Friday, November 15, 2013

the seed of its own healing

This post has been languishing in my "drafts" folder for almost a year. I don't remember why I didn't post it, but I'm sure I meant to, because NEW FINISHED PAINTINGS, holy shit. I also don't know why I feel compelled to do things in chronological fashion -- vestiges from the perfectionism that is as stubborn as it is perfect? -- but all the sudden I can't go forward without catching up.

Last winter, in Providence, I had about10 different canvases going at once, all in this diluted wash-y experiment:

"The Seed of its Own Healing"
16 x 20, oil and mixed media on canvas

I was just dousing the surfaces with layers and layers of paint, seeing what would happen to the composition with every subsequent application, and more than a little inspired by my friend Kozuki Watanabe (whose work not only vibrates with color intensity and off-kilter compositions, but also bears the most poetically potent titles I've ever seen).

I loved discovering the interaction between the layers, seeing how far I could push the paint.

 "A Human Instrument"
16 x 20, oil and mixed media on canvas

I had tacked up a quote from Francis Bacon about "preserving the accident" in a painting, something I'd been mulling over for years but hadn't been able to actually do in practice. These pieces felt like such a relief to me for that reason -- they were a complete departure from my heavy-handed and overworked markings of the past.
And also I did not know how much I loved chartreuse.

The hands I drew years and years ago -- I found them stashed with some other collage material, and thought the spidery lines of India Ink fit nicely with the contrasting fields of color. I pasted them on with an oil gel medium, and the ink stayed true while the paper went beautifully translucent.

I marvel at the way hands are so immediately, humanly, expressive. Their language is intuitive, inherent, elegant.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Here's what I've been doing with my scraps of time: scraps of art!

I can't help it, I love these colors so much.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

reading the air

I'm in the familiar bind of carrying the creative momentum of recent months forward into a new setting, which always seems easier from the going side than the arriving side.

 I want to keep painting with the same gusto I mustered over the summer, keep going with the delft and the patterns and the layers. But I am still sort of shocked and disoriented, and can't account for why the brushes won't work, why the paint won't move.

I listen and listen to people, waiting for the words to make sense, waiting to feel settled and acclimated. But the explanations I want, the connections I want, are maddeningly out of reach. I assume automatically that my art suffers because of this disorientation, but what if art is actually the way through it?

I feel scared, reluctant. Still struggling to find a rhythm in these days. I want to paint, but then I want to shop, decorate the house, write letters. Everything is all jumbled together and resists being sorted.

But I must commit to making art, and not trouble myself so much about what will come of it. I don't even need to deliberate about what to put IN... it's just going to happen.

Five hours a day is short -- I have to start in right away if I want to paint, and even then I'm working up to the last minute before I have to pick up the kids. How will I get anything done this way? There's so much I want to do -- that ever-present ache -- and I can't get organized to actually do it. These little scraps of time, scraps of art... how can I commit when as soon as I get warmed up it's time to stop?

My mind is jumping around so much, overfull, focusing on nothing, like a dream I can't quite remember. I can't wait for the world to stop rushing in , I have to close the doors. Trust the quiet.

Is this how we spend our days, we humans? We wake up in this world that has air and water and light for us, a world that grows food for us to eat! What a marvel! And then we worry and worry and worry.