Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Not Knowing, Still Going

I am still immersed in just-keep-going-until-I-like-it with Just Kidding. I really don't have a vision for this piece, which is exciting to me. Even when I feel uncomfortable, at the same time I'm comfortable enough to open my arms. Not knowing is where I want to be. It's what I welcome.

I'm noticing the back-and-forth of painting: painting freely, making deliberate choices, painting freely, making deliberate choices. Back and forth, back and forth. Much as I hunger for the painting-freely side of the equation, because it is less intrinsic to my nature and is so lovely, both sides have to work together. The beginning bits of a painting can be exhilarating—making marks purely from intuition and a sense of experimentation and play. Eventually, though, something emerges and calls for a different kind of attention, a more conscious direction, a more thoughtful approach to choices.

What's really been fun with Just Kidding is that I do keep going back and forth. Both types of modus operandi have distinct pleasures, one very free and open ended, the other more intentional and purposeful. I paint whimsically and then I see something I want to investigate. My investigation is targeted. It heads in a direction. If that direction eventually leads me to a painting I like, something that feels right in my heart and bones, I'll stop. If not, I'll keep going, boldly 'undoing' all the thoughtful efforts I just made; I'll start freely splashing paints on my canvas once again to loosen everything back up.

I don't feel invested in any particular outcome with this piece. For as long as this bit of canvas-board real estate holds my attention, I'll photograph what looks OK-but-not-great so as to have a record, and then let it go by painting over it.

I've developed several areas with oil pastel and added more black ink, and I like much of what is emerging in this piece, but …

Just Kidding 2817 [working title]

11 comments:

  1. I love so much how you describe the flow between the intuition and the conscious decisions. Things i experience in my own work. Getting that balance, that´s the game.

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    1. Now on the big screen and blown it up so I can see all the intricate colors and scratches. Just bought my daughter Writing Down the Bones in Hebrew. She writes, mostly poetry.

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    2. Carol, glad my discussion of the flow between intuition and conscious decisions touched you. I've been thinking about that back-and-forth pendulum a lot recently. Glad you had a chance to see my WIP on the "big screen"! Gosh, I haven't looked at Writing Down the Bones in decades. Awesome that your daughter writes poetry.

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  2. This is so interesting hearing about your thoughts as you work on your painting. When you talk about painting freely and then making a deliberate choice it sounds very similar to making a mark and responding to that mark. Something that will stump me sometimes - perhaps better to just go with the flow - like you are and things will reveal themselves as one paints and in a beautiful way! Your writing and how your work Dotty is a true gift. Will look forward to seeing and reading more as 'Just Kidding' continues to unfold!

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    1. Janet, thanks for your comments. Not sure how clear my writing actually was! This post was a little tricky to write. Often I can go for what feels like a good stretch, making marks and responding in one continuous intuitive flow. In such a stretch, while any one response may have something deliberate about it, the response is made almost instantly and I don't have awareness of any 'goal' in mind. Then, the piece might start 'looking like something,' in this case a landscape of some sort, and I find myself keeping that 'goal' of landscape in mind as I move forward; I start being more deliberate and conscious about working towards that end, of making the piece 'work.' What's been fun with 'Just Kidding' is that even when I have a goal it feels temporary. I work with the increased deliberateness and consciousness towards my goal, knowing that doing so is no more and no less than an opportunity to see what happens, and knowing that there's a good chance the piece will get covered over, and I'll be starting the process again. In any case, I appreciate your kind words about my writing and how I work, and I love having you along for the ride looking forward to the unfolding.

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  3. Hi Dotty,

    So nice to read your story about this freedom/control issue! Also very nice to read your reply to Janet and Janets answer itself.
    I have all kinds of vague thoughts in my head, but they are so abstract that I hardly can express them in English...

    I think for me this whole journey is a lot about letting go, letting things happen and controlling, or taking the lead. Maybe I can see it as a tango-dance. Sometimes I am leading the painting, sending it in the direction I choose, and then the painting is leading me, I let myself guide by my deeper impulses.

    A neverending journey...

    Thanks!

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    1. Simone, loved reading all your thoughts above. It crosses my mind right now that freedom and control are perhaps the far points of each end of the spectrum, the somewhat 'extreme' words we use to have some kind of concrete discussion about something abstract, when in practice the process and the swinging back and forth is very fluid and often subtle. I like your tango dance image; sometimes we lead, sometimes the painting leads. Never ending, always changing—and that is the magnetic pull, don't you think?

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  4. Yep!
    I like the image of two extremes, with the whole spectrum in between. That makes it less 'whether-or' if I am clear...

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    1. Yes, I think there's a whole spectrum in between freedom and control!

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  5. So interesting, reading about your process and thoughts. I am really drawn to the turquoise corner in the front. Pulls me in and keeps my attention. :)

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    1. Thanks for reading through my thoughts about process, Sheila. Isn't it funny that the turquoise corner even feels like it's 'in the front'? I started out with no intentions, but ended up in some kind of a landscape, with foreground and background. Huh!

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