Thursday, October 22, 2015

Out of the Woods

It is only when I look back on the past year that I can see that there is a rhythm and a pattern to this journey. I am certain that it has always been that way in my life but I see it a bit more clearly.  I think that there is something to be said for getting lost. Again, it is a cliché. I don't recommend it to anyone, but through all the doubt and pain and searching I can see that I did the right thing. Actually it felt like the only thing I could do and now I see it was part of a process that really has a life of its own. When you can only put one foot in front of the other you have to trust that things will work out and that you will heal. What I learned above all things is that making art and living an authentic life are the same thing for me. Finding a new life after a difficult time is the same as finding a new way into my art. Of course the work would be different, I was different . Authentic art is about being honest with yourself about who you are. Period!
After the "Woods" paintings I found myself in the same place with several of the paintings. It was the same pond in the woods. It was getting redundant and felt flat. I spent a few weeks not knowing what to paint. I messed around in the studio. I studied the work of contemporary painters. Diebenkorn was the first contemporary painter who really spoke to me. I was blown away by what he did to landscape. I wanted a looser approach but didnt know how to do that.  If I was going to work I needed to change things up and take some risks. I needed to throw away the constraints of rules and actually everything that I have ever learned or taught to my students. In experimenting with different mediums the only thing that I did that felt right was drawing. I spent about 2 months working in oils to figure out how to draw with a brush.

"Across the Meadow"

If anyone tells you that doing abstract work is easy don't believe them. It is the most difficult work that I have ever done. I worked for three months with nothing to show for it. I had to regroup. It was exhausting and I worried continually about my need to sell work. In that desperation I went back to the thing I do best and that is drawing. I needed a comfortable place and drawing has always been that. 

I decided to put away the paint, and just draw. No color, just line and tone. Now this felt good!