Thursday, September 10, 2009

Opening to a Painting



This painting has been working me over for several days. It doesn't help that I am working within the frame of a large barn door and therefore fighting the elements as I paint! Wind, rain, mist, cold have all been by to visit in my barn studio lately. Often I welcome the rhythm of the weather as I paint in this enchanting studio but as high summer begins to blend into early autumn the light & air change, making painting more of a challenge in the barn.
When a painting feels like it is coming into being, it coincides with a certain knowing that starts to settle in my body. This piece was inspired by the interaction of the water and the rocks. The water falling, caressing, in constant flux and the rocks steady, slow presence allowing the falling water to polish & enhance its shapes. I have no idea what I wanted to say about this except that it was nudging me to say something so I started painting. More and more I know less and less about what I am beginning when I start, I have some vague images and ideas but mostly I let the paint guide me. Sometimes I start to become attached to the piece and really like it, which is almost as bad as when I hate it, both are attachments of some form and almost always stop the flow of the piece. Then I grumble and mumble about how much I dislike the whole process and loose confidence in my ability, doubt and insecurity start to creep in and gnaw at me. This is usually when I turn the painting toward the wall and start another piece, this other piece allows me to move out of my stuckness and open up new avenues of thought patterns and feelings to flow in different direcitons. I usually spend some time reading or writing as well. Lately I have been alternating between Rilke's Duino Elegies and The Tibetan Book of Living & Dying, both of which will inform my paintings with their words and ideas. However, so will everything I see, think and feel during this time. When engaged in a painting, everything becomes the painting; the cactus flowers I saw today, the rainbow that arched over the barn, the small grey cat that came to visit, the warm smile of my friend Luis, the tears in a good-bye, the dripping of water into buckets from the leaky barn roof, the patterns of the clouds sweeping across the sky. All of life fuses, becoming an intensely intricate pattern of beauty that pours into paint like liquid silver...I finally let go, and NOW I am painting! Soaring through the empty sky with no limits!
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