Saturday, March 05, 2005

And I'm talking about more than just painting here.

Spent the afternoon watching the gallery. It was busy and therefore I didn't get to sit in the X2 and read all day. Usually it's dead around there on Saturdays... but not today. I spent the day talking... first my mom, then Dallas, Monica, Ben, Vinny, Dada, Abbey, an out of town skier.... some good conversations, but no reading, not as much bathing in color as planned. Not surprisingly my mom wasn't as impressed with Natalia's work. I'm glad I'm not her. She has a hard time finding beauty in anything she can't buy.

Then I got home, made tacos, ate, and exhausted, I fell asleep. So much for today. Before coming home I sat in my studio wanting to paint... or something... and instead attempted a photo transfer, painted a page of my "art journal" and decided to call it quits because I had too much to do (not that I got anything else done). Found myself wanting to just sit and daydream ideas, which I did for awhile. It reminded me of those months preparing for my India show... all those long hours of painting, but also of just sitting, thinking of what would come next. That mental down time, such an important aspect of creation. I had forgotten the true necessity of it. Well, actually I am constantly aware of it... I had just forgotten what an absolute luxury it is.

I've recently acquired an approximately 5'x6' framed canvas. An old painting that needs resurrecting. I'll restretch the canvas and start over. Oh the possibilities! I have little wall space in the new studio, but have devised a plan for an impromptu easel. 2"x4"s to the rescue. But what to paint on that big beautiful space?

I was talking to Dada today about how, since starting my master's degree, my painting has changed. I used to be obsessed with realism, always trying for a more expressive form of realism. But in the last year, my brain and body (and the challenge of time) seems only capable of abstract. Abstract, which to be honest, I don't know how to do. I haven't figured out what place it comes from. I've experienced it for moments at a time, but it is fleeting. Like closing your eyes and trying to hold a picture in your mind that keeps disappearing. I find it difficult to know how to finish what I start in terms of artistic vision.

And so on that big canvas, I am trying to decide whether to go realism or abstract. It kind of feels like trying to decide whether I should do a scholarly or creative thesis. Not that I ever consider painting to be "scholarly." But there's a difference in approach.

Today, between visitors, I studied Natalia's paintings. I was trying to memorize them. Trying to find a place inside me that they will hold. Her use of color and texture. Her ability to make a flat surface jump out as though it is 3 dimensional. Her ability to tap into her memory and imagination to create form.

In between these musings and talking with visitors I snuck pages of Orlando. Amber was right. It's hard getting into, but once you're there it sweeps you away. I have an image of Orlando laying on the ice, looking through its clearness at the frozen scene below, a woman with her apples.

There is another part of the book than I marked in ink because it is a scene I'd like to paint.

To the oak tree he tied it (his heart) and as he lay there, gradually the flutter in and about him stilled itself; the little leaves hung; the deer stopped; the pale summer clouds stayed; his limbs grew heavy on the ground; and he lay so still that by degrees the deer stepped nearer and the rooks wheeled round him and the swallows dipped and circled and the dragon-flies shot past, as if all the fertility and amorous activity of a summer;s evening were woven web-like about his body.
Maybe this is what I will paint on that big canvas. To combine reality with imagination. An image to hold in my mind until it finds completion on the canvas. Perhaps the most natural step in my progression as a painter... to find the middle ground between realism and abstraction.
Strange the way life's experiences constantly leads one to the moment. Detours that frustrate and exhaust... and in the end make the rest happen. Ok, fine. Maybe I just need to quit fighting so hard. Every experience lending to the next.

No comments: