For people that don't know me, I stopped painting for about 12 years. Next week marks the end of my first year back painting. During that period of time when I wasn't painting, I had my daughter, Makiko, who was a wonderful distraction. However, lot's of other stuff happened too, that made me think that I might never paint again. I was ok with that. I already gave myself 20 years to paint. What more could I expect? Then I got laid off from my teaching job, so I rented a little studio space, not knowing what to expect. When I allowed myself to think about it, I thought worse case scenario I wouldn't have anything to paint. At best, I might pick up where I left off when I stopped painting, which was kinda surreal in style, imagery picked from my girly imagination, with very personal and difficult content. Content that was sometimes hard to find. I didn't think about it too much though, because I didn't want to freak myself out.
So, I was surprised to find that it's been completely different than anything I expected. For one thing, I started painting from observation, something I had not really done since my undergrad days. It was so... FUN. I think after teaching high school students how to work from observation, I actually learned something. Also my imagery is happier and more universal.
This year has been super, and not at all what I expected. I had feared that I wouldn't be able to paint. I feared I might be done, but really the opposite has happened and it sometimes feels just like a fire hose has been turned on. I have moved through a lot of different series this year, instead of laboring over one idea for months like I used to do. I don't know which is better. I am choosing to just observe what is happening and go with it. I have definitely lightened up, and it's... refreshing.
I have observed a pattern. I flip back and forth, working on a bunch of small things at one time, to working on one large thing at a time. I think it's pretty common. Another thing is I switch back and forth from knowing exactly what something is going to look like from the start, to waiting till I see something on the canvas. Then I have to pay a different kind of attention, where I try to stop my hand when something good happens. Difficult way to play for a impulsive, compulsive person like me, but it keeps me amused.
Some stuff I have been working on lately, mostly small.
|"Away" 6"x6" oil on canvas|
|"Gauges" 8"x8" oil on canvas|
|"Orange Bike" (still a work in progress) 24"x16" oil on panel|
|"Scooter Eye" 10"x8" oil on canvas|
|"Moto Profile" 8"x8" oil on canvas|
|"Blue Bike" 10"x10" oil on panel|