Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"Taking It Downtown"

"A Painting in Progress"
(relating to what was)

Taking it "downtown"  this week in the studio has definitely got me dealing with the core.  Actually, the real heart of my matters ( I know -- so transparent for my therapist -- I'll stay in denial until my morning session)...The down and dirty decisions have been made and I'm sticking to them. The progress above is happening slowly as the materials have kept me dancing back and forth.  A very nice dance  I'm enjoying and rocking with .  (If you're a mixed media painter like I am-- you'll understand how one can become scattered like a feather!)

This new painting is going to be one of 3 large pieces with a vision of joining an existing body of work.  That impulsiveness to follow a random urge can be overpowering at times.   I'm finding more comfort in the "focus" zone and listening to meaningful and practical decisions. It brings you back around to discipline or what I call "holding" some of those impulses at bay.  Maybe that's not how you work or what you need in the studio, but the longer I paint and show up, it seems to be the deal breaker when I ignore what I know.  After a while, the consequences of laziness, impatience and skipping steps backlashes.  

It's not about being too rigid and uptight with experimenting, instead a finer ability to listen, act, look and wait.  I'm excited about this cycle of intimacy in working with my materials, and how they are relating and reacting to one another.  Integrating graphite, wax, pigments, oils, resin, acrylics, and polyurethane on various grounds and substrates turns me on!  

This painting is changing as the materials relate to one another within the geometric grid.  What's happening right now is the beginning...  my intent is to allow the materials to adapt individually and yet push them to the limits to reach the same level of integrity for what it can do as an integrated whole.  

Here's a peak at the next painting that is in the process of being taken "downtown".  This was a mixed media  encaustic painting with graphite and encaustic oil sticks (48"x48" wood panel).   As I've talked about in an earlier post -- I always begin with the grid and here you see an incomplete gestural abstraction obscuring the truth.  

The Iwatani Butane Torch

A 48"x48" Encaustic Painting in 2D!

Taking it to the Core!

As you know, it's often real easy to throw up your hands and say, "you can't make the cut to committ to this artist life" -- but you gotta do it!  There have been the ups and downs in this process to arrive here,  but a good leap in every step.  And, the steps will keep coming because that's what it's about.  Whichever way your work leads you, it's the reason for being in the studio.    

Enjoy what keeps you showing up!  Music is my best friend-- it energizes my body to move, sing, swing, rock and feel good! Yeah, sometimes too much reality crushes your confidence and ability to participate in artmaking.  So, try some bite-sized goals when it feels dry.  Make some "down and dirty decisions" and take your work "downtown"... It's the human condition to feel depressed about how little we feel we accomplish.  Don't let the outter conditions punch a hole in your dreams!  Get inside them and see what happens!  

MARK ROTHKO - "I Paint Very Large Pictures" (1951)
I paint very large pictures.  I realize that historically the function of painting large pictures is painting something very grandiose and pompous.  The reason I paint them,  however---I think it applies to other painters I know---is precisely because I want to be very intimate and human.  To paint a small picture is to place yourself outside your experience, to look upon an experience as a stereopticon view with a reducing glass.  However, you paint the larger pictures, you are in it.  It isn't something you command.