Painting = performance art?

Today I forced myself to carry out my ‘paint in public’ plan. Theoretically, it’s a great idea: I go somewhere famous and local and paint in public… people crowd around and I give them all my business card. It’s a way for me to get free and easy exposure. However, when I actually arrived at the Confucius Temple in Tainan today, having skipped breakfast,

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carrying too much junk (easel, paints, canvas, etc), drawing a lot of attention to myself wasn’t appealing. And let’s face it – as a foreigner in Taiwan, I already draw attention to myself. Setting up my easel and canvas is about the same as lighting myself on fire or screaming “LOOK AT ME!!”. Taiwanese people are naturally curious and won’t feel self-conscious about standing beside you and watching you paint – I know, I know, that’s the whole point of me being there, right?

But I’m an indoor artist. I don’t mind being in the spotlight – but painting in the spotlight… any way, I finally made myself set up, in a little corner, put on my headphones and ignore all the people that came up behind me and took pictures of me as I painted. Not very social. Definitely counter-productive to my intentions. I managed to finish this not terrible painting in a few hours – I did it without sketching or anything first. I’m trying to learn how to do impressionism; I’d like to make my own canvases rougher, darker, more alive. Obviously, I’m not that great at it yet. Next week I’ll go back and paint the same thing again, bigger, without the headphones.IMG_2806

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