Thursday, February 2, 2017

I Don't Know

According to the mentor of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec in Louise Penny's mystery novel, The Long Way Home, four sentences lead to wisdom:

I'm sorry.
I don't know.
I need help.
I was wrong.

Today I'm thinking about how much I've let I don't know have space in my painting life.  More and more, I am able to paint from a place of not knowing. Doing so feels vital to me. And liberating.

I took the canvas I began mucking about with two days ago and kept playing with it yesterday.


Then, this morning my art friend Simone posts in her blog a link to videos by artist Betty Krause. JUST what I need to inspire me to let loose my wild side because, I have to say, Betty's approach makes even my most freewheeling creativity seem a little tight and self-conscious. 

Thank you, Simone.

Thank you, Betty.

I have five minutes at my disposal to play in my studio so I do whatever comes to mind/hand. Feels great. 

By feels great I mean I thoroughly enjoy myself. Get totally absorbed in the process. Love it. The changes-by-the-moment 'product' informs my intuitive mark making, but I realize the pleasure comes almost entirely from the doing, the making. Not from the product. I am unconcerned with what this painting might become. 

When I leave my studio I have a sketch. 


Kinda fun to look at. 

I like it for the journey it represents, and it pleases my eye more than where I left off yesterday.

But I'm not particularly attached to it.

I don't feel a need to 'make it work.' Don't feel a need to 'complete' it per se.

I just need to play with paint.

So that is what I'll do.


  1. THAT IS IT!!!

    I completely agree with that. I hope to be more and more in that flow.
    And: isn't Betty great?


    1. Watching Betty opens a door for me. I look back to when I began painting two and a half years ago—I couldn't have told you why I began to paint because I don't think I KNEW, at least not at any conscious level. But all the time painting was leading me to where I am now, and even now I can barely find words for the flow and the joy that are possible. For me, painting is a lot about letting go and letting in, about letting my truest inner self sing.

  2. This is wonderful Dotty. The pictures from your start (which was a lovely landscape) to today are a great visual record to have. Your line work has such variety - thicks and thins and such a spontaneous feel. You put a smile on my face reading those 4 statements from the Chief Inspector Gamache series. I am know anxiously awaiting book 13! I did want to ask if you have Virginia Cobb's book 'The Inner Eye' and what you think of it. I have her dvd, but have yet to watch it. Enjoy your day

    1. Janet, so much fun to hear from you today.

      You, of course, introduced me to the possibility of finding and showcasing 'vessels' discovered in starts that have nothing to do with vessels, and I thank you! This particular painting, as it appears above, is such a delight to me, but it's asking to keep journeying, so there's no telling where or when it might wind up.

      Glad that you already know Inspector Gamache!

      I just recently finished reading Virginia Cobb's The Inner Eye. I grabbed a few bits that resonated with me, and I've already made first primitive forays into using techniques that she presents. Overall, though, I think her book will be like a connected but brief conversation with someone I meet at a party but with whom I don't become fast friends. Let me know your thoughts once you've watched her dvd. Would love to hear.

  3. "I just need to play with paint." That is wonderful that you got to that stage! Real freedom That freedom shows in the sketch.

    1. Carol, thanks! The 'real freedom' comes and goes, comes and goes. As does my liking or not liking what I see in front of me!

  4. Hi Dotty- this looks like it would be such a great poster/enlarged painting in a restaurant!

    1. Laurie, first I have to say I sure am having painful withdrawal symptoms after having seen your art daily all through January : (

      Thanks so much for your feedback on my sketch. So helpful to have your eye opening mine to possibilities that don't even occur to me. I've already painted over the sketch but, no matter, right?, since I have the digital image.

  5. Love that... just the need to play!! Thanks for sharing the link. WOW, I love how she just squirts the paint onto her desk. How carefree and abandoned is that!! I know she has paper or palette there, but still. I love each of these views Dotty. And that first sketch.. so hopeful and reckless :)

    1. Thank you, Sheila. Hopeful and reckless, yup! I love that what evolved, shown at the bottom of the page here in this post, started much less promisingly with what appears at the top of the page.