Friday, January 14, 2011

Imaginary maps of the night

work in progress...

I've been painting a bit more regularly again and this is a relief. Wednesday I felt a bit lost and clueless when I started working in my studio. I knew I had a kernel of an idea, but I just could not seem to make it come to the surface. I had new paper and gesso and a new album to listen to and I wanted to work. I wanted to paint and create something badly. It had reached the point where the desire/need to create was really under my skin, just itching away. If you are an artist, you know the feeling, everything is just bubbling up and everything has this urgency and perhaps you might explode if you don't get it out. For me this happens right before inspiration strikes, weeks of inactivity create an intense pressure and if I don't release it, look out world!

I hatched a concept about a week ago, and as mentioned above I started out with some good, new paper. I had an idea for a series of larger works but as soon as I started painting, I knew that the paper was too small and too precious. This was not the paper for exploding, it was too regulated and proper. Luckily I explained my paper dilemma to my dear studio mate Jennifer L. Fay and she gave me a lovely stash of paper, some nice and some not so nice. I took the papers back to my studio, and quickly pulled the fancy stuff off my wall and replaced it with this newly gifted not so nice paper and suddenly, things started to happen!

I put the debut album by The Soft Moon on my headphones at full blast and I managed to disappear for a while, it was heaven.

Words started coming to my brain quickly- a complete flurry, as in the past I had to quickly scratch them down on the wall. Flashes of concepts, ideas for titles, poems, phrases, all just rising to the surface. When the words come, I know I am on the right track. I know I am listening to the right music, and I am using the right materials. It is a bit like being in a trance, tears will come to my eyes, my hands will shake, I bounce up and down on my toes, and I can't write the words down fast enough or get the paint on the paper as quickly as it demands. Things get knocked over, drips run down the wall, the floor is stained new colors and I throw rags and pencils across the room. In the studio there is a frenetic pace and energy, my brain is running at full tilt, as more words, more ideas flow, quick, quick, quick!

Stories like theatre, dreams, and thinly veiled memories explode to the surface. I think about how much I can say with out giving it all away; what to give and what to hold back. There is a type of pained freedom as I control this.

So, now that I have given you this hyper snap shot of my brain during the creative process, I imagine you are wondering just what the hell I am going on about...

I have decided these new works are an interim series. They are related to the manual for living, but due to the size and paper these pieces have more of a weathered map quality and feel more like a blueprints from a dream rather than any sort of manual. These pieces are comprised of white gesso, walnut oil mixed with charcoal, faint blue and orange washes over the cracked and textured surface. These documents tell a story, one that is loose and dreamy and very much open for interpretation. These papers may tell of a new reality, one that is in the process of becoming true. This papers may also point to a finely crafted myth, and there are no guarantees.

I have some creative ideas for displaying these works in the back vault gallery at The Fayetteville Underground, and my short term goal is to create ten to twenty of these maps/blueprints by February's First Thursday. I am also excited because these works will be affordable, probably priced around $100 for a fairly good sized piece of original art. I am guessing they are around 24x30" in size. (I will measure the paper today at the studio and update this later). I am excited about creating an original body of work that is more accessible to a larger audience.

I am eager to work in the studio today, to paint and tell more stories. These works are spacious and dark, filled with distance, guarded optimism, and longing. These are the imaginary maps of the night and the blueprints with no guarantees and I can't wait to share them with you...


  1. Whew! I am exhausted just reading this! On one hand, I'd have loved to be there watching your process. On the other, I think you'd have scared the crap out of me! All that frenetic energy. All that throwing things about. All that slopping and mess! Yikes! But it all sounds so exciting for you. I can hardly wait to see what comes of all this. I suspect it will be quite stunning.

  2. Happy day. It's very cool that you can harness all that energy.

  3. Sooo glad you're painting and expressing again!
    Happy New Year! x

  4. "Maps Of The Night" .. still love that!