Building The New Empire
I don't know about you, dear reader, but I spend a lot of time ruminating and standing in the ruins. Some of the habit of rumination can be attributed to introversion, being highly sensitive, having survived trauma and abuse. But I believe a good portion of it is simply habit. My brain falls into replaying conversations, and dissecting what went wrong instead of working on building the new empire. Wiest's words are part of a larger writing which begins with this: Your new life is going to cost you your old one. Whoa.
And here we are - art imitating life, as the old paintings are obliterated by gesso and the new empire takes form on top of them. And again, whoa.
About the art: another piece emerging over top of a prior painting. Keeping to a limited palette and using mostly rubber wedge and palette knife and fingers, trying to capture mood and emotion. Resisting the urge to overly define her garment or the background, allowing the paint to move and suggest.
Art is visual storytelling. Each painting has something to say, or to hide, or to shine a light upon. These stories emerge from within - the stories the painter tells herself. Whoa.
I find myself examining those inner stories recently. The brain is a powerful tool, and the thoughts we think are mighty. Artists are notoriously riddled with self doubt, imposter syndrome, criticism and anxiety about their work, their talents, their value and contribution to society. I've got plenty of that. But if I see those thoughts, observe them and then ask myself what if I think THIS (or THAT) instead, they lose a bit of power and free up a space for bold adventuring without hesitation.
As this year begins to wane, I find myself asking what if I paint over everything and begin again? What does that story look like? And my brilliant husband, an extraordinary and insightful artist, reminds me there is beauty in destruction, too. So I begin, painting over, building the new on top of the ashes of the old, freeing space for bold adventuring. Oh, oh, oh. Here we go.
About the art: a board covered in black gesso, with multiple sketches and value studies on top. None of them were just right. So I grabbed the rubber wedge, the oil paint, the chopsticks and let the cosmos begin to reorder itself right in front of my eyes. My first real grid composition - something I told myself I would not like. And then I did. Oh.
The SUn Came Up Slowly
And so, though here in the studio I'm still exploring galaxies and worlds beyond, a momentary dive into portraiture and wistfulness seemed like just the thing. She's a sweet spirit. And she's got her eye on a spaceman emerging on a canvas across the room...:)
About the art: beginning with a linen canvas and white gesso. Using an notanized photograph as a jumping off point and gently sketching a portrait with colored pencil. Limiting myself to a color palette from a random floral painting in oils that I found online (turning it upside down to focus on the color inspiration, not the image) I placed light washes of darks with a rubber wedge, leaving lights for last. Blending with brushes, fingers and paper towels. Slowly adding thicker layers, then finishing her garb with a palette knife.
Soften While Still ALIVE
A newsletter from Andrew Simonet dropped into my in-box today, just as I was contemplating the business of art. This quote resonated with me, and I thought you might like it, too.
"Insufficient branding is not what makes an artist's life hard. Know why it's hard? Because artists do essential, arduous work that fuels everything in our culture, and we are consistently under acknowledged, under respected, and under compensated. That's why it's goddamn hard. Artists are not screwing this up. Artists are doing heroic work under intolerable conditions. This world extracts our creations and insights and abandons us economically."
For all of you out there creating, you are DOING HEROIC WORK! I see you. You look mahhhhhvelous. xo