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Friday, July 20, 2012

Number Twenty


I'm up to the 20th painting in my 100-Painting Challenge. These first images are details of "Swim", 40x48". The entire painting is shown at the end of the post but since you can't see it up close I've included these details. My friend Don and I are concurrently participating in a studio-time-challenge that we can invite you to join. It's pretty simple. Just log your daily studio time with a goal of daily hours in mind. Don chose 3 hours a day but yours can be whatever you can comfortably commit to; even 15 minutes is long enough to do sketches that will add up over time.


So at EncaustiCamp Michelle Belto presented an interesting idea for us to chew on. We were having a discussion on the meaning behind our work and how we are each on a search for our visual language. The mystery of who we are and how we experience being alive. Today I'm picking up Jung's Red Book at the library; a good read to get the wheels turning.


Michelle's background is as a therapist and she's taken workshops on art therapy that she described to us. It was fascinating to me and thought provoking. One thing she described particularly caught my interest because it is a lot like reading tarot which I consider fun and a way of reflecting self back to self.


I won't try to describe this process exactly as she explained it but rather I'll tell you how I translated it for my own purposes this morning. The exercise is called "Reading It Back" and you start at the end of the painting session. You've finished your painting. In this case I've painted it entirely by intuition which means it looks strange to me; fresh and odd. Whatever have I done here?

Let's have some fun with the painting now. Relax, take all the time you need and give it a theme. Let the painting tell you what the theme is. 


I like to do this work in my journal. I determined that this painting's theme was about the struggle of transforming chaos to order. I see that I've chosen the colors of my childhood. The end result is very pleasing to me. From an unpromising beginning I have created something I like.


The next step is to title the work. Let the piece tell you it's title. Mine chose "Swim" because of all the floating shapes and predominance of watery hues. (The last 6 paintings have had 4 letter titles.) I reflect that "Swim" also relates to my carefree childhood summers at the Rendezvous Pool in Mesa, Arizona. The azure water, blinding white sunlight, bliss of floating, swimming in the cool water with my eyes closed and breath held. The physical feeling this painting imparts to me.


The lines and scrawls in the piece represent the act of releasing control while trusting in the outcome, letting whatever happens be accepted as inevitable and acceptable. Even joyful. 

I felt like sharing my reading and thought others might find it helpful in their work. Of course I realize that I would never share this with a potential owner of the piece; the fun is interpreting it in your own way. 

Interested in your thoughts. xo

16 comments:

Anne Smidt said...

honey, honey, honey. Love this... and so loved seeing your words. We must try to spend more time together.

Judy Wise said...

I agree dear Anne. I'm looking for "holes" in my calendar. Alas ... how do we get so busy?

Gwen said...

LOVE this, Judy, the painting and the process of analysis. The process will be helpful.
I love your abstract paintings!

Bren said...

Now that's going big! What presence it must have, really enjoyed seeing all it's parts and your reflections on the process.

Melanie said...

Beautiful. :) calming....

Kat Kenney said...

I love the new levels in your work since your residency, and as always appreciate that you share your process as well as the end result. Tarot as a way of reflecting self back to self is very well put. Brava!

Lynn said...

Unfortunately I never enjoyed swimming, too many fears...however, I can relate to the bright sunlight and soft colors of summer in your beautiful painting Judy. I also enjoy the self study this evoked for you.
It makes me ponder more on why I have become so enamoured of drawing people almost daily now in my personal environment. Connecting. More than four letters, but what I am doing quietly 20-30 minutes at a time...quietly, unobtrusively, and loving it having overcome another fear!

Thanks for sharing and inspiring and making me think with this lastest #20 of yours!

Jeane said...

lovely painting Judy, :)

ersi marina said...

Your painting makes me smile and feel happy. I also remembered your residency experience while I was going through the pictures, it seems that you found a way of expressing yourself that is beautiful and deep. Your #20 is gorgeous!

Jennifer White said...

This is quite an interesting process to me.. it almost feels as though it's pulling together everything that I already know, but in a somewhat orderly, thought-provoking fashion? Not sure that makes sense...regardless, the colors you chose are quite meditative to me as well.. maybe that's also a contributing factor...thank you for this post, Judy.. always love the insight in to your world, weather art or glimpses of your garden... xoxox

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

I admire your commitment and like this piece so much...twenty and moving forward!

Tracy Verdugo said...

Love, love, love!!! You're painting how I teach! ♥

Parabolic Muse said...

you make my life better!

Roberta Laliberte said...

Love it Judy! Love the rich splashes of colour among the soft whispery white.

Dayna Collins said...

I'm enamored with your abstracts and in particular, your use of white!

Sharmon Davidson said...

The idea of doing a painting a day intrigues me, and I like the 'reading' of it; like reading the tarot cards, that makes sense to me. The expressive freedom and lovely marks in your painting make me smile.