Me too

I got up this morning, let the dog out, and started painting.  It’s prep work, really.  I dropped blue and white backgrounds onto three canvases so I can just dive in with the composition later.  Even if I don’t feel particularly inspired, I can always apply paint to a surface, because I’ve developed a process.  There’s still creativity in it, even if I’m blocking in large blocks of color with a sponge.  I’m choosing colors and mixing them with white.  I start to see clouds appear, and sense that contrast and deeper blue at the top, fading into a hazier, whiter blue toward the horizon.  Sometimes I let the drips be.  Most of this will be covered over later, but parts of it will peek through.  What is obliterated will inform the layers to come.  It’s going to make the next step easier.  Even though I paint in acrylic, which dries too fast for some artists, I’ve often tried to paint tree trunks onto a wet surface because I couldn’t wait.

Sometimes, I work on a representational painting and an abstract painting side by side together.  It’s two sides of me, and one acts as a palate cleanser for the other.  They communicate in different ways, first to me, and then to a broader audience.

Art is more than a hobby for me.  I suppose it always has been.  It’s always been my identity.  Now it is my profession.  I retired from my career in healthcare, and now I can focus my working time on my artistic practice.

I will continue my daily habit of creating unrestrained abstracts on paper, which is less about product than it is about  the process.

When I have a new opportunity to exhibit my work in public, I get very inspired to create larger, more deliberate works on canvas.

I care for myself by creating.  I validate myself by trusting that I can do this.  I can tell my visual stories in marketable form, while at the same time, visiting those otherwise inaccessible parts of my subconscious.  There are parts of me that are sitting in dark closets.  Art allows me to take them by the hand and lead them into the light.  How many more hostages cower in my darkened corners?  I want to free them all.  I want to unlock the doors and let the light in.  I say to myself what I often to say to others, and that is that there is nothing wrong with you.  There is nothing wrong with me.  I can say the unspoken words that frighten me or cause me to feel ashamed.  I can speak them in paint, and then in words, and often hear the reply, “me too.”

That’s when I realize I’m not the only one.  What I have felt has not been unique.  By saying it, I might allow someone else to say it, too.  Our misconceptions about ourselves can be reinterpreted.  What we saw as a failure was actually an opportunity.  It wasn’t the thing itself.  It was a necessary step on our path. When we realize it was all a mix-up, it can become funny or even sacred.  The things you dislike about yourself can become things you love about yourself.

Palate Cleanser 36 X 36, multimedia, no acrylic

This abstract is different at this point, because I have not used any acrylic on it. It’s done with tempera paint sticks and Stabilo Woodys, which are thick water soluble pencils. I do plan to come into this one with acrylic, or possibly tempera paints, but this is the base layer on a work in progress.


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