Thursday, December 29, 2016

Community-Wide Read

Ever participated in a community-wide read? Typically, people in a town or institution come together through the reading and discussion of a common book. 

Sylvia and I participate in a community of two: ourselves! 

We've been friends for 40+ years and we've lived 1000 miles away from each other for about 35 of those years. Many times one of us will get two copies of a book, send one as a gift for the other's birthday or other occasion, and keep the second copy.

Sylvia got us Natalie Goldberg's Living Color this December.

Yesterday I wrote about my experience of abstract art. Today I opened Living Color, pulled out my bookmark, and started reading where I'd left off in Goldberg's narrative. Here's what I bumped into:

Fear rippled through my body. How, I thought, does a painter just paint? Where does it come from without an outside image—a horse, a plane—to draw first? How does one trust standing before a blank canvas? Each thought brought more fear. I am afraid, I told myself. I am afraid of the void … I want to paint without lines. Others have done it. Why should it be so frightening? (p. 123)


Like Goldberg, about a year ago I found myself wanting to just paint. Without an outside image. And I keep wanting to, inviting myself again and again to stand in front of the void. Recently, I did so on the largest scale I'd ever done. Not easy. Not for me.

Today, I worked on a small scale. Started with a 4x5" card that I'd half-covered with stripes in October. Wondered where it would lead me, where I would take it.

Hangin' With Natalie
4x5"; acrylic, collage, ink, and wax pastel on manila stock


  1. Dotty you did it again. Introduced me to a fabulous artist. Oh and a terrific book. Thank you!
    I love this vibrant creation! Love the plowed fields, the winding roads, the window to an alternate universe... a cool, calm meadow with a deep blue lake.
    Thinking I would very much like to see your trove of WIP's. :)

    1. Sheila, you did it again: really fun interpretation!

      Come on over, we can look through my trove of WIPs. I'm discovering that one of the outcomes of my high-production Jane Davies class is that I have dozens and dozens of pieces that can stand in their own right but can also be looked at as starts or cut into pieces to make even more starts. And I'm discovering that I love having starts at hand that have been sitting around for a bit losing their charge (which is to say I don't feel attached to them)—I love picking them back up and taking them to a new place without having to start with a completely blank page.

    2. You continue to be an inspiration Dotty. So glad To have found you :) (And such a lovely story about your friendship.)

    3. Always glad to inspire!

      Even more glad to have found you, too, although you really found me! When you responded to entries I made in the Sep 2015 30in30, you opened a door that changed my painting life in so many wonderful ways. And your continuing online/art friendship has been a gift in so many wonderful ways. So many blessings for both of us.

  2. Where to start, such an informative post! It is amazing that your painting is so small but gives a large canvas impression, especially when I open it on a new window on the browser and enlarge it almost to the size of the monitor! Wonderful dancing line to hold everything together. Thank you for the link to to your friend, Silvia. Love here work and would love to follow but couldn't find where! And the book... what can I say.. I am ordering it today... from Book Depository (they have free shipping around the world). Actually they are owned by Amazon!! I don't know how you share your reading, but quite a while back, I was on a photography forum at My Janee . and we had a group where we would discuss PS books chapter by chapter. She had challenges, and still has many tutorials for PS. That was where I first learned my PS skills, with Elements. I earned a couple of trophies, have to look them up on my computer somewhere or on a disk. HAVE A GREAT NEW YEAR!!!!

    1. Thanks for all your comments, Carol. Scale is kinda funny on a computer screen, isn't it? Photographed images seen on a monitor can have so little bearing on the actual item that was photographed. Thanks for your pointing out how the "wonderful dancing line hold[s] everything together." In the creating, it was no more than an experiment to see what the drip/fling properties of my Home Depot paint might be. The paint didn't do what I was hoping but that is probably because I have only a teeny quantity, was working on a small canvas, and was using a small implement. Experiments will continue. Thanks for introducing me to My Janee. I hope to poke around later, although I don't even own PS! Hope you can find images of your trophy-winners to share.

  3. Book ordered and actually was cheaper then on Amazon, + free shipping!!!