Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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04/09/2006: "The Burden of Dreams"

Tonight I watched The Burden of Dreams a documentary about all the problems Herzog Werner overcame in order to make the movie Fitzcarraldo; it was unbelieveable...and he never gave up, never backed down, never compromised; even when everyone had given up he said he'd either finish the film or die trying (he wasn't speaking metaphorically). I'll never feel sorry for my own wasted artistic efforts again!

Speaking of which, last night I stayed up late "working through a cramp" as Howard put it. I kept working and working on one painting without making any progress; when I finally passed out on the couch at 4am it looked nearly identical to when I had started! First thing this morning I started in on it again -tired and cranky as hell- but like magic, at some point into my third cup of coffee, my brush took on the muscle memory of an actual painter, and it all fell into place...I felt that sweet sweet moment, like a switch clicking on. You know that moment? Ahhhh

After a post-coital smoke (joking!) , I took a break to visit Rob at the Two Crows gallery. I love hanging out with someone who is as into painting as I am but is funny and not too serious about it all. It's good for me; he even gave me some acrylic glazing medium to try out.

Back in the studio I applied my "Dawn of the Dead" standard for the rest of the day, i.e. I only allow myself to work on a painting for the length of Dawn of the Dead (to keep from overworking it) works amazingly well. I'm even painting in a slightly different way, that I feel is an improvement though there are times I know that I make compromises because doing it the best way would take too long and I hate myself for that...after all, what would Herzog do?

Replies: 10 Comments

on Monday, April 10th, Kasia said

Painting in a different way? Can we see your works?
I loved Herzog's "Aguirre, der zorn gottes",but i never knew he was so far from compromises. I wish I were at times.

on Monday, April 10th, Howard said

There's the film "Lost In La Mancha", about Terry Gilliam's failed attempt to film "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote". It was one disaster after another ending with a flash flood that finally did in the entire movie.

on Monday, April 10th, Elise said

Hey Kasia, do you mean that you wish you were better able to compromise? Or that you wish you compromised less?

And Howard, Terry Gilliam is one of my favorite directors so I'll be sure to check out Lost in La Mancha (also, my sailboat is named Rozinante) I have always wanted to be a director and I actually did get to direct one small project, but after watching that film I thought...NO WAY IN HELL! What a nightmare.

on Monday, April 10th, Elise said

Oh, and Kasia, I will post some picutres soon. When I say a slightly different way, it's that I'm using a smaller brush to make teeny tiny brush strokes on my figures, almost like shading with a colored pencil. You can't tell if you're standing 5 feet away, only when you get up close...but it sort of mellows my figures out a bit.

on Monday, April 10th, marja-leena said

Excuse my ignorance, is "Dawn of the Dead" a song, a film??

Glad you've had a breakthrough!

on Monday, April 10th, Elise said

Hey Marja-leena, Dawn of the Dead (the remake) is a zombie movie. It lasts almost 2 hours. I "watch" it a lot while painting. Mostly it's just on, sortof in the background.

on Monday, April 10th, Jackie said

E: I can imagine your audience's thoughts now (well, those of us who don't already know how much you adore zombies): "how can someone who paints lovely nudes and landscapes watch a zombie movie while painting?" :laugh:

Glad you are 'unstuck"! It happens to all of us. I find if I get a change of scene, or do something totally different, it helps. SOmetimes I organize things, to use another part of my brain. Or go for a walk on the beach, or wherever there is nothing to distract my thoughts, and they can just run. It is furstrating to get stuck when what you are really in the mood and mental state for is to make art!

on Monday, April 10th, Elise said

I need to get my DVD player fixed so I can have a bit more diversity. I watch DofD so much because I have it saved on my Tivo drive.

Also, I'm glad that I'm (temporarily at least) unstuck.

I think it's more frustrating to want to paint and not be able to, than not having the desire/ideas to paint to start with. That's frustrating and scary in a different way.

on Monday, April 10th, berry bowman connell said

post coital smoke?

Glad ya got the artist's rush, gal. Especially if'n the paints were torturing ya earlier. I'm glad to find out I'm not as odd a duck as I felt,....I like to put on bourne supremacy and children of dune on the dvd while I paint.
Just to listen to.

on Monday, April 10th, Elise said

Oooh, I like those two movies as well! I told a fellow artist this weekend that I "watch" TV while I paint and he acted like that was sacrilege!
though really it is more just listening than anything, though I'll look up if I know a particularly good bit is coming up.