Crossing over the threshold into a creative space can be daunting at times – it often takes me an hour or more to really leave the world behind and lose myself in my practice. But if I allow myself to play before tackling a painting in progress, I can enter into a joyful headspace that allows my creative energy to flow more quickly and freely. I begin all of my paintings in play mode – experimenting with collage, drawing with crayons and laying down fields of color. As I connect these random shapes and marks – a narrative slowly begins to emerge and I’m on my way.
Finished – 30″ x 40″ acrylic painting on museum board mounted on wood panel. Whenever I am starting a new series it’s always a struggle to get the first painting finished. I am often unsure of what direction I want to go in and there are many starts and stops. I am excited to keep working and see where this painting leads me.
My art group is reading Lewis Hyde’s The Gift, which has been described as a “manifesto of sorts for anyone who makes art”. Hyde talks about the importance of inner gifts becoming visible, shared and accepted, but not as a commodity. The gift must pass through many hands – be on a continuing journey, in order to retain it’s power to touch and move people. I sent this little painting out into the world recently, as an anonymous gift for someone I’ve never met, who is going through a hard time. In his book, Hyde retells many folk stories all with a common theme – giving, often spontaneously to those in need, which keeps the cycle of giving in forward motion. Although I don’t know how my gift was received, I do know that I have already been rewarded with the gift of art, many times over since I gave away that painting – I connected with some like-minded artists in a recent workshop, saw a truly inspiring show of paintings and sold a painting. It doesn’t hurt to make a little money with your art!
This weekend while visiting family in Berkeley, California – I took a side trip across the bay to sunny Marin County. There, I saw an intimate show of works on paper by Richard Diebenkorn. Hosted by the College of Marin and organized by the Diebenkorn Trust, the exhibit consisted of small collages, drawings and gouaches never before shown. Growing up in the Bay Area with an art-loving mother, I was exposed to Diebenkorn’s work at a young age. I loved his bright colors, and later as a beginning painter, I was influenced by his compositions – especially his Ocean Park series. His work still speaks to me today – he is an artist I will revisit again and again.
“There is nothing I cannot paint over” – Richard Diebenkorn
Finally finished! This painting took me 7 months to get right. It went through several distinct phases – 1.Something new 2.Trying to make it work 3. The Ah Ha moment. Oh, and in between phase 2 and phase 3, I hid it behind a stack of old paintings so I wouldn’t have to look at it everyday and wrestle with ideas about how to resolve it. I like the end result, but I am intrigued by it’s first life….hmmm maybe time to try something new again.