Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Did I?

You may remember my crying "Uncle!" a few weeks ago when I was feeling overwhelmed and knew I needed to adjust my painting practice. I needed to create some kind of workable fit with the abundance of competing demands clamoring stridently from every direction.

For several weeks now, I've painted in little snippets, grabbing a few minutes here and a few minutes there catch-as-catch-can.

Today I didn't paint.

Or did I …

I certainly 'painted' internally, by which I mean I participated nourishingly in facets of the creative process. Using a metaphorical backhoe, I cleared just enough space for two of my sisters and their husbands to sleep at our house on wedding weekend (we'll be in absentia ourselves, at a hotel in Boston!), a task that offered chances to interact with completed paintings, piles of collage paper, boxes of pastels, a bin of high-flow paints, a tissue-paper storage box, yogurt containers with water and brushes in them, and a pile of canvases I scored at a September neighborhood give-away. All part of painting, all part of my creative adventure, all feeding what will soon flow from my brush in one form or another.

Artist friend Jen said much the same thing back in the summer:

Organizing is … something I can do when I can't paint.  If I'm too tired, unmotivated, cranky or whatever to actually make art, I can still get things in tip-top shape for when I am ready once more.  Sometimes I will just gesso boards and leave them out to dry, where they will whisper to me on another day.  Other times I will purge old drawings and cut them into bits and pieces for collage materials.  On a really bad day, I'll scrape paint off the floor.  But to me, it all counts as part of the process.  It keeps me in the studio, putting in my time, waiting for the muse to stomp in and demand attention.  

And now I am off to paint.  Or maybe alphabetize my art books.

Here's what I 'painted' today, along with photos of earlier stages of these masterpieces:

work in progress, Green Room
completed diptych 'painting,'
Green Room Perks Up #1
completed 'painting,'
Green Room Perks Up #2


work in progress, Lemon Drop Room

completed 'painting,'
Lemon Drop Room Brightens


  1. How perfectly painterly!!! Yes yes and YES! And alphabetizing art books...be still my heart. I now want to run off and straighten things...

    1. As I think I said at the time you wrote the post I referenced above just how helpful your discussion was. I've widened my perspective, and happily so since finding time to paint has been a challenge lately.

      Hope you smiled when you found yourself in my post!

  2. Love your painting process, and the results perfect! Glad because now I can count all my "organization time" as part of my process.
    What gorgeous rooms! Actually, I think a bit of clutter is good because then you don't have think about the mess you will be making when you start to paint.

    1. Ha! Glad you loved today's paintings and process!

      I'm always grateful for the housecleaning/tidying that takes place to honor guests. Goodness knows I let it all slide in between.

      My studio is almost always lively with stuff everywhere, and I thrive there in that creative incubator. It mostly only ever gets tidied because it is a guest room and needs to function as such every now and then.

  3. Hi Dotty,

    It surely is brave not to paint sometimes! I agree very much with Jen. And I am very sure this cleaning up will stir new creative juices. Have fun this weekend!

    1. Somewhat to my surprise, not-painting often requires more courage from me than painting, even if what I'm painting is challenging.

      As I think about it, here's some analysis. I made the shift to not-painting/not-blogging on weekends pretty easily many months ago. Similarly, with our wedding event coming up, I've painted and drafted blogs in advance so my posts will appear every weekday as usual even though I won't be painting for the next 6 or 7 days. That upcoming not-painting also feels easy.

      What requires a push or a bit of bravery is not-painting and not-blogging when I'm at home with my usual (if such a thing exists!) schedule.

  4. Now I will think of it as part of the process too :) I love having a bit of a "mess", supplies out and ready, colors close by. But it always feels good to clean and organize, and begin again.
    Lots of Joy it sounds like. A wedding, family, love and celebration! Oh you will find plenty of inspiration there!
    Blessings to you and all Dotty!
    (5 days before my trip and I have not even thought about having posts ready to go. DUH!!)

    1. Life is all part of the creative process! It felt good in this case to give myself permission not to paint, while not feeling completely removed from painting. I do love my studio time.

      Yes, lots of happy in the next few days for my family.

      Where are you traveling?

  5. Ooh, is that a Brother laser print that I spy with my little eye? I've had one on my wish list at Amazon for about a year now..one of these days, I'm going to have one.

    Your masterpieces look so much better than mine. I always seem to run out of steam before I get to the master stage. haha

    1. 1. Inkjet, not laser. Sorry to disappoint!
      2. Truth to tell, I usually don't even get started with the decluttering/cleaning up, but we have houseguests coming—always a welcome spur!