The Hope of Myself
Oooooh there is nothing quite like a good romp up a mountain and over hill and dale to recharge the muse and fill the studio with bubbling good mojo again! I think the prescription here is: hike, paint, repeat. Again! Again!
The ability to "never hurry through the world" is elusive to me sometimes. It seems I am wired for productivity and movement. But moving through the trees for many hours takes that monkey mind and brings it to a quiet resting place. The need to hurry disappears.
Oliver's words resonate comfortingly during troubled times and excessive news consumption - let's be easy, be filled with light and shine.
About the art: this piece is painted over another portrait, and was a week-long wrestling match. At least a dozen times I had my hand on the gesso bucket, ready to erase her from the earth and start again. Once I got out of my head and let the paint have its way, this contemplative woman emerged and decided to stay. A lesson in letting go, embracing the flow and sometimes walking away for a day or two.
Flock Together (a sweet repeat)
This piece, which toured in a show with the Florida Watercolor Society and then reigned supreme at a local venue here in Portland, is back home in the roost. And it now seems perfect for the times.
We flock together in tiny, curated flocks of safe bubbles of family, and flock together in large, boisterous on-line flocks of like-minded spirits and humans striving to find meaning and connection in a wild, wild world. And yet, the "cat", be it pandemic, politics or persnicketiness, can also separate our flocks (small and large) and cause division. Now I have nothing at all against cats (I happen to adore them). But in this example, making sure the "cat" stays out of the roost is probably a good idea.
A month in Pictures
While the artist recovers from a marathon of expressive portraits (and plays hooky in the forest for a day or two), please enjoy a visual recap of last month's artistic journey.
And while you are gazing, consider this:
Where the scientist asks what equation would best describe the trajectory of an airborne rock, the artist asks what it would feel like to throw one." - David Bayles and Ted Orland, Art and Fear
Cabellut's artistic courage double-dog-dares me to be bolder in my pursuit of capturing emotion, while Whyte's words triple-dare-me to be courageous in love. And it's only Monday. :)
A pictorial history of the piece - acrylic on canvas gesso'd in black. Liberal use of water sprayer and squeegee.
About the art: Begin with a notanized selfie and restrict the paints to three colors (and a tiny accent color) and white. Slowly develop the layers, paint in the negative space, drag the paint with a rubber wedge. Resist the urge to smooth, to overly define or to fill in all the shapes. Paint from the shadows instead of from the features. And enjoy the feeling of butterflies. :)
About the art: beginning with a drawing in stabilo pencil and charcoal, jumping off to a canvas and allowing the paint to create happy accidents and textures, and also allowing the woman in the painting to define herself. In the drawing, an electric eraser was used to create vertical texture. In the painting, the same effect using a catalyst wedge through wet paint. Titled after singer Sara Bareilles, I think this one took something old and made it new, too.
Is Lion, Is Fed
Outside the context of the poem, the phrase is a reassuring mantra of strength and abundance to this leo woman, who sometimes needs reminders of her own ability to independently survive (and even thrive) during turbulent times.
When I put is lion, is fed back into the context of the poem, it reminds me of the wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh, who teaches us we are not separate from any other thing in the world. We are the lion, we are the eland, we are each other. It was announced earlier this week that Nhat Hanh, nearly 94 years old, has stopped eating and is preparing to depart. He, like the eland, becomes part of something else, and yet he, like us, was always a part of everything. Even you. Even me. There is comfort there.
About the painting: Beginning with an inspiration image (a woman, this time, used for posture and shapes, but not the face) and another Adrian Ghenie palette photo, then building layers and blending, moving, invoking happy accidents with rubber wedge, squeegee, paper towels and hands.
Break the Bridle
About the art: Beginning with a model image from Unsplash and an inspirational art piece from Adrian Ghenie, then using the abstraction wisdom of Pauline Agnew to create a rather sinister and emotionally impactful portrait. Can I say this is my favorite painting I've created? Yes, for now. Muwahaha. Welcome, October!
Intensely in the Moment
And, of course, it was week two of the Expressive Portraits course with Pauline Agnew, so feelings and paint became fodder for faces. In this particular piece, don't adjust your glasses or your computer settings - it is intentionally blurred. The requisite 80 million layers of paint, with several of the wet layers pulled left to right, up and down with a squeegee and a rubber wedge to draaaaaaaaaag the image into a slightly blurred perspective. Which has kind of been my perspective all week! So life imitating art imitating life. Whoa!
Another exciting auction weekend coming up with Artistic Souls Gallery! October 4-5. Here's a sneak peek at some of my offerings.