Tuesday, April 18, 2006

cleaning out my mind studio

lately i've turned to cleaning and building to help usher in a new era of painting.

when i'm stressed, too stressed to think coherently about color and brushstrokes, etc., I turn to building canvases to get my restlessness out of my system. there's something about using power tools, hammers, and massive staple guns that is theraputic.

this week I'm pretty much working on a bunch of canvases. it's one of those things that you think will take a day and ends up going on for a week and a half-- and it only stops there when you run out of screws or canvas or staples. now I'm getting anxious to call it done, because at a certain point one starts feeling like they're not moving forward and wants to return to image making.

right now I'm planning a bunch more paintings. I have about 20-something ideas and I'm trying to move on them as fast as possible. I wanted to have models in the studio this last weekend but after my camera broke I got discouraged. (yes, i use photos religiously. would love to paint from models more but I have a severe lack of money for them.) so I must go and purchase a new camera by this weekend so I am not deterred any longer. but in the meantime I am preparing everything so that once I'm done with sketches, research, photos, planning, I can fly fast into the core of the painting without prepping surfaces.

my new daring prospect is that I have, for the first time, been approaching appealing people on the street and asking them to model for me. all through school it seemed I was limited to what models the department paid for or what friends I could pull out of the library and into my studio. and I was plain shy to just go after what I want.

after seeing the Sean Cheetham exhibit at Mendenhall Sobieski I was inspired to find interesting characters-- not necessarily like his. But my own characters. It perhaps is also because so many of my paintings in the past have been self portraits, and I'm rebelling against that and removing my own image from my work. I had a friend who once commented (on a painting that was not of me) "You know what you've done, you've painted yourself into the painting." She knew it was not me in the painting, but it seems no matter who or what I paint, it is always a self portrait. Perhaps I want to escape that. Though once I do I will have to face the question of what is my painting of-- if not of me? And somehow finding models farther from what I identify with will push me more to really think about what my art is about.

the other thing I'm trying to get my head around is what makes what I'm painting now unique to this time, place, decade, generation?

I honestly obsess over this since I want to push the envelope but within figurative art. I believe representational art is never out of style as long as people have eyes and enjoy looking at the world around them and reinventing it. but what is important to me is how it is done today, versus a century ago. as well as what can I add to it's development, and whether I should go after painting something new and shocking for the purpose of being new and shocking.

So many thoughts and questions. I desperately want to return to the simplicity and meditation that is stretching canvases. Adieu!

1 comment:

Karl Zipser said...

I think you have focused well on an important key to art -- that is, the conditions under which the art is created. Preparing the canvases, cleaning the studio, finding the models, establishing the goals. These are all so important, although it is hard to appreciate unless you face the difficult task of creating something new. The canvases could be store bought, but that would not be the same. They might be as good (or even better), but the conditions for creating the art would be different. It seems that every little thing about an artist's life ends up in the painting -- either that, or stands in the way of making the painting.