comfortable on any level, and I learned more than words can say.

I will attach some of the paintings I did in upcoming posts. This one below was a 10 minute painting of people relaxing on the park lawn. They were not lying together like this, I just kept pivoting my easel around and capturing whoever was nearby.

New York, New York... if I can paint here, I can paint anywhere


"Lawn Loungers, Oil, 8x8"



8 comments:

Marilyn R Miller said...

Hooray!!!! I am glad you will be posting your paintings! I like the lounging figures! Such an interesting challenge.....I also enjoy reading your thoughts.... Congratulations on overcoming the fear!!!

Marilyn R Miller said...

P,S, I follow Auntie Eleanor's advice, doing something scary everyday... I get up out of bed and get dressed.

Bruce Bingham said...

Great press article Patti! Congrats! I knew what you painted would be great. I love the Lawn Loungers where you captured the essential info. Beautifully done! Looking forward to seeing more.

Margie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Margie said...

Excited to know someone who made the cover page of the Times. Congrats. Can't wait for you to post your paintings and hoping you will teach a figure class this fall in Nyack.

Barbara Pask said...

Wow , good for you. What a challenge! We do learn so much from new struggles don't we? Can't wait to see more photos and to end up on the cover of the Times, well how cool is that? congrats

Patti Mollica said...

Thanks for your comments, all! yes, we certainly do learn so much from struggles - its the best but least fun way to learn

Angie Brooksby said...

Hi Patti, that is fabulous. I bet you are gearing up for Tuscany. It would be so great to see you there.