Spring makes an entrance with moist damp earthy gloves, embracing the world with promise of new and fresh. Long memories of winter linger only in the late afternoon endlessly sad shadows of bare trees, soon to be forgotten and covered green. The paint dries in less than expedient fashion in the studio. I am full of ideas, but the laziness of winter persists somewhere in my bones, and I find it hard to manifest the thoughts to the canvas. I meet with a group of artists that are members of the Mississippi Art Colony, on the first Wednesdays of every month, it was almost a unanimous agreement at the last meeting, that we are all finding the longer down the road of art we travel, the harder it is to create a painting that we feel is finished, there always seems to be more to say on the canvas. I know I have suffered with this malady for some time now, the working and reworking of paint layers with moments of sheer exhilaration; only to find within the next few moments all of the verve is gone and only the memory remains. The painting begins to looks like something too familiar, too close to a previous work; or worse than that, it looks like something that needs a healthy coat of gesso to completely obliterate it, and save the world from its presence. I felt almost pleasure in hearing others talk about their experiences, there is comfort in sharing, even if it is shared misery. I found myself hopeful and reminded myself, that perhaps the years of art were now making me more discerning and harder to please, and this could be a good thing. I should embrace this feeling and work with it, rather than against it. I will not let it defeat me. I will no longer fear the wrath of discontent with my work; I will look at it as merely another passage that must be taken as a challenge. The challenges will render the art that I leave on this earth better in my opinion, as it will have been forged and wrought with my soul, and that is all I can expect to achieve with my work.
One aspect in particular that is coming up over and over again, in my work is the need to belong. I am starting out with sketches of several figures, often standing silently, but together, but as the painting progresses; they don’t seem to fit in the context of the painting, and the balance in the piece is lost. I am finding on each of these occasions and there have been many, I paint out one of the figures and it seems to make the painting speak to me. I am somewhat perplexed about the whole scenario, although I know the answer is a reflection of my life. I have never felt like I quite fit in at any juncture of my life. I am the middle child. I am not the oldest or the youngest and whether knowingly or unknowingly, I just seemed to be a translucent child, one of the family but not a milestone in the lineage.
I think this is the reason I am so drawn to a lone figure, I am validating the singularity of existence that is inherent in all of us. I am consciously or subconsciously trying to make the translucent child important, that lone figure needs to be important even if only on canvas.
This began as the single figure and then I thought I would like to see two figures in the landscape just to shake it up a bit. The painting went terribly awry in my opinion with the second figure. I just kept fiddling with the left one and it never seemed to relate or work with the right figure, and it made the whole painting even at this point seem unbalanced and trite to me. So I layered and layered, I moved the lines around on the landscape and still nothing seemed to feel quite right about it,
….until it hit me the left figure was just not necessary the right figure needed to be alone. It was saying too much and garbling the painting as a whole.
This feels right now to me I like the single figure, it says volumes more than it did with the two figures, there is a stability that was not there with the two figures. The triteness of the two is now removed as well. I studied this figure for a long time and added the moon, as a personal thought. When I was very young I remember there was a photo of my sister sitting on a huge cut out of a moon much like this one, she was holding a balloon; I was always so envious of that photo and wished I too could sit on the moon with some balloons. I have always been very close to my sister and I have always loved that picture of her. It is funny how memories will work their way into your work when you least expect it. Art is all about life. I feel this painting has a subtle yet strong presence and it redefines the figure in the landscape muse that I have been chasing for the last several months.
Never be afraid to put a bit of your life into your work, not just for yourself, but for your audience. I was watching an artist interview of Marshall Arisman the other day and Arisman said… (and I am paraphrasing)people don’t want to just buy your work they want to go to dinner with you…they want to know the artist personally. I think this really means people love people, and beauty, and they want to understand what drives some of us to paint, it connects them with the beauty and makes them feel good.
As always thank you for reading and I hope you find a sliver of inspiration in my work and words.