Jan 20, 2011


Out of the fog....into the fog. The geese trail over the brushy, naked trees.

Jan 18, 2011

In Progress

It's hard to believe the piece above will go anywhere nice but I am trusting the process of not thinking. Not that I believe it will ensure that everything I make is beautiful but just that my art in general will be more authentic and interesting. I thought the top painting would not go anywhere nice after I finished the under-painting but I am starting to like it.

Jan 11, 2011

Becoming Soft

I've decided to stop thinking. I know that technically I am supposed to wait until I am enlightened to enjoy not thinking, but I can't wait that long. I'm tired of wrestling the same demons to the ground every week and feeling like I have accomplished something. Of course, I can't actually stop the thoughts from being there in my noggin. It's just that I am ignoring them them they way I ignore anyone who talks compulsively without saying anything genuine or ever listening to anyone else. "Uh huh," I might mutter while going about my business.

So far this is going well in the realm of painting. I can't say as much for my personal life, but you have to start somewhere. Painting will be my gateway drug into life outside the mind. It is a very soft place to be and I renamed my blog Soft in celebration.

The piece above is a self portrait I made in a drawing class several years ago. In case it is not obvious, the figure in the forest is a priest and he is weighing out my goodness and badness, the scale tipping grossly to the bad. He looks more like a small child not altogether pleased with his task which was not my intent but makes it a more accurate portrait. I found it when I was digging around in a paper drawer yesterday and found it a delightful reminder to let go of constant judgments, like a crow has landed irreverently on the rock pile and broken the scale.

Jan 10, 2011

Jan 8, 2011


After I made my paper conglomerate I pasted the words onto it and waited for it to dry. Now I can start painting.

Jan 7, 2011

Jan 5, 2011

Out of the Fog...Into the Fog...

I'm still following impulses to get over my hesitations about making books.  After typing up the poem I began exploring the lines with ink and tracing paper. This gradually led me to a new version of the poem about half as long.

Later, I encountered the work of Jeanie Tomanek and was inspired by the way her paintings are all stories, with no words or pages of course, and decided that it's stories I want to make more than books or paintings or even poems.  Then I was talking to a friend about the feeling I had that Tomanek has already painted all the stories I wanted to paint (as if she and I are the only people making art out of birds and trees.)  He laughed at me of course, and reminded me that I will tell my stories in my own way. I decided it isn't even stories I want to make but the art that already lives inside me.

This morning I found further agreement reading Dale's post about how one should not attempt to make a novel unless one has no other options. I decided to let go of the vision I had of multiple illustrated pages so I could follow whatever impulse has been blocked in me lately.  The next time I sat down with my pen and ink I whittled the poem down further into three small moments. Then I started to make paper, not pages, but one large conglomerate of pulp:

This photo doesn't capture the beauty of wet pulp but it'll do for now. I hadn't made paper since I left for Olympia, maybe two years ago. It was a barely controlled catastrophe. My equipment is all wrong now.  Some of this I knew and had been planning to change way back when, like making a new deckle with the screen supported by dowels instead of hardware cloth so I don't have the grid showing through. Some things though I have grown out of.

When I realized how much I liked to make paper I decided I wanted to make a living at it so I figured I should set myself up to make paper efficiently. Thus a larger mould and deckle which requires a larger vat which requires a bigger work space, and on and on and on...It sounds sort of like the U.S.A. in general. I don't know how we lived without Costco or a double car garage growing up, but we did.

It was awkward, to say the least, trying to make one art piece in a small bathroom on equipment geared for production, but I managed and have a pretty good idea of what all I need to change for next time.

Philosophical thoughts aside, when impulses are blocked the best thing to do is to make anything at all. This is how I got going this morning: