Sunday, September 10, 2017

My Annual Mind Meander

" I Wonder What's For Dinner "  This painting is sold, I just didn't want to repeat posting the same painting I posted on Facebook two days ago.  All my inspiration for painting right now comes from a place where I spent my childhood.  Not sure why I am doing that, aside from needing a place to go where I feel sheltered and filled with dreams and imagination. This where I am right now while painting, in spirit.



Today I am fulfilling that threat to write a blog.  The threat to whom is unclear at this moment, but after well over one year, I find myself typing in a new looking window in blogland once again.  And this one has spellcheck, how novel to have spellcheck.  I suppose this will mean I well relapse into my fear of making a spelling error.  I felt empowered by that freedom feeling of not caring I was making spelling errors.

So, why am I correctly making words here again?  I can't remember.  Right now, ideas race through my mind so quickly, I have trouble hanging onto them long enough to do something creative with them.  I don't suffer from creative block right now, no not me.  I am suffering from Hurricane Creative, where the floods of ideas seem to keep me in a daze of not doing anything but run for higher ground.  I have a million ideas, but can't seem to stick with one for much longer than a few hours.  Oh sure, I am painting, well... I know exactly where to put my brush when I get up there to the studio.  I know I am going to keep painting, I know where I stopped, and know where to start again.  I am excited with what I am painting, the flow is there, just as long as I get in the right row boat and paddle in the right direction, and so far, I'd say that the fact that I'm sitting here typing shows I got on the wrong boat again.  Paint, go paint, pull over and get on the other boat, right.

But first, let me meander a bit, clear out some of the brain clutter.  I have been pondering the creative idea thing, why we do this, why do we paint, what makes us an artist.  Time seems to be the cause of that.  Spend enough time painting, and eventually you end up with artwork.  Spend enough time at it, eventually you have nothing to add to the work except a signature.  Spend enough time repeating this act, and eventually people like it enough to buy it.  It's the time doing it that makes us an artist.  I don't believe just thinking about it is enough.  Although, I tell myself the time I spend thinking about it should be added into the value of that final piece of artwork.  Yes, I am being a smidgeon sarcastic, I know it takes more than just time, there are a few other requirements.

I am not going to pontificate on all that I know about art, so don't imagine me standing on a stage here with a magic wand in my hand, or baton, or anything that says I know-it-all, I don't.  All I know is my own story, and even tho a lot of it I wish I could go back and edit, I accept my own story for what it is.  I suppose the miracle of aging is that wisdom thing, the knowing where we were being utterly stupid, and thank God we don't do those things anymore.  I have come to understand well, that the images we need to create in art, must come from no where else but within our own thoughts and impulses.  Yet, I recall sitting in workshops, hoping to come out a changed person, making artwork as good as that instructor.  As good as.  Interesting motivation.  I recall, wanting that fast pass to fame.  I recall, watching intently for ways to skip mistakes, and being able to punch out master works like the instructor.  And, I also remember being motivated to "change" and hitting those canvasses with so much free abandon and glee, only to crash land when all I saw before me was ugly crap.  Still, being foolishly young, thought if someone else said the work was good, I'd be happy, and sign it, and ask someone to buy it.

Don't get me wrong, I know this all part of that artistic growth thing, and maybe there was an audience for those messes.  I think the reason I never gave up was because fellow artists who painted very carefully, and fearfully, told me straight up my work was garbage. I was told to stop making messes, and go back to my old way of painting.  Careful and mundane pretty pictures that looked like the photo.  I remember that being my biggest inspiration, the rage and defiance I felt.  I wasn't sure why I was angry, I didn't like the messes much either myself, but I knew I didn't want to fit in with the mundane norm.  Not saying all of those artist's were mundane and boring, they painted nice pictures, but so what if they did, doesn't mean I should be like them.

I know my work doesn't appeal to a lot of people.  I am deeply joyful for the ones who do appreciate my artwork.  There is always that individual communication thing in art, as well as in life in general, come to think of it.  We all "don't get" some things.  Just don't get it.  I look at some artwork and feel totally baffled, while someone standing next to me is in tears from being so deeply moved by it.  The personal response to things varies from person to person.  Should I go home and paint something that looked like that confusing square I just didn't get, just because I want others to burst into tears when they look at it because they were deeply moved?  It doesn't work that way.  It has to be the artist's deepest understanding of what they are painting first.  Communicating a story that someone else told would not be much fun, not for me, anyways.

Ah, a lot of words when I should be painting.  My story is not unlike many others I am sure.  We go through life absorbing experiences as they hit us, finding our own way of riding out the storms of creativity.  Human nature brings us the genetic need to be social, so it's only natural we feed off of each others stories and experiences.  I do better when I paint alone, but I admit I enjoy painting with other people.  The act of painting seems to bring out a relaxed honesty in each of us, very therapeutic, and cheaper than going to a bar.  But that remains social painting, not serious painting for me.  It is when I only have myself to listen to that I get anywhere close to a successful painting.  I imagine that is due to getting the technique mechanisms working along at the same pace as the intuitive mechanism, both mandatory elements in making good art.  Yes, it's truer than I ever believed back when I was young and stupid.  Technique is equally as important as intuitive response, you can't do one without the other.

Which brings me to a little story, might as well, we're in the bottom of the 8th of the game, I can type further instead of watching the Mariner's lose.  While at one of my voice lessons, I had that "aHA" moment on the technique/intuitive thing, the brain versus the heart thing.  I had been working really hard on my voice mechanics, and finding improvement in my singing.  I learned the benefits of how to breath properly, how to control my breath while making sound, how to gain strength in sound through posture and controlled breath, how to relax my jaw and create a larger area for resonance in my face, relax the tongue, imagine holding an orange in my mouth, raise my eyebrows to lift for more resonance, not pull my head back, or forward, don't lock my knees, relax... relax while I have all these other things in perfect order, right, got it.  I was feeling like I was really getting there, better sound, and not passing out from the tension of staying on high G for three bars.  I had my song to learn for my lesson, and got set up, ready to launch my new and improved vocal amazement.  All set, and thinking about all those physical things I needed to do, and knew the song enough to sing it, I sang it.  My voice coach looked at me... and said..  "okay, you did everything right, now sing it like you mean what the words are saying, sing it with heart."  yes, I sang it technically right, but without the heart and intuitiveness of the beautiful song, it meant nothing.  The songs were written to communicate something.  Technique and note recall alone does not do that.  When we paint, we must always listen to that intuitive side that tells us to face our own true heart.  Don't be afraid of what we already know, it's there, use it.

Okay, on that technical note from my heart, I shall go now, well.. maybe watch the rest of this game.  GO MARINERS!!

Thanks for reading!
Mary Ann


  1. Love your blog. Your words ring true - on many levels. I have been admiring your painting as well. I am new to painting but not to life! Writing was my passion and I flip between the two constantly so when one isn't going where I want it I jump. The creativity that flows in one fuels the other. Hard to master the technique when the creativity wants to flow on to the canvas but then I think about how many words I have written to get to the point of crafting a short story that is publishing ready and - I get it!! Now to put the pictures of my stories on to a canvas beckoning to be transformed! But bed first! Keep on blogging but KEEP ON painting too! Sounds to me like you are gifted in both.

  2. Awe, thanks, Eileen! I admire those who write and produce something worth publishing, must be incredibly rewarding, and yes.. a LOT of work that wears on both the physical and emotional self. I really only write for fun, and knowing there is no pressure with it, I would often rather just sit and type. The painting is serious, and when too serious, I have to type to remind myself to have fun. thanks for the comment! :)