My babies were huge; at least the first two were off the charts. My third child arrived with great fanfare but no delivery drama, as he was dropped on my doorstep. He was my "chosen child" and was very tiny, very strong, and very scared. It took months of holding him pretty much around the clock to get him to settle down and feel secure and start to gain weight. His arrival into my life was a pivotal moment. His presence has been a molding force in my character. The unique challenges and exciting victories he has brought into our family have made us who we are. Thank you Harry! He is not so little anymore. He has grown into a fine man who is sweet, funny and really muscular. The rest of us are stretched out tall. He is the shortest but by far the strongest. We are all so grateful to have had the opportunity to love someone who is so different from the rest of us. It has been a life lesson. The grandkids all were huge babies too and have stretched out to skinny tall people. Watching us all grow and change and become who we are is such a privilege. Growth, like moving, working and learning, is necessary to have a full life. It isn't easy, but then, who said it was going to be? Go Figure!
It was a discovery for me that I really like the shape of circles and bubbles. I have always loved bubbles, their shape, flexibility, reflective quality, but didn't realize how drawn (pun intended) to them I am. Generally I paint alla prima (doing the entire painting in one session) but I let this one percolate for a while while "sorting it out." What I mostly love about painting abstracts is that it makes me think differently. A book, a movie, a play, a dance, a poem, music, even an exquisite meal, that makes me think differently brings me joy. I am currently reading a satirical book about the ideal Republican. I believe its intention is to look at the foibles of Republican thought and policy by expressing an inflated belief in them, but mostly it comes across as sarcastic. I am not sure its intention is to also poke fun at a particularly narrow minded liberal attitude about conservatives, but it succeeds on that end as well. So why am I reading it? The reason is to understand the author better. This is the second book I have read recently to better understand these authors as humans, because they touch the lives of those I care about. Then I think about writing a blog and how that tells something about who I am. Too bad we can't read our own writing totally objectively, or evaluate our own artistic endeavors totally objectively. All we can do is try to "sort it all out" as best we can. Go figure.
The colors are much more lovely in person. The reds and purples have pretty much disappeared from this photo. It is an oil painting 3"x8"...about the size of a large bookmark. I titled it "Illusion." I don't know why, but it seemed appropriate. Everything outside my doors is a bit of an illusion today. It is white with a bit of grays. The white is swirling and dropping, sliding and blowing. We are immersed in a classic spring nor'easter and they have labeled it a blizzard. It is definitely dicey on the roads and the birds don't seem too pleased by it. There is a lot of powdery stuff on the ground and my ski friends are drinking toasts to it already. This weekend will be divine for them although plenty will be complaining about another storm coming in then. I have no opinion as I will be in the south with comparatively balmy temperatures. I hope the kids have a blast, that the winter recreationalists are thrilled, that everyone is safe and the disgruntled are too preoccupied to complain. I will be enjoying a comfortable stroll on quiet streets. That is, if I can make it to the airport in the morning, which is questionable at this point. Go figure!
Wild and exciting, these mums are close to being out of control. A bouquet haphazardly placed in a ball jar grabs the attention of anyone who walks in the room. They make me smile. They remind me of my kids. My son came to visit this weekend with his beautiful daughters. We had so much fun. They are free range kids who are sweet and interesting and smart and excited to be alive. Their father is wild, crazy, fun, sensitive, smart and really good looking. He is also clever and talented. He recently went through a tough time, but he pulled it together and sorted the inside and out. He makes me smile when he walks into the room. He is interested in so many things and is skilled in a multitude of areas, but is always thirsty to learn new things. His latest passions include playing the guitar and specializing in plumbing repair to work on his home which was built in 1899 as the town library. He was not an easy child to raise, but when I see what an awesome and dedicated father he is, I feel so proud of him. He is like the crazy patterns of these mums, a bit unpredictable, but oh, so beautiful. I would like him evn if he weren't my son! A mother's love....go figure.
Canvas boards are not the best surface to paint on. It is an inexpensive alternative to stretched canvas, canvas panels, linen surfaces or hardboard surfaces. I had some for my granddaughters to paint on, but I grabbed it to paint this image. What beautiful patterns there are in fabrics. Although I didn't copy the patterns as such, I tried to get the feel of the different fabrics and colors. We seek out patterns every day. They help us to understand what is going on around us and to find comfort in their regularity or excitement in their alterations. Visual patterns can be found in nature (spirals, fractals, waves, bubbles, cracks and all aspects of weather, water and light) as well as in art, like these beautiful fabrics. I don't focus on patterns so much, but they do add another dimension to painting. I often wear black or just plain boring clothing, but when I venture into something stylish, colorful or made of luscious patterns, my friends notice. They usually seem a bit surprised. I think I express my love of color through paint, and when it is time to get dressed my creativity is in storage....go figure!
It is tax time. There are numerous things which make me cringe when I have to do them and taxes hold an honorable place on that list, along with dental appointments and making travel arrangements. But, somehow, those things are not nearly as imposing after the fact as they are in the anticipation. Yesterday it was plane tickets and today taxes. However, it is hard for me to jump into painting when I have days like this. I fiddle around a bit painting, and then occupy myself with tasks like framing, or preparing painting panels, cleaning the studio or I do the laundry. It is all part of my resistance behaviors and I am reading a great book about this, "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield. I highly recommend it. This was a painting that I did over a number of days. I thought about it a lot. Considered the composition, the colors, the values, the textures and patterns. It is not my usual way of working, but I have been needing a shake-up and this represented part of that process. It was satifsfying. I framed it today and will mail it out this weekend. Tomorrow, I am going to be all about painting. I may create a flop or surprise myself and have a success. That is part of the fun of all of this, not knowing if the inspiration and technique will cooperate for me. It gets me out to the studio and that's what really matters....go figure.
Encouragement is a precious commodity that should be generously shared at every possible moment. I firmly believe this. There are many great books about overcoming the fear or resistance to following your dreams. I am reading a good one now, "The War of Art." It applies to everything though, not just the arts. We are designed to be sensitive to others comments and opinions about what we do. We are really our own worst enemies vacillating between insecurity and an over-inflated opinion of ourselves. Both will lead to a lack-luster performance. The beauty of following your passion when you are in the last quarter of your life is the truth that "if not now, when?" I feel I have to make up for years of pursuing important activities that don't directly translate into being an artist. I feel an urgency and I like that drive. I am grateful to the teachers I have had along the way, both those I have met in person, and those I have read about. The daily painters movement has taught me to be disciplined, now I am focusing on other aspects of my artistic development. It is good to occasionally take an assessment of where we are now, and where we want to go and then modify and tweak the journey. I hope you are at a satisfying point in your journey, figuratively speaking.
Making abstract art is so like living life. You have to create and then navigate the twists and turns and even the most simple of designs or plans is complicated and enriched by layers of textures and subtleties. It is a combination of utilizing technique, and acquired skills and letting inspiration have a voice. One of the most exciting things in my life is the somewhat tedious trajectory of skills I need to learn. It is exciting to know that I don't have enough time left in my life to learn everything I can and need to make my art better. It truly is an uphill climb and I am excited to be making it.