Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In Progress - Another kind of Heat

Since returning from my NY trip, I've been questioning myself about what the wax is doing for my work? An urgency to get out of my comfort zone comes knocking . Working in Acrylic and Wax has been a constant--the wax driving the work. Talking this over with a good painter friend, the question of 'materials' has again jumped on my back -- a nagging dialogue which I am taking on this time.

This new painting, on my usual birch panel (60x24) is calling me out to do something sans the wax. The elimination of wax is a big deal --it changes everything in the painting process. It removes a time consuming setup routine, interrupts a workflow that has been in my practice for over 5 years and takes away a zone of comfort. The wait time for melting wax, making paints with resin and pigments, encaustic medium, and fusing is now replaced with little process -- mixing paint and waiting for paint to dry. I am finding that I can paint faster. Something is happening. A space of freedom that is uncomfortable. It's the wait time with nothing to do but staying with the work...intimacy.

Something happened last week --
I ruined a meticulously beautifully painted canvas (36x36)---prepping it in flat matte black, drying on my terrace sawhorses -- not a flaw after 3 luscious layers, 2 days of waiting and minimal sanding...what happened? i couldn't wait any longer. 99.9% dry, I started to unmask the edges and began sanding paint drips off the 2" cradle...sanding dust landed on the not-yet-dried surface the size of an orange...without thinking, i used my hand to dust it off and ruined it -- making a finger dent that f**ked it up! Lesson #1 learned...waiting for real is key.

The dynamic physicality of working in wax keeps you very focused and moving quickly all the time. Hyper multi-tasking is what it has been for me. Now, the process of painting without wax is much slower. Time to feel what is going on with the work. I'm not saying goodbye to wax, just gotta see what happens. It's sorta like the challenge of trying to eliminate 'black' from my wardrobe -- what's the new black and all that...

An initial thought passed through my mind that taking away a material like wax is simplifying -- but no not really. It's peeling off a layer to get to a new place with the work. Letting the work lead is everything. When a body of work is finished there's more coming that shifts the work if you can hang with that. Can you be true to that and get lost, insecure, frustrated and float along?

No mistake that I'm teaching Encaustic classes every month and just found out I'm booked out through 2010. Teaching is very rewarding for me. I enjoy group dynamics, the process, giving and receiving. I give my students everything, no holding back.

After 2 weeks of invitation came that can't be missed...suitcase packed, in the air after lunch-- headed for amazing weekend with good friends to celebrating a friend's gallery opening in Pomona -- AC Projects (Andi Campognone). The work is always waiting for me when I return.

Mocha the other morning at Peet's --4th Street/Berkeley....Mocha and me waiting for my friend.. talking Mom-to-Mom about our kids....on the spectrum...another book waiting to be written...

Here she is --- "Another kind of Heat" she'll be called for now....great name for a show...

More to say soon about music, the brain and creativity. My daughter and I did 'music therapy'
called "Tomatis" when she was 4....I heard there was an interview with Sting on CTV about music and the brain...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Showing Up/Paintings turned Studies

It's been a while since blogging. Sounds like a pattern. This week has been rough. Not too different from any practice that you lapse out of. This summer I've been busy moving and traveling. Meeting incredible artists that I can really listen to about art. Yeah, the good things... still transitioning with a rearranged life. My therapist says "so much change"'s not pretty but I keep showing up and things are better. If only I could cut myself some slack.

I have shown up in the Studio this week -- Tues, Wed and today -- doing a 4am - 4pm. I taught my Encaustic class on Monday. This week I knew I had to start again and kickass or suffer through a longer period of reviving the juju. This 4am thing has been my routine for the past 5 years.

Stretching my range as a painter is invigorating and frustrating at the same time, but I know it's right. The new body of work began in February and seems to be taking forever. I see now the work evolves and goes forward even when you can't see or feel it happening. Sometimes it takes a while to take it in. I can really say I like my work now and require less distance when the painting is done.

4 paintings are now 'studies'. Not intentional but yet another process that moves you along.

The grid began tight and more hardedged this year. The labor and physicality of working with wax, increasing the scale and meticulously isolating acrylic & wax has been a real high for me. oh yea, 'control'...

Something shifted when viewing the new paintings turned 'studies'. I saw several paintings in a painting. The tightness of the work began to feel overwhelming on several levels. Like my life -- too much of too much... reality -- lots of losses. So much I can't even write about it yet. People freak out when you tell them how bad it's been.

I'm investigating what I call the "driver" inside of me. The thing that wakes me up at 4am and signals me that painting is what I have to do. So there, I blogged. I have some shots to share on what a day like today turned out to be. Friends think it's glamourous to be an artist. It's not. I'm not bitter, just tired.