Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Things Are Happening, I Just Don't Know What.

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


  1. You have had an extremely productive year! Guess you were making up for the last 12 years, eh? Can't wait to see what the next year brings.

  2. it's great to reflect and see how much you've accomplished and to have this time. There's a lot to be said about reaching this point in life (this age). There's some lows...and then suddenly you realize all the bits and pieces come together. I love what you're doing here and what you're exploring. Congratulations, one year return-to-painting anniversary!