Saturday, October 12, 2013

Checking In

Checking in before checking out again. On Monday I'm off along with Katie to San Miguel de Allende for 23 days on a pilgrimage in paint with two wonderful groups of artists. The last item on my checklist is to show up here and share my latest.

Some time in August I decided to start a series of abstract painting studies. Because my studio is littered with papers, canvases, and general disorganizatiion, I decided to do the studies in my journal where they wouldn't get lost or tossed. And since these studies take me as long to do as a full sized painting (and for some reason are even more challenging) I've also cut back on the collage for awhile. So that each page resembles the spread in the first image. An abstract painting on the right side and morning pages on the left. 

I really let myself wander in these studies so they go from the okay to the very strange. It takes guts to leap into the chaos. That's how I'm thinking of them. My chaos paintings. 

I've been reluctant to share them. They are still talking to me; telling me things in their own language. But I finally decided it was time to share. To tell you of my great happiness of painting without any pressure to "succeed". Just letting the paint be paint and enjoying that.

As I look back at these paintings they appear effortless, as if I could dash off several a day. Probably some people could. But not me. I spend a lot of time painting over and experimenting. Often by the time I quit the paper can't take any more scrubbing and gouging. I like to explore.

I'm hoping by the time I've done many dozens that I will have learned new things. A direction or a message. They do seem like messages to me and sometimes I sit with them and have a dialogue. Perhaps this works only with our own paintings. Have you thought about this too?   

Does it matter if they speak to others as long as they speak to us?  

Is the work over when the painting is done or are there other things waiting to happen between the viewer and the object?

And what are we to make of our own paintings? What or who are they for? To sit quietly in a book on my shelf or to fetch a buyer in Santa Fe? Does it matter what my goals are and is there a difference? 

The more art I look at the more there is to think about. 

Paint and think. Think and paint.

Keep searching.

For that elusive thing.

That's always beyond one's reach.

But such a delicious search.

Such a complete obsession.

It's got me good.

I'll be back in November with a full report of our Mexico adventure. We will be 26 explorers plus Rebecca Brooks, Katie and myself. There will be eating and drinking and painting - oh my!!

Hasta la vista.