Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Mood Introspection in B&W"

The Lee Clan
1960's - San Francisco, CA
(Gerene & Sal's Wedding - couple far rt)

What a photo -- not to mention how a family photo can make you feel when you were the youngest  and can remember this very day!  This is my Dad's family sans 5 missing siblings out of 12.  (Yep, that's me -- front row to the right, next to my Mom).  

So... you're probably wondering what this photo has to do with introspection?  Today, introspection has led me to another form of expression through old photographs and writing.  Isn't it interesting how you set up your day to paint or draw, get in some studio time,  and life events take you someplace else just like that?  

Today, my someplace else has been very sad... a sudden family crisis has unraveled the neatness around my most thinly padded fear.  You know -- that fear that we aren't going to live forever and that stark reality--we have or will lose our parents one day?  My Aunt Lai (she's in the photo directly above me to the left) suffered a bad stroke over the weekend and is in ICU not able to respond except through a faint nod and a hand squeeze.  Her husband is my Dad's older and last living brother (89) out of 12 sibs.  I am bonded with my girl cuzzies of the 'bad boy brothers' -- lost in Cantonese translation... (we are all 1 year apart in age).  One of us has lost her Dad over a year ago, now there is just Lai's husband David (89) and my Dad (87) and their sister Ann.  

It's not a surprise that introspection is a crucial aspect of our personality as artists.  If you understand your emotions it enables you to get in touch with yourself.  Isn't that a part of the process that motivates us to respond and participate in artmaking?  We are the group that can give ourselves over to this impulse with permission for an outward and tangible voice that makes it visible.  

There are just some days you have no choice in surrendering to an  'introspective mood'!  Finding these old photographs today came from a power and passion to reach for and recapture a time in my mind and in my life.  Like comfort foods...these are comfort photos!

Dad on far left with his badboy friends

I loved watching my Dad bowl...he was great at it!  

 At Grandma's for a birthday & opening presents.  My Dad wearing sunglasses inside!  

Every photo tells a story.  A story from the subject(s) and then another from the viewer.  These were the photos that grabbed me today.  Stay tuned for more introspective conversations and vintage photographs.  

This post is dedicated with my love for my family and holding good thoughts for my Aunt.  To everyone who is watching over their parents, and the challenge in watching them become less and less independent.  

Monday, February 1, 2010

"Dealing & Developing"

Haven't you heard your creative mind covering up your inadequacies -- the ones that you continue to ignore and pacify --or...are you maybe stuck on the same thread that's at the end of it's line?  A painting you want to make that you can see so clearly in your mind but maybe it's too much of a risk? 

In the studio, we have these conversations a lot and sometimes, if we're lucky, we have a solid "you can trust in your studio" fellow painter to banter around these thoughts with.  Someone you can tell instead of having to hear it by yourself while going another day either loving or hating your aloneness inside the studio.   

Recently,  I've been surrendering to my frustrations and facing my working with new materials straight-on.  Maybe this slow time of year  supports this inward contemplative nature in me.  By giving into this and dealing with myself, I have been slowly figuring out my technical problems one at a time.  So, don't lie to yourself  about whatever it is that you can't do.  Dealing with developing your work and technical skills creates feelings of a setback on various levels.  It makes you feel too many bad things that sometimes constellate into that dreaded downward spiral.  What can you do???  Stay focused and even self-centered in order to stay in the state of absorption to carry you towards the results you're after.   

I tend to wait too long before making a change (in and outside of the studio)... try to get to the truth early...and the next successful painting will be waiting for you.   Easy to say -- hard to do.  Dealing with and accepting the problem you might be facing gives you an opportunity to 'fix it'.  This takes much patience, being diligent, staying on track, slowing down and...  the "D" words -- Dealing, Developing and Discipline  (in some cases Divorce -- just kidding).  

While opening up and stretching my visual vocabulary through working tediously with materials and techniques, I am glad I did.  New work is developing off this new mindset.  The hassels of going back and forth with materials is paying off.  I love the technical aspects of materials and am proud of being a good technician.  So, deal with yourself if you want to push beyond your current plateau.   Get over yourself,  work hard and you'll be pleasantly absorbed once again.  

If there's something you want to do...it is all about the matter of putting in the time to develop the ability to do it!

As we give fully, unafraid to let others
know the truth about ourselves, we receive
unexpected rewards from unexpected sources.

__Helene Lerner-Robbins, writer