When bankers get together for dinner, they discuss Art. When artists get together for dinner, they discuss money. (Oscar Wilde)
I have an excuse for not doing pretty much anything that deals directly with performing in front of, near, around the general vicinity, or with other people. When I say “performing,” I mean drawing, painting, reciting – not singing, dancing or acting, as I would completely fall out if expected to seriously do any of those. Outside of a few karaoke ditties croaked out under the influence of many martinis, real performing doesn’t even pertain to me. But… to perform my craft in a classroom setting or plein air does, and it mortifies me.
I have made a decision, though, that it is necessary to “get over it.” I am a grown women, for Pete’s sake – I am not stuck in that nightmare where you go to school naked and are wandering the halls because you can’t find your locker. But, nonetheless, it takes a tremendous amount of anxious energy to drag myself to the arts center for open drawing studio time. I look forward to it until the day comes and I break into a nasty panic. I am proud of my work – I just can’t find my words when I have to talk about it and can’t seem to concentrate on my work or what my hands are doing if there are people anywhere close to me. As I get older, it seems I want to be around fewer and fewer people for a lesser and lesser amount of time. I love the isolation of my own studio – my own little cave. Wondering what could possibly make me such a wreck when I am doing what I love, makes me crazy and I wonder if I am just a great big crybaby dork, or if this is solvable without succumbing to Prozac. Hope to hear that I’m not alone on this – and any possible solutions… any other crybaby dorks out there?
Artists buy their fruits and vegetables in the Still Life section at the market. (Stella Violano)
This is so tragically funny and true! I seem to spend an exorbitant amount of time just eyeballing the produce at the market, only purchasing the most exceptional specimens. The colors are incredible! I find it difficult, sometimes to cut into the perfect flesh of an unmarred summer squash – the long, curved “neck” and swollen bulb of the “belly” – a crime to dismember her… When tomatoes are the fullest and with those adorable, leafy stems still attached, I buy tons of them – even when they are at the highest prices ever and when I will never be able to consume the lot of them myself, as they are beautiful, but bland. To see the beauty in the simplest things is the one of the most rewarding things I could ask for… I challenge anyone working in a cubicle to do it 🙂
I’ve been hibernating in my studio more in the past couple of weeks than I’ve been able to for months, now, and am cherishing every moment. Whether I am at the easel, drawing or just reading and blogging about it, I am here in my cave, breathing in the glorious odor of paint, mineral spirits and the coffee that is perpetually brewing. I’ve hung better lighting, which makes it all so much easier in the night hours to get the color right the first go around. Unfortunately for the other activities in my life, I have been neglecting what little social life I’ve had, but have been more productive and happy. I occasionally get those pangs of guilt, but then I can’t afford to jeopardize what I’ve been longing for – time to get out all that is twittering around in my head. It is not that I don’t enjoy the relationships I’ve made over the years, but I have learned to become selfish for my own good. My expressive creativity bears too many rewards to ignore when it calls. The sociability of artists is a paradoxical and precarious thing, and ceases the instant they begin their actual artistic work. – (R. G. Collingwood)
Thought I would blog quickly before I really dug too deeply in my studio. I have put aside several unfinished projects over the summer, as I was moving my studio location and trying to make it all fit together efficiently. Its comfortable at this point, although I am in desperate need of bookshelves and a good slab of glass to mix on – mine has transformed back into the patio tabletop 🙁
I will be digging my hands back into a small grouping of drawings/paintings on small, scrap woodblocks cut from the ends of lumber, as well as a 3 dimensional project using used materials that I started saving when I couldn’t bear to waste all these beautiful, although now “useless” metal castaways. My good friend and very talented artist, Susan Mulder works with a lot of used and discarded materials, creating the most beautiful and innovative work that reflects the beauty and organic core of women. Looking at her new innovations inspires me to really dig back into these old projects that have been shucked into all the corners and hiding places of my studio. Check her out @ susanmulder.com – you won’t be disappointed.
Tonight, I am on my way to finishing this painting – I am also still working on a large diptych from my For Your Entertainment series. My hands are full, but it’s a good full.
In a previous entry I expressed that I was deliberating over paintings and reworking them all in my head. I have to stop that because I need to keep producing and progressing instead of over-thinking and obsessing. My obsessiveness will have to transform some other part of my life – like maybe my house will become cleaner…? Another artist with a similar point of view seems to have to terms with this craziness – “A painting is never finished – it simply stops in interesting places.” – (Paul Gardner) I will adopt this concept to maintain a new painting on my easel and imagery flowing freely from my brushes, without looking back. Well, maybe a little.
Paul Gardner is a Scottish artist now working out of southern California. His work is amazing and beautiful – I wouldn’t change a thing…but it isn’t mine 🙂 Check out his work @ artlanegallery.com.
Sometimes I can rework the paint on my palette over and over, trying to find the exact color that is in my head. It isn’t that it is necessary to the integrity of the subject matter – I just want what I want and will work the paint until it is there, glistening and silky and has turned exactly the color I see when I close my eyes. It is rewarding. Nonetheless… I am in search of a Quiller wheel – like the one my Color class teacher from school had us use every time we even thought of mixing paint. She was crazy as a loon, but right on about color. I have other color wheels, but not the same as the Quiller wheel which, by the way, someone “borrowed” from my school studio- Quiller stealer. I will search one out online, as I haven’t found one locally. I think it may save me a bit of time – and precious energy, and I am in need of both. The imagery in my head seems to fade as my energy level drops…just like a video game. Need to fuel up at the coffee shop, now……mmmmmmmm.
Pinellas Park, Fl, I have found have found, has a farmers/art market on Tuesday mornings. Nice to find one that is not on the weekend and overcrowded… I will go and check out the wares next week. Also, in the Park Station building is an open painting studio open most of the day – a great treat for my Tuesday mornings (late mornings, that is) that are otherwise spent running errands and trying to get motivation and creative inspiration at the grocery store. I am looking forward to seeing the other artists in the area there extracting creative passions during the daylight hours with great hopes that I, too will become one of them. I know I can never give up my sacred studio time during the late night and wee morning hours, but surely painting with the daywalkers will secure my inspiration around the clock. Another dedicated block of forced creativity will train my lazy old body to put those beloved brushes to canvas when I tell it to. My better half insists that if art is the path I am truly destined to follow, then nothing would block my travels. He is right, and my aim is to keep walking forward and quit stopping to ask directions. I know the way – I just need to believe I do, just as he has always done.
I am up in the wee hours of the morning, examining the painting I’ve been working on. I am nearing the finish, or so I feel right now… a finish will be forced, as usual. I rarely can look upon a “completed” piece and feel that closure I expect. I have yet to judge a painting really, definitely complete. They may be framed, they may be sold, but they may not be “done”. I can let go, slowly to the emotion attached to each piece as it walks away, but not without wishing I would have had it back on my easel for a moment of final examination. I will finish this piece very soon, but not without re-attacking the other half of this diptych- again. It is still mine to control, to violate, to smear with emotion.
I have found an open art studio at the Art Center in downtown St. Pete. I went today, a bit nervous since I haven’t drawn a live model in quite some time, but was happy to find it extremely relaxing and satisfying. It was a great space. A large room full of artists, some more experienced than others, but all there with the same intensity and focus. All glowing with a passion for art and a need to create. It is the place I must spend my Saturdays, engaging with other artists and focusing on my craft. It is a definite and forced creative block of time during my week of chaos and perpetual excuses for not tapping into my beloved other world – the undomesticated, raw reality that I can escape to and create from within. I will look forward to open studio Saturdays at the Art Center to exercise my skills and prime my hand for the work ahead.