Friday, January 12, 2018

Tucking In

Year after year I talk about wanting to hibernate during the cold and dark of winter.

It occurred to me recently that neither the culture at large nor any one individual is going to make space for me to do so. I am the only one who can make that happen.

So I said to myself, Just do it!

Myself has listened: I am going to slow down my pace and dial way back for the next two weeks or so. No painting (did I just put that in writing?!), no blog, no Instagram, limited email, gentle yoga, simplified routines, fewer lists, more follow-my-nose puttering.

I'll see you on the other side!

detail from a snowscape
2015

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Placeholder

When our wild-child Bomb Cyclone Winter Storm was forecast last week, I wasted not one second before securing essential supplies—made an immediate beeline to my local library (not the grocery store for this gal). Because do not ever leave me without a stack of books at the ready.

Ever.

Transported my satisfying haul back home and indulged in a favorite followup activity—pulled out my stash of handpainted bookmarks and matched each book with just the right placeholder.

So satisfying.

---

Painted a new bookmark today. Actually, to be more precise, I took handpainted collage papers and cast-aside painting studies and collaged a bookmark.

Don't You Cut Your Visit Short on Our Account
1.75x6.5"; acrylic, oil pastel and collage on paper
abstract
2018

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Curiouser and Curiouser

Curiosity was the name of the game with this originally-Pepto-Bismol-pink canvas.

What if?

What if?

What if?

I don't know what to think about where I've landed after today's time in my studio. The words of Lewis Carroll's Alice keep coming to mind: "Curiouser and curiouser!"

Here's my current what if—what if I prop this piece in a snow bank, snap a photo in late afternoon January sunshine, entitle it Without Wondering Where the Bottom Will Turn out to Be, and let it be complete in this moment?

Without Wondering Where the Bottom Will Turn out to Be
8x10"; acrylic, latex, ink, and pastels on canvas
abstract
2018



Tuesday, January 9, 2018

When I Paint, I Come Home to Myself

A patch of winter sunlight coming through the window.

The scritch and friction of an old brush I haven't used for over a year.

Visual surprises on my canvas.

Drips of ink.

The tactile satisfaction of smoothing a piece of collage in place.

The patterns my body traces in space as I move through my studio while painting—an ephemeral companion piece to the one on canvas.

The sanctuary and solitude.

The collaboration of mystery and magic.

free canvas #2
8x10"
work in progress

Monday, January 8, 2018

To Unfold Exactly

Deep inside, almost from day one, I've trusted my art to unfold exactly as it will unfold. 

My shallow outside, however, gets a little antsy and doubting at times, wanting to direct and control more than trust. Wanting to hurry things along or achieve a particular result. But for the most part, it is also surprisingly trusting. 

Really, what else can my art do but unfold exactly as it will unfold?

Jane Davies recently wrote about painting studies she'd done, saying: To me, it is important that these "studies" have no pressure on them to BE anything other than the result of a process. If they went directly into the wood stove now, it would be fine; their purpose has been served. I've made them, and I've looked at them.

Those words stopped me in my tracks. I might trust my art to unfold as it will unfold, but I do get attached to outcome.

I would LOVE to experience what Jane describes, to engage wholeheartedly and fully in studies that need be nothing other than the result of a process, to generate pieces that could go directly into a wood stove having served their purpose, with no backward glance from me, no pang of indecision, no grasping. 

My first impulse? Make it happen! do it! set it as a goal! start now! …

Oh.

Yeah.

Trust.

That experience will either unfold in my life or it won't.

Today I painted happily and freely, wonderfully open to intuition and play and experimentation. I was so content in quiet timeless flow in my teeny studio in my little house in the deep cold of winter.

free canvas #2
8x10"
work in progress

Friday, January 5, 2018

That's How We Roll

Please laugh with me. 

We just finished up holiday breaks—public schools had ten days off, private schools as many as 18, those in the workforce a good handful. 

After which, kids went back to school, adults back to work. 

After one or two days of that … everything closed down for a good old-fashioned S*N*O*W D*A*Y!

Actually, two. 

Might as well get a long weekend out of the snow because, ya know, we won't have any days off again until … the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. weekend one week from now.

That's how we roll here in New England!

---

In my studio today I continued working on the edges of 'free canvas #1' and then picked up another free canvas from my stash to use as a repository for a small bit of paint left on my palette.

 free canvas #2,
8x10",
as already primed with hot pink
when I acquired it from a free yard 'sale'
first marks on free canvas #2

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Hunkered In

It's rare that the word susurration finds its way into my life. I've never used it.

But I might.

We've got a "powerful bomb cyclone" winter storm underway today (bomb cyclone??). Hour after hour, snow piles up outdoors.

Indoors I am cozy. Dry. Warm.

The wind has not been ferocious (nor perceptibly cyclonic) here but a steady background sussuration—a whispering, murmuring, and rustling—of winter wind keeps me company. A susurration and the intermittent thunk-and-scrape of snow plows. A January concert.

In my studio, I play again with yesterday's canvas because I don't like the wrapped edges painted black after all. In deference to my headache (now that's a bomb cyclone!), the main symptom of which currently is that I can't tolerate the discomfort of wearing my glasses, I work for only a short time and half-blind. I mix up some titanium white and bright aqua green and spread it over all the edges with my finger. Then I transform one edge with oil pastels.

Thunk, scrape, whisper.

Aaaaahhh.

edge detail
edge detail
edge detail