Saturday, May 26, 2018

In The Quiet

It's the end of May, and I fear I have little to show for 2018 in my studio thus far, but I have recently begun painting again and have a few pieces to show. The one I like the best, I just finished last week and it's off to La Bodega gallery in CA for a "Spirit Animal" show in early June:

"Rae" 8x10, Acrylic on Canvas Panel

It's funny, really, because I felt I wasn't going to meet my deadline. I also felt that even if I did, it wasn't going to be very good. In the middle, it felt like nothing was coming together, and then... it just did. I actually LOVE this painting. Love it!

What tripped me up, as it did with the little nudes earlier this year, is that I put in a colorful background and it was just wrong - WRONG! I had to use Payne's Grey and Unbleached Titanium to flip it to more neutral/earthy tones, and then I was able to move forward. It seems my personal art evolution is leading me to a more grounded background/subject, but with color pops in other areas, whereas before it was color all over the place.

It's not a conscious thing, rather more like a personal subconscious drive and new preference that brings me here. Even without actively painting like I wish I had been able to, I have evolved. Art is so much more than what we put down on canvas/paper, so much exists on the inside, but it's hard to explain that to someone if they haven't experienced it (and it sounds fruit-loopy, too. For an analytical sort like me, that's a bit annoying. I hate when I sound fruity!)

I also learned that I have to paint the eyes in a painting as soon as I can, so I can connect with it. Otherwise, I feel like I am fumbling in the dark. It's strange, kind of a mind game I suppose, but it's these landmarks and preferences that help me go in the right direction with my painting rather than fighting it (in other words, I need to get out of my own way and do the things that help me paint, and I should know better than to try to do it differently.)

Here are the only others I have managed (and most of them are recent, it's been a long slog in real life which led to no time in studio-life):

Parrot study, 4x6 inches, acrylic on canvas panel Available

Raccoon, 4x6 inches, acrylic on canvas panel (sold)

"Party Crashers" 8x10, acrylic on canvas panel, framed, available (on show currently at Thumbprint Gallery, CA)

Now, about the quiet. I've been silent, and it's because my life blew up again as I stated in my last post. Not me, personally, but people more dear to me than any other on this earth. Life or death, without exaggeration.

I wish I could explain what is going on, but due to our society's pattern of shaming, stigmatizing, harming, and subsequently silencing... I can't. In order to protect, I cannot share, and that leaves me all alone. I have written, and deleted what it has been like. I have written, and deleted what I have felt and feared. It's not my tale to tell, not really.

And if one more person tells me to "paint the feelings" as a way to manage the stress of it all, I may give them a black eye. Or two. Perhaps the issue lies in the fact that it is not my angst that I would paint, but the suffering of another experienced from the outside - and that is what silences me more than anything else in the studio. Art is a place of joy for me, and when there is no joy I cannot create art. Art does not come from active fear, for me. Maybe painters of old were able to lock themselves away and explore their angst in paint, but in my dynamic circumstances I have neither the desire, irresponsible nature, nor the ability to shut everything else out and "just paint."

So, instead there has simply been quiet. I watched my paint dry up on my pallets. Heck, MOLD grew on one (the ever-wet pallet? Yeah, distilled water didn't stop that from happening. So, there's one marketing claim debunked.) Dust gathered on my easels. I missed deadlines and commitments, and I was embarrassed. I began to wonder if I even could paint anymore.

A little bit of hope worked its way in with some changes (that I yet again cannot mention), and as soon as the glimmer was there, I was able to at least go sit in my studio for a few minutes here and there. I've held onto that little light, and I'm working on making it grow. That nurturing of hope is what yielded these few paintings. I have more in progress now.

My Owl painting, Rae, is what really made me feel better. That made me think that maybe I haven't forgotten everything, or maybe I actually have something of worth as an artist still... You start to doubt everything, especially when you aren't painting and you see all your peers posting more and more work while you post nothing. You are effectively left behind, even if that's not true - art does not leave people behind. (But sometimes, oftentimes, it feels that way.)

I am currently in the midst of trying to cling to the glimmers of hope, trying to be more than barely existing, and some big changes coming soon (that I will be able to talk about, but not quite yet.) I am in my studio now, and I will be painting in a few minutes. Little paintings right now, because I can finish them and give myself a small sense of accomplishment. I need that right now. I feel like it's the starting walk, that leads to a slow jog, then a fast one, and then a run in my studio. I want to run again!

So that's where I have been. That is the quiet I am living in. I have probably said more than I should have in this post, and yet left it vague enough to be irritating (sorry about both.) I hope to have a lot more positive things to share in the future!


  1. Wow, these paintings are beautiful! It's interesting to read that you need to paint the eyes first in order to connect with the painting. I just love the last one with the party crashers. The way you did the fur, the eyes, the composition, ... It's simply gorgeous. Don't ever doubt yourself, you are very talented!

  2. I'm glad you're painting again!
    I understand about taking quiet time! I actually understand about maybe not even painting again. I have went through that and it was a weird feeling!
    I truly hope everything works out in what is going on.
    Your paintings are absolutely gorgeous! I mean that from the bottom of my heart!! The owl is purely magical! Well done!!
    So good to hear from you!!


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