Winter has been long, and some of it has been unusually cold. Now that I no longer live in Florida, the seasons are distinct and definite. Wintertime has its own challenges, like how to get enough sunshine to keep from suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD.) I began to suspect I was slipping into this state when all I wanted to do was sleep.
But the sun has been back for the past few days. This is a sunrise from a few mornings ago. These winter trees are west of where I was standing, so the sun, coming up over my shoulder, cast an orange glow on the branches.
It’s been so cold, even the dog and the cat are snuggling in my lap . . . and they usually don’t get along.
I try to stay warm by baking some bread, which always makes me happy. And it tastes so good, still warm from the oven, with a little Amish butter.
But the best part is that I headed into the studio and spent three days on this painting. It was a great feeling to just paint. I think it’s finished, and therefore it will be ready for the next show coming up in the spring at the local art center (assuming that I get accepted!) This is a quick shot of it, but it does show some of the metallics that are used here and there.
And here are a couple of detail shots.
I hope you’re having a creative week.
Have you ever told yourself that you’d do more art if you could only find the time? I say this frequently. Where is that lost time? If it’s not under the bed, under the chair, up on a shelf, or behind the door, then where has it gone? Chances are it’s right there with us, wherever we are.
I think I’ll check my desk chair in the office, where I go with my coffee every morning and surf the web. It’s all legitimate, of course. I call it “art research” or “website maintenance” or “marketing” or “catching up with family and friends” on social media. But if I faced the truth, I would have to admit that there are many rabbit holes and shiny things that catch my attention and keep me there way too long. That has to be the place where all my lost time is, because it’s not spent sitting in front of the TV. I have stopped watching TV at all, except for evenings after dinner with my husband. And even that only has half my attention; I’m mostly there for together time. (Well, I guess technically you could call that potential “found time,” because there is the opportunity to use that time for sketching or doing a small collage or two as I multi-task in front of said TV.)
So yep, there it is. I found my lost time. It was in my chair!
I don’t even want to contemplate how much time is spent not doing art that could just as easily be spent doing art, or marketing that art. Not today. Maybe I’ll think about it tomorrow.
But in the meantime, something rather extraordinary happened the other morning — I think it was Christmas Eve. I decided to sneak into the studio for a little while to do a collage or two. It was an urge, a compulsion, an irresistible force. I had to work fast, because it was going to be a busy day. Usually this is a recipe for failure, because no artist wants to be rushed. But something happened, and I can’t explain it except to say that things just seemed to work for me that morning. I was able to create several small collages, one right after another, that I consider to be successful. The only explanation I have is that I had spent a couple of days prior to that creating some new painted collage papers. So maybe it was the anticipation of using those new papers.
It all started with the one collage shown here. It’s a ghost of a previously-rejected collage, with just one or two new touches. The transformation worked well. That one got me into the flow of working on several more.
Getting them all scanned took almost as long over the past three days as it took to create them in the first place. But I’m happy with all of them. I’ll be sharing them in future posts.
Do you love reading blogs for inspiration as much as I do? Well, I’m coming to the conclusion that the very act of blogging provides inspiration for my own work. At least it provides incentive. If I know that you are interested in reading about what I’ve been doing in the studio, then I feel more motivated to actually do something in the studio.
It’s been too easy just to put the art on the back burner while I occupy myself with other things (like the holidays for one!) But if I have a regular blogging schedule, it makes me think more about creating art. And if I’m not in the studio for too long, at some point withdrawal begins to kick in.
So we’re at that point right now. Withdrawal. At least this week I have made a few new collage papers and feel very excited about that. Could some new collage be far behind? And perhaps even more blog posts? One can hope.
Note: The above painting is some of my new work at Michael Murphy Gallery in Tampa, Florida.
I’ve missed all of you. I hope you are staying creative (and staying warm if you live anywhere that’s been affected by this frigid weather.) I know my Florida friends are gloating just a little right now, am I right?
I came across something today on facebook that I absolutely had to share with my readers. It comes from Richard Diebenkorn’s writings, shared by artist Audrey Phillips. It spoke to me deeply, and rings true for me as an artist. The original source of the graphic was a blog that you also might enjoy, Brain Pickings, which is full of even more inspiration for creative people. See if you think these notes apply to your work:
“the pretty, initial position which falls short of completeness is not to be valued
– except as a stimulus for further moves.”
Reading the list again, I notice that #4 is a close follow-up to #2.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been seduced by the “pretty, initial position.” Wanting to call it a painting and stop. But prettiness can be deceiving.
Do you have a favorite statement from this list?
The collage above is part of a continuing series using sketched and painted loops and lines on a variety of papers.
Production in the studio has not stopped, even with distractions all around me. When one “retires” to do her art, aren’t things supposed to slow down just a bit? Though I would love to just be a studio hermit and do my art all day, I feel a need to engage with real people out in the world. For a long time after we moved from Florida to Alabama, I indulged my inertia and just stayed home and did art day after day, week after week, with breaks for gardening, and breadmaking, and playing with my dogs. And, well, there is the old one — 16 now — who requires a lot of attention, and has had me staying close around for her.
But being with people is necessary to keep a sense of life balance. I’ve begun to reach out to various groups, none of which are art-oriented. An artist’s group would be wonderful, but that will happen in time. There is an environmental group, a local voter registration effort, and a small women’s group that meets once a month for lunch and conversation. Balance is the word. It may be time to cut back on my social calendar just a little bit so I can do more art.
I have loved having new papers — my most favorite thing in the world. Here is one of my most recent happy collages. I hope you like it. It’s a combination of drawing and painting on magazine clippings and a gelli print. (Click on the image to see a full description and price.)