Thursday, January 12, 2017

In times like these

Stalled as usual by the demands of the holidays, my painting urges got a bit of a jumpstart this week from a friend who suggested I explore some primary colors I don't tend to work with.

But when I went to the studio I realized an absent-minded departure over Christmas had left a thick skin over the paint in my jar of titanium white. Rather than toss the jar (which was, fortunately, only about an eighth full) I decided to see if I could use what paint remained relatively fluid beneath the skin, and use the skin as well to add to the texture.

So this is the result -- a highly textured painting with lots of yellow, some pretty strong oranges, a little turquoise to sooth my artist soul, and some lumpy white to pull it all together. I'm not saying it's a work of art, and I doubt I'll ever enter it in a show, but I'm pleased with it nonetheless. It's bold, it's bright, it breaks away a bit from the rather boring (if more saleable) horizontals I was working on in the fall, and it feels a bit more free.  I've been hoping to find again that sense of joy and freedom I felt when I first started painting, four years ago this week; to revel again in the textures and colors, and in the joy of watching them all interact on the canvas.

Most of all, I think, I needed to get back to painting in the moment, to respond to the painting as it was emerging, rather than going into it with preconceived notions of how it would evolve.  In times like these, when events seem to be spinning out of our control, it becomes more necessary than ever to stay in the moment, to be in tune with the promptings of the spirit, to live and move as we are drawn to do and trust that somehow we are working in the service of the universe and its future.

I know, that sounds like a rather grandiose description of a rather cluttered and ordinary painting.  But at this point my cluttered and ordinary life is all I have to offer the world. There's nothing out there I can fix; I can only be the best that I can be and somehow hope that it will prove to be enough.

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