Wednesday, September 28, 2016

tuning the strings

No I will NOT do that thing where I diddle around on the internet for an hour at night and stop, feeling guilty and empty and fried-eyed... OH CRAP. Already did it.

How do I untangle all the thoughts that are in here? How do I find in me the thought that is authentic, and not just a reaction or a snarky riff on someone else's reaction? The cacophany is deafening.

I spent lovely weeks in Michigan, especially at the lake: perfect weather, pampered by grandparents, no wi-fi. All the usual hang-ups of whiny kids, difficult bedtimes, but ohhhhhh that lake, and that sand. It was all worth it.

Now back in Oxford, trying to get back in to some semblance of a rhythm with work and school and baby. Trying as usual to get my head around our situation, our finances, our general trajectory.

And how shall I find other artists? And how shall I make money making art? And how shall I make art that reveals my heart and my politics and my determined urgent ferocity? How shall I assemble all the pieces so that the whole makes a loose and poetic and insouciant kind of sense?

God help me! I am your instrument: I will tune my strings and not waste their resonance in the void of the internet.


Monday, September 12, 2016

nancy jean

Clearing away some cobwebs, trying to make time at the easel, trying to find the rhythm of work with an 8-month old baby: things don't usually get done on time, in the right order, or according to plan. I approach everything with the same sleep-deprived urgent ferocity: sew Auden's Halloween costume, make list of portraits to paint, get into fights with racist strangers on Facebook, MAKE DINNER. 

Instead, here's a piece I did last winter and never got around to posting:

It's much bigger than my usual portraits, so I mapped out a grid on the canvas to render the composition. My first layer of flesh tones was a bit too green or gray or just kind of sickly-looking...

But the next layer resolved nicely:

"Nancy Jean"
Oil on canvas

I was so taken with the tiny brightness of pink in her lip, and how it echoed in her cheek and above her eye. I wanted everything to hinge on that. It's funny how the most important part of a painting takes the lightest touch. 

Maybe I'll apply the same wisdom to my to-do list.