Friday, February 26, 2010

She bolts awake....yet there's no child at the bedside, no obvious disturbance... hmmmm, she figures it must have just been a thought arriving at the door and carelessly, inconsiderately stamping the snow off its boots, in her mind.

She looks at the clock...2:22 am....hmmm.

She waits for the thought to take off its coat and tell her why its come at such an unreasonable hour.

2:23..........2:24............2:25...........No response...nothing.

Apparently the thought is shy and snuck in, hoping not to wake her...I guess she will have to wait till morning to be officially introduced....except now, she can't sleep.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Life has its own hidden forces which you can only discover by living.
~Soren Kierkegaard
(1813 - 1855)

The layers of my life

I had a discussion yesterday, at my critique group, about one artist's work that was particularly cluttered and had "so much" going on, all at the same time. Since art is essentially a reflection of society, it was interesting to make note that this young artist's work was a very clear, visual expression or description of life's "busyness" today. While there have always been things in life that would take us "out of the moment"; music, art, literature... now Facebook, emails, texting, and chatting are new, interactive portals to other places and people that live at our fingertips, allowing more than one level, or moment of life, to exist at a time.

This led me into an interesting analysis of my own art. I thought about how I am compelled to build a world of layered collage within my paintings, before I even start to paint. I was asked recently, why I spend so much time putting these beautiful layers of collage down and then cover so much of it up, leaving only a suggestion of the layers underneath. Well, I think I can finally answer that question.

I need layers. I need things going on underneath my paintings...underneath my life. Some of those layers— the relationships and connections I have, are clearly visible and are a rich statement in the painting I am living at the moment. They, of course, are the focus of my life and I try very hard to carefully and visibly maintain them.

However, there are other layers— those spontaneously adhered to my life... stolen moments of conversation and connection. Moment to moment, fluctuating between existing and then being thoroughly painted over; cleared and deleted...hidden from everyone but me. Just like in my collaging, where I don't always know the purpose to the pieces I impulsively select, I wander around with these connections in my thoughts, trying to find the right place to glue them down. It doesn't matter if they aren't visible or that they don't support a strong element of my life's composition. They exist on a different layer. They exist to give my life richness, to add volume and width, which in turn, enriches my understanding, my experience and ultimately my journey in life.

Their presence, although not obvious, are tangible elements in me.... just like the beautiful little ridges, and shadows and lines underneath the paint in my art.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Constrained by Desire
The personal life deeply lived
always expands into truths beyond itself.
~Anais Nin

Friday, February 19, 2010

Everytime I draw live at an event I can't believe how LUCKY I am
that I get to do this for a living!
What a FUN night...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Living an Authentic Life
We are able to laugh when we achieve detachment,
if only for a moment.
~May Sarton

I believe authenticity is one of the most undervalued concepts in society. There is so much pressure to not be pretend to be: someone else (without problems or issues), someone who is successful and/or someone who lives a life fulfilling the expectations that exist around us.

Even though I was fortunate to be given that freedom from my parents (by how I was raised) I still struggle with that true dialogue of what I am here to say in this life and the courage to speak up.

I crave to meet people there, in that place of no expectation.
I ache to see people as they really are (instead of how they think they need to pretend to be)
....and I want people to really see me.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Trust that if you feel “not like yourself” you are probably feeling
more like yourself than you have ever felt before.
~Lena Stevens

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Language of Artdetail of Brave painting

My Mom's first language was Polish. Her parents had emigrated from Poland before she was born and it wasn't until she went to school that she began to understand and speak English. By the time I was born, she no longer spoke Polish but for some reason she sent my brother and I to Saturday morning Polish school when we were about 7 and 8. I guess she was hoping that in one hour a week we would somehow be able to absorb a language that was entirely foreign to us. I still remember the feeling of complete and utter confusion as to what everyone was saying around me. The teacher would ask me things, encouraging me to respond, but I honestly had absolutely no idea of what she was saying (nor did I have the words or the courage to answer), so I would just nod and pretend to understand.

I think my first language was art. I understood colours and shapes instinctively as a young child. Learning to actually speak art on an intellectual level however, did not begin to develop until my early 30's when I began attending a professional artist's critique group. I remember a very similar feeling, akin to the Polish class, where everyone around me spoke a language I didn't understand. Things like value rhythms and intensity of, just like when I was 7, I spent a lot of time nodding and pretending.

I do speak art fluently now. I understand that lines, values, shapes and colours are like the letters, words and phrases of the literary language and I am constantly try to improve my art vocabulary. I also now understand that art is essentially a medium of expression, whether that expression is a statement of fact (realist art) or something more (abstract or expressionist art). There are many art 'dialects' (commercial art, fine art) along with numerous individual styles but the foundation and structure of the art language is really quite universal and does exist even beyond personal taste and fad.

The best part, is that understanding art and learning to speak the basics, is absolutely achievable by anyone with the desire to learn and the courage to make mistakes...just like learning to speak Polish.