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Torn between two Worlds

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

                       To celebrate the world of nature and man in nature, and the fact I could paint it,   began my professional career as an artist.   I bought all the books I could afford on wild animals.  I went to the zoos and photographed.  I got the art degree. I painted in metaphors, serpentine and surreal, lusty, languid and dreamy, all the animals, birds, and nudes I could produce.   I moved to a resort town and sold well.  Without a clue where it was going, I painted on. 

With so much to corroborate man’s inhumanity to nature, the books and the zoos of the 1970′s showed mankind was “winning”.  Big picture books of prized game celebrating gorgeous animals slaughtered, big giraffes crammed into small stalls at zoos, the wild world getting smaller, my paintings became crammed.  My birds wore chains.  Metal bars became my forte.   The better I became at painting bars, the more they filled my canvas.  I went back for a Master’s Degree to find new direction.

Ha!  I received an M.F.A.   My mother always told me, be careful what you wish for.   Note from the wiser – be very careful in your quest for education in fine art.  If you have a gift, treasure it.  Look for short workshops in your specific techniques. Understand that any goal to find your painting guru is a myth.  

My quest landed me, a 70’s nature-loving surrealist, in the hands of last generation’s  Abstract Expressionists for three long years.   I painted nothing for the next nine. Your guru lies within.

Priorities counted on one hand

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

That is 5.  Five.   My five priorites in  painting ?     good paints, clean, sexy brushes, a flat, well-primed surface, the right light, and music to set the mood.  My five priorites in a  completed work ?  - proficiently executed color, design, and paint application, surface finish, the feeling it is completed.  That’s it.  It blows my theory on five being the crucial number.

Oh well.   I must mean five is the number of priorities I can handle at any one time in my life.   When my children were growing up, my folks were alive, I was married, there were three before I even got out of bed in the morning.  Add a house and my small art business, there you have it – all tidy and bundled together.  Now that my children are grown, I’m divorced, my parents are dead, I sold the suburban house, that bundle of priorities is done.

What they are now?   My new husband, our sandhill with cows  we call a ranch, my  friends & children, my painting, and this  book-keeping nightmare of the last nine years that has pulled me into a quagmire.  I am an artist and not cut out for spreadsheets, files, converting files to other files, calculations, letters of re-dress.   My mother used to say Hell, if she ended up there, would be stacked with paper – big files, and no end to them.  (I am sure she has gone paper-less”), but here I am in her stead.  It is eerie to feel like her hell has been passed to me.   What I wish for is my desire to paint  to take the fore again.  TRUST             24X36   103

When is a painting enough?

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

When is a painting enough was not a real question for me before so much documentation of the process.  To get the 35mm negatives processed was a real process.  A week or so would pass and my painting could have evolved beyond all recognition by the time the prints were back from the photo lab.  Now my paintings at all stages move through my screen saver to reveal moments in my works when it appeared the painting had reached its completion.  It was enough.  Of course, not realizing the time had arrived, the painting moves into another stage…enough is no longer there.  More work.  Is it the transfer in medium that confuses the artist’s eye?  The work in pixels  isn’t the same as the work in paint, obviously, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t as valid.  We drown in image overload.

At a particular angle, a mirror on my stairs reflects the image of  a large 6’8′ painting of mine of animals in a surreal landscape, the usual -oil on canvas.  It is lit by track lights.  The dark staircase wall comes alive with the reflected painting.   It is very 3D, high color, and totally captivating.  There is an art form in the making somewhere between paint and light. How to combine light into the presentation and maybe even the creation of a painting is what captures my imagination often.  As yet, no solutions – so quick to say, “I don’t know” which rescues my brain from making an effort to search one.

today my world is too small

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

The sheer number of my canvases in the square footage of my studio can totally discourage me from creating more.  It is so much a matter of perspective what I do from here-reminds me of a similar situation with my summer clothes which are currently preventing any transition for me to donn the fall look.  Stuffed closet, stuffed drawers, no more hanging space, tons of T-shirts and shorts, some of which never even saw the summer sun, stifle my desire to even find the fall clothes that I shoved into some bags and trunks and last spring stuck into the darkness of our storage room.  All of matter of perspective, or more correctly, procrastination.    Moving just three of the large canvases off my easels into a hallway off my studio has totally opened new opportunities.  Taking a stack of my T-shirts and cutting some up for paint rags, giving some away, and going to our store room with the rest has totally opened up more opportunities.  I am now writing this in long sleeves and a sweater vest and anticipating what creative thought  my studio space can once again engender.

The Black Hats continue to evolve.

Monday, September 1st, 2008

The Black Hat series of paintings came about as portraits I began to paint. They are about everybody I have known, loved, glimpsed, studied, met, left, loved, envied, pitied, lost, passed, missed, confronted, avoided, wanted, stopped for, waited on, sat with, and more.  There is always one more I must capture, at least, so far.  The latest two in progress are the best I have done, but I always think that!