Well, got over my angst and am now continuing onward renewed. It was valuable to say the least. Along with the energetic shift came time to reflect, and look at what the heck is going on with my work life. When one is painting representationally, the notion of ‘what to paint’ often comes up. Do I paint what sells? Do I paint what my galleries want? What my aunt, sibling, grandfather…fill in the blank..would like to see? I am not sure how common this is, but some of my decision making as far as direction, is to to see what came before. This isn’t just with paint. It also can refer to bodies of work.
The patterns I’ve been looking at lately stem from the very beginning of my yesteryear as an art making person. I believe that what we dwelled on as children is a very good indicator of what we should be doing as adults. Just my own non-scientific theory. I used to spend hours drawing people, and not just those I knew. I was very clued into making faces up. This past year I have thought about this, and decided to try it on for size again. It worked pretty well with a few of my small pieces, “The Memory of Water” for one. I had a photo of the pose, then totally changed the likeness. Fun.
However, it wanted to creep into my commissioned work, and let’s just say that wasn’t helpful. People would like their portraits to actually LOOK like the person portrayed.
My personal work involved getting to know my models and having that inform my direction to a large degree. Their likenesses were pretty much there.
Now, something is changing again. I want to pick up that thread of childhood and allow the paintings to exist in how it comes to me, reliant on internal movement, and not necessarily what I see, or even what I know. Ok, so it’s a little scary to even write about it, truth be known. But my attention has been placed there to explore further. I have to make peace with the thought that via the medium of all kinds of paint application, ‘my people’ want to be seen.
Hypotheticals here: What happens if we are driven by forces outside of ourselves? Are we truly the artists the rest of the world thinks we are? Are we in panic mode, risking injury to our states of mind by being so hungry for success as defined by these forces? Yes, we often have chosen Art as a way to Live, but at what ultimate cost? How much do we really need materially? These are questions I ask myself a lot.
For me, The Threads at first are simply the foundations of art building, the paint, the process. Then the portrait changes and beckons to me as the maker to move differently than expected. Sometimes it even works. I have experienced the hell when it doesn’t, but that moment passes and a new way to see the piece is just beginning to take root. A New Thread is found. My job, is to pick it up and just try. No guarantees, no pressure to make it look a certain way. Just Try.
Next thing I know, I see that a tapestry has begun to take shape. I try with all my internal might to trust that it will hold, and not unravel. That my first thought, that first gently woven thread, was the right choice to begin with. That the outside world really has no place here, at the moment of creation.
Go forward from YOUR start, and no one else’s. It takes time to embrace your own vision and believe in it. Don’t pull the thread. Yet. (That’s a whole other topic…)