Friday, December 18, 2015

Sitting with I Don't Know

Yesterday I started playing with an abstraction.

I return to it today, kinda stumped, thinking, I don't have a clue.

Yesterday's exercise doesn't feel complete. That's as much as I know.

I am hesitant, at a loss.

I sit until eventually I feel more comfortable with I don't know. I reach for paint. Mess about. Get more venturesome. Wreck—without meaning to—parts of my painting that I'd liked. Fiddle with wax pastels. Create some softnesses that appeal to me. Go back to paint. Move over to ink. Shift to oil pastels.

I feel the energy of incubation.

And now, this piece—this exercise, really; this stretching and lifting and breathing—feels complete. I think I know more than when I began, even though I don't know what that might be.

Lines from Cynthia Voigt's novel A Solitary Blue pop into mind:

This had been the pattern
of his days on the back creek, too:
he would move the boat out
until he felt more frightened
than he had the courage to match;
then he would anchor
and wait.

Days on the Back Creek
8x10", acrylic, wax pastel, ink, oil pastel on poster paper
[not for sale]


  1. Lovely words, and Dotty I love what you have created :)

  2. Thanks, Sheila! I'm amused to be receiving and responding to your comments at this hour—it's 151a here on the east coast where I seem to have insomnia. I saw my post come into my inbox and then your comment just moments later! Maybe we'll both be asleep soon, dreaming of painting : )

    1. Hi Dotty, I usually receive your posts at around ten or half past, my time (southern California). I must have caught tat one before shutting everything down :) I have been waking up at odd hours or the last week or so. Yes, here is to sleeping well for us both :)

    2. I've slept better for the past several nights. Hope you have, too. I anticipate another good night tonight, after the high intensity interval training class instructor Shannon put me through this morning! Plus, the tutoring I do finished up yesterday for the holidays and won't resume till the new year, so I feel palpably more relaxed : )

      And now it's bedtime for me here on the east coast. G'night!

  3. This is great...I love the glow around the black. Wonderful words, too!

    1. Thanks, Laurie. I was just this morning thinking about your art in relation to this piece—I'm toying with cutting it up and seeing what evolves. Fun to have you appreciate the glow around the black. Thanks, too, for your appreciation of my words. I've recently had the great pleasure and honor of working with a 7th-grade boy on the writing part of an art blog he's started.