Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Studio Update


I have always found that it takes enormous energy to paint, and when there is just too much chaos going on everywhere else, there is just not enough fuel in the artistic tank. However, this time of isolation has lead to a reading marathon, and I have been diving deep into my library of art psychology books. One completely simple and ground-changing epiphany has emerged. And that is this: 'I make art because it is part of my daily practice.'  A monk in an Asian monastery does his martial art forms every day without fail. He strives for excellence and mastery and even a form of transcendence. He does his moves like the mountain climber climbs a mountain--because it must be done--because it is there. He does not execute his moves thinking, 'Wow, when I get really good...I'm going to see how best to market this amazing skill." The Asian monk teaches me that some things are just done because they are part of my consciousness, part of who I am. I cannot express what peace and self-control this meditation brings.  I am going to make the art. That is my part, my pact with the Universe. I will let God decide where to take it from there.

Here is where the work in the previous post is today. It is still far from completed, but now the problems to solve are much more about technical elements instead of conceptual ones.The piece will be entitled, "Leaving the Promised Land." What has taken me so long has been figuring out the symbology in the bus windows, which is still in progress. I am also playing with a metaphor I have used in the past---layering objects one on top of another, like the peonies in the background. Eventually, I will make them even more transparent, more ghostly. Another challenge in this piece is painting a group of people. It's like doing nine portraits! The little girl sitting by her waitress mother has probably been painted over completely five times.

The theme of people being isolated in crowds and also on journeys seems to be a current fascination.  Funny note: my niece came over after not seeing her for several months,  and she thought I had started an entirely new painting she had never seen before. I actually began this work while we were making art together and had it in 'ugly duckling' stage many times while she was visiting. This happens often to many guests (and even my husband), and I find it a reliable indicator how much my work does indeed transform over time. 

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