Saturday, May 26, 2012

What I keep learning

 the garden

This week was about working and coming to terms with what working means and how important it is to me as an artist. I have said it in so many forms in the past and I will say it again. When I am not painting I am essentially punishing myself. 

It can happen to all of us. We get busy, we travel, we are displaced from our studios, we get stressed or we get too focused on the promotional side of things and we stop putting in the time required in the studio. We do just enough to keep our street cred but we know inside something is missing. 

 The work is missing. That untouchable moment in time when it is just us alone with the canvas and our tools. The time that rushes by when things are going well and slows to a crawl while waiting for paint to dry is needed. The meditation in motion, the labor of being an artist is required for the soul. 

 I have been back to work in the studio this week creating a new series of combined paintings with artist Stewart Bremner. It is a complex process full of learning again, of one step forward and two steps back. We are dancing again on the canvas just like we did last year. Only time will tell what will emerge. 

Beyond all that, I am reminded how important work is as well as how important it is to let go, to share, and to give into to the process. I am reminded about balance and the importance of it in my studio time and life. This week we took time to plant a small container garden and it felt so good to do something non art related, something necessary and productive. I took time out to listen to the wind. It seems often that when I am painting I am able to fit everything else I want to do around my painting time, but that painting time must come first. I am reminded that the more often I paint, the more productive in other parts of my life I become. 

I am probably just a little giddy this week because I actually started a serious body of work after a bit of a break but I will take it. I hope that it propels me forward and that Stewart and I enjoy the process of creating this body of work while we also enjoy just living this life; not promoting, not organizing, or worrying about finances or travel or how we can maintain this long distance relationship. Life is too short to make it so hard on ourselves. 

Plant some basil, smell it on your hands. Paint today. That sounds like a good recipe for summer. Until next week, keep fighting and catch a few lightning bugs.


  1. Thank you for the beautifully written, excellent reminder to us all. I am so glad you are painting again!

  2. Beautiful. You've articulated what in the moment seems like an easy thing to remember, but inevitably is forgotten when it's not practiced. Your words are beautiful. I hope you have a productive, satisfying weekend.

  3. Thank you both for your lovely comments and for understanding and for being artists.

  4. I find it really inspiring to read about your process, here and on Stewart's blog as you work together. My project is a different kind of thing and doesn't come as easily, but it's always good to hear you say, 'keep fighting.'

  5. Thanks Wrenna. I always appreciate it when you stop by. When we stop fighting, then we know we are in trouble. Onwards!