Monday, May 16, 2016

Committed to Committing

There's always a story.  If there was no story to tell, what would be the point of painting?  But this one says more than the obvious.  It's a tale of struggle and self analysing, and discipline.  It's a tale of taking a weary creative mind that needs to speak from another realm of reality.  Ever since finding Mom's spirit had left her body, I know I am not the same person that I was before in many ways.  That day was a turning point for me.  I have been asked if I think I am suffering from Post Traumatic Syndrome, and I say no, I have been propelled into Post Reality Syndrome, nothing speaks "REAL" louder than those moments of being alone, without warning, with our Moms in a passed away state.  That's reality.  Every second since looks differently now.  No tolerance anymore for BS, not from anyone else, or myself, either.  Today is what is REAL from now on.
Painting is the non-stop thing that waits for me, along with everything else.  Another life changing reality is how time is used around this house since my husband is mostly/semi-retired.  Gone are the days of taking to my studio from 8 at night, to well into the hours of the dark morning, with my cd player playing non-stop.  Now that he is at home, we watch tv and go to bed by midnight.  It was a tough transition for me, but now I wonder how I ever did that at all.  I am now yawning with watery eyes at 10:30pm.  How did I ever stay up painting until 4am all those years??  I suppose the good trade-off is I wake in actual morning light, but "we" still take our time with coffee and news, so hitting the studio in the early morning hasn't happened yet.
I wonder if any artist truly feels like they maximize their time with making art.  I recall guest artist speakers talking about that very thing over the years.  I recall being told years ago, stop allowing art to be the first thing eliminated from your days duties.  And one saying how the phone ringing makes us drop our brush IMMEDIATELY, that was before internet.  I don't even want to imagine how internet has effected our creative time. I type that as I ponder how I could be painting right now instead of this rambling, mmmm hmmm.
Oh, I will paint today, once I clean my brushes.  You see, I have realistically re-assessed my role as an artist, and understand well, that in order to move forward, and make decent artwork, I must do what it takes to get there.  My legs are not weak, my eyes relatively healthy, I can sleep well enough to collect a vast array of nightmares, no physical excuses to not get there.  I have a studio that is a mess,  I'm not one to worry about tidying before I create.  And I live with someone very similar to me in living style.  The only difference to my workplace is the time thing, it's different, so I have to change to match the different.  I can do this.  It is just going to take some commitment, that's all.
This painting I posted here is a result of the new schedule I live in now.  Does it look much different than my other artworks?  Not really.  But to me, this has been a HUGE change.  First one, I used an eeeelongated canvas, 12x24, I usually prefer a standard rectangle, or a square, so this dimension brought some composition problems.  I spent a good few hours cropping photos, searching for help in making it work.  Second, I insisted that I only use bristle brushes.  I always start with that, but something happens to me where I give in, and grab that way-too-little acrylic sable brush, and start labouredly placing layers of paint over paint in a dazed zone of not really looking at what I am doing.  Third, instead of that URGE to create drama by going DARKER, I forced myself to go LIGHTER.  And four, every time I go upstairs, I go into the studio first, and do SOMETHING.  And when I get that urge to do all those things while I paint that I am trying to not do, I put my brush down and leave the studio, go do something else.  I can do that, the oils won't dry up, the palette and brushes can take a breather and think for a bit with me.
The reason for making these small changes is something I wonder about.  I may not like how things change, it is taking a large sense of commitment, and discipline.  I rarely look at something I painted after a short term and think it looks DONE.  But I do like those fresh dancing kinds of brushstrokes that have more character than layers of dark paint over dark paint.  I have to adjust to my own commitment. I have to learn to accept change, and trust that the road ahead is leading to a better place.
  Oh, my, the many metaphors of life.  Perhaps this is why most of my subject matter is a road that leads somewhere, or maybe leads back to where I am.  The road in this painting is a place from childhood, one of the many lanes we walked on, learned to ride a bike on, learned to run fast on.  In my dreams, I return to a sunny road often, and try to paint that one that I walk on in my dream, still haven't quite done that yet, and maybe that won't ever happen in life.  Maybe that road, the one in my dream, is the one Mom went on.  And, come to think of it, maybe this is why I insist to stop being DARK.  Follow that sense of youth, feel that Beechnut-Fruit-Stripe-Gum sensation, let the colours be your ride, Mary Ann, and follow it. 
Whatever the reasons are, I know I have a choice.  I am thankful in so many ways.  I recognize how blessed my life is, and every second I get in my studio is a gift.  And that's a REAL thing.  Wasn't that a jingle from a commercial back in the 70s?  I think so.
Here's to today, thanks for reading!


  1. As I said in a recent FB post, I love this lighter palette. It speaks a mood I want to share. I love your darker pieces too but they are more introspective, possibly even lonely.

  2. Thank you, Jean. I am fighting the darks in all kinds of ways right now. I agree, there is a solitary mood in those darker ones, but earlier work was not that DARK, I slid into a black world that I didn't realize I was in. Time to fight out of the dark, back into the light, not easy, hard to change fully formed habits at my age. Thanks again for the nice comment, keeps me up.