Monday, January 18, 2016

Revisiting Older Work

So, after a long break for Christmas and the New Year's holiday, it felt so good to get back to work in the studio.  Painting, thinking about painting, reading about artists and other creative soul-mates is in my DNA.  Before we left for the mountains in December, I purchased 5 yards of canvas and stretchers, so it would be waiting there for me on my return.  Always good to have some menial labor to start the year off with while mentally working out what will go on those shiny new canvases. Pulling, stretching, stapling, priming…..lots of mental work going on there.  One of the most exciting feelings is when you can splash on those first drops of color on that blinding white primed surface, and dive in.
Sometimes I have a plan, sometimes, not. Often, there is left over paint on my palate, and I just water it down and drip it/brush it/scrape it on in some random movement, following my mood. That is BLISS for a day.  Then, comes the part where you want to pull your hair out and scream "I can't leave it like this!!!"  Granted, it's FRESH and AIRY and BRIGHT….. and I wish I had the guts to leave it and say "I love it this way, and it's DONE!"   Then my artistic integrity comes into play and tells me that I am capable of SO MUCH MORE……
That's when I have to put those fresh new creations aside and go look at some of the previous work and revisit those processes.  Then, go and revisit some artists (physically and on paper) that fire me up and cause me to see things that I  may have forgotten, and inspire me to reach further than I ever have.  I'm amazed that after all these years, I have paintings in the depths that I let escape just by showing up and challenging myself every day.
Older works that I haven't been totally happy with, will suddenly show me where I have gone wrong, and beg me to change this or that.  As my painting style slowly evolves, I see what I didn't see before, and my looser style will spill over onto the older painting, changing it and bringing it into 2016.  Great feeling.  Happy New Year to us all, and may your creative life flourish.

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