Leaves are turning and the winds of change are nigh. Studio lights are burning and the work continues on the Weight of Balance series of works. Two gallery shows this summer, have emblazoned me to press on with my work. It was a fast summer with long hot days, and many a sleepless thunderstormy night. I am glad it is nearing the last of the dog days….I can almost hear the county fair and see the lights in my mind. Fond memories of fall will always end my summers.
Weight of Balance: Swing Low, is a 4o x 30 inch acrylic mixed media painting, on a cradled wood panel. The meaning behind the painting is deep and personal. When I was working on this painting, my thoughts were of a time when I was very young. Our house was next door to a church, but not one we were allowed to attend, it was a black church, but I have fond memories of that church. The sounds of the choir singing on Sunday afternoons late, me swinging on my swingset in the back yard. I can still feel the limitless freedom of swinging, and hearing their voices harmonically hanging on the wind, and blowing toward my house and me. Fast forward to later in life, I would think back on these days whenever I felt alone, and remember that feeling as they sang “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”. All I can think of is how that formed a space in my memory and mind that has never been erased. It is still to this day a comfort for me, for it was a time when life was simple, people were all the same to me, and I was free to feel what ever I wanted, and there seemed to no limits to what I could achieve. Life is not always fair for most of us, but no matter how bad it has been for us; there is a moment much like this moment of swinging and hearing this beautiful song that gives us peace and hope. I commemorated the moment in time, as a figure balanced in life with swings all around her, and for me, it is loaded with content and emotion.
I am becoming so familiar in my art that I now feel an affinity with my work that is difficult to explain. I think it is in part because I paint from my mind and that entails a long list of personal things. I no longer feel hurt or misunderstood when someone questions my reasons or motives for what, or how I paint. I no longer think much about the brush or how I hold it, or even the pigments themselves. I simply know that I have to find the illusive transcendent moment in my art, otherwise I have only applied paint to a surface. For me the struggle, the push and pull of the mental as well as physical in my art, is what keeps me coming back for more. I am motivated to find this every time I enter my studio. So how do you find that moment that gives one a feeling of astonishment?
I am not sure if there is a methodology one could entertain and follow; but what I do know is that you feel it, when you achieve it. My obsession with this “moment in art”, is my motivation and guide. Perhaps the working alone for hours on end in the studio, is the culprit. I am learning to lean on myself, and to be immersed in art at a new level. I am learning in a strange abstract way to accept myself for who and what I am. I think this is a pivotal point for me in art and in life. I think I am coming full circle. I am convinced that there is more to art than simply the technical paint and substrate, just as there is more to life than the material aspects.
Trust yourself . This was and remains the hardest lesson for me. I wish I had tried to do this earlier. I think you should study as much as you can about art, read up on all the tools and supplies, and then walk into the studio and paint. The very act of painting is the best teacher. The mistakes will lead you to the masterwork that resides inside of you, as one person told me “you have to move out of the way and let it come out”. I love that statement it is so very true.
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