Thursday, August 29, 2013


I finally got back into the studio late yesterday afternoon, so desperate to paint I didn't even remember to turn on the music. I'm definitely pleased with this one, but I'm sort of hoping blogging about it will help me better understand why that's true.

I didn't actually know (but then, I never do seem to know) that it was finished when I stopped painting; I assumed I would be adding more.  And (to further complicate things) I'm not even sure that this is right-side-up; I actually painted it upside down but then realized the wire on the back makes it hang this way.

Partly it's just that I find it visually pleasing (I don't seem to worry anymore if something is a "good" painting, I just need to know I like it.)  But also I like that I took some risks with it, and was able to bring myself to leave a lot of blank space -- something I admire a lot in other painters but haven't been able to allow myself to do.  That feels, oddly enough, like self-acceptance -- allowing something to be what it is, rather than imposing order or balance on it.

And it feels, somehow, more like a unified effort of heart and mind, balancing the shoulds with the wants and allowing more freedom of expression.  Which reflects, I suspect, the odd themes of this week, the after-effects of the play I was in, all of which have to do with reconciling the most disparate parts of me, the raunchy southern rebel with the uptight northern "church lady."  As I said to a friend over coffee earlier this week, my mother never wanted me to be an artist, in fact, she discouraged that, and somehow communicated that my brain was my most important gift.  My only memory of her approval of my appearance was a time when she saw me in a suit, with a button-down collar and a scarf; at all other times she was exceedingly critical.  Not surprisingly (getting back to yesterday's post) "looking right" became terribly important, though it always seemed to be offset by a rebellious streak that tended to sabotage that. 

Which perhaps explains why this painting is so important to me: there's no attempt at perfection to sabotage; it just sets aside a whole mess of rules. I was so excited to be back in the studio that I just went with what felt -- not right, not good, but... satisfying.  What would feed my soul.  And amazingly enough, the end result pleases me much more than all the times I let my brain decide what should happen next.  So maybe that's what I'll call it: No-brainer!


Maureen said...

It's wonderful to see how your paintings are evolving as you allow yourself such freedom of expression.

I like this painting a lot.

Connie Schulz said...

I like the painting but as you said you are the one who has to like it. Doesn't matter what others think. My mother-in-law has lived most of her life that way. She does what she likes.

Janet Tarbox said...

Two weekends ago I had the pleasure of officiating my nephew's wedding. The bride wore her favorite cowboy boots with her lovely while gown. So, there was plenty of lifting of the skirts to view the shoes! When I saw your painting my first and instant thought was of the hem of a wedding dress. Charming, light, swishy ...