Aug 31, 2008

Paintings are so Easy to Start and So Hard to Finish

I really want to believe I am done with this painting but I know I am not. I wish I hadn't used black out of the tube...if I had mixed my own it would have richer mid-tones.

I can't decide if I love or hate this piece!

Aug 30, 2008

Work, Grace, Being

Work has been on my mind a lot since I have been looking for a job, so I am not surprised to see it work its way into my spontaneous pieces.
I am beginning to like this piece but I have a long way to go with it!

Aug 29, 2008

Eld Inlet

The rain was heavy in the warm air and my bare arms made vibes for the never-ending mallets of the clouds. The moss on the wily trees gleamed gold in the silver light and the inlet was soft, rain blurring grey into blue and blue into grey.

Another piece from my Heart Work project. I love that I can combine writing with it too. The hardest thing to relax about is the lettering, in this piece I started writing in Humanist Bookhand and found myself very uptight because calligraphy is a detailed craft; I should be drawing up guidelines! I should practice first so I don't have italic and uncial letter forms slipping in by accident! It feels really good, though when I do relax and remember I am not trying to make a perfect piece.

Aug 28, 2008

Heart Work

I'm always asking my acupuncturist existential questions and luckily he sort of likes to answer them. "Skip," I said, "You know how some people say you should follow your heart, is that a good idea?" He looked surprised, or maybe befuddled and said, "Yes, but it isn't all rainbows." He had a lot more to say about the subject and I was relieved, I had thought that maybe I was doing something wrong for the fact that my attempts to follow my heart had not made my life into a continuous Hallmark Moment. So, anyways, my new found conviction mingled with my artistic endeavors a week later and this new process started that is a lot like my old process before I went back to school. It involves getting out a piece of paper and some art supplies, feeling whatever is in my heart, and then making art with as little regard as possible for the outcome. I always try to make art from my heart or my soul or some higher, more evolved part of myself but because I have an objective of some sort and a desire to be a legitimate artist I find it difficult to stream genuinely during the whole process. I don't actually think that is a bad thing; there is a lot to learn and explore with our own will and mis-perceptions. But I am really glad that I can finally find space to be more focused on the source of my work. It's really just like having a sit-down meditation practice to help oneself remember to be present all day out in the world.

Aug 27, 2008

Following Soft Spots.

So, here I am in Olympia, looking for work and painting behind my couch in my faux-studio. I think I am beginning to understand what these pieces are about. They are about dominance. Not the sort of superiority complex humans engage in but the natural inclination for things growing in nature to grow as much as they can and the inevitable result that other
things will get lost under the canopy of strength and exuberance. I am trying to feel and experience how this would work with language and ideas. Certainly we have all had to make decisions that weren't clear at first. All the options floated around, one coming to the surface for a while than another coming to the fore-front as the best decision and others falling away completely. Eventually, whether we made a conscious decision or not, one path of action prevails and life carries us on down like a stream looking for soft spots in rock.

Aug 23, 2008

In and Out of Boxes

 Here I am settling in to Olympia. I miss Portland, of course but so far its nice here. I managed to get some painting done while I was packing and tying up loose ends. Now my priority is finding work but I ought to be able to paint some this weekend. Most cafes frown upon applicants who show up in the middle of a busy brunch asking for work as if they have no knowledge of the madness that ensues
in a restaurant on the weekends. Last night I hung most of my paintings, mainly to get them out of the way. I am seriously considering that I may need to paint smaller. Most of my pieces are 3' x 2" of 3' x 4'. I love to paint big but It may be a while before I can properly store or sell as much work as I seem to be making.
I have no idea where this text piece is going so I started a new one.

The new piece is very structured in an uptight sort of way which was very grounding and helpful while my life dissolved into chaos and unknowns. I'm imagining, though that it won't be very interesting if I don't get more playful with it. I like some of the changes that are happening in the IMPORTANT piece but I feel really uncomfortable with making narrative art right now. I have always had a tension in me between wanting to be very illustrative and wanting to be a "real" artist who works outside the intellectual realm. I have a strong suspicion that as I stop trying to figure it out I will find myself in a very pleasing niche between the two or combining the two.

Aug 1, 2008


I feel like I am trekking through a desert of distractions lately and have not made much art. I am all in favor of life getting in the way sometimes but it seemed like I was letting it get in the way too much. I contemplated the situation and realized I am overwhelmed with feeling like I am supposed to have something great to say. This is strange because I am usually pretty wary of people who believe they have something to say that others really need to hear. Sort of like how my former boss believes that anyone who wants to be president should be immediately disqualified.
Also, I have no idea what to do with any of the pieces I'm working on. I like the blue negative space in the cursive piece but where is it going? When do I stop filling in little spaces? I see a lot of potential in the IMPORTANT piece but I have no vision for it. I was just seeing what would happen if I just painted. The print I like but it needs more value range and nothing makes sense to be darker except the crow. I know I'll figure it all out eventually. Sometimes
I think the whole reason I am an artist is to get comfortable with this process where you just have to try things and be willing to make mistakes. To learn to intuit what the next step is without having any idea where the whole thing is going. It's like I'm in training to be a human being.