Friday, October 19, 2012

The lines that connect us

 Works in progress in the studio

Today is day ten, but you wouldn't know any of that because I have been on a secret mission to break through my creative block and focus on my new series. This plan was hatched by my wise friend and fellow artist Jennifer Libby Fay.

Everyday for the last ten days I have set my alarm for 6:45 and been out of bed and in my studio and ready to work by 7:15. I have not turned on the computer or done anything that might distract me from my goal of spending a certain amount of time each day in my studio working. I couldn't talk about it online or post pictures of progress or even tell Stewart. This was to be my time for my own personal reward and satisfaction. I would text Jennifer at the end of the session and that would be it. I started fourteen new paintings in the last week!

These paintings fuse old maps (so far of Scotland, America and Arkansas) on to panel. So far the only elements in the paintings are pencil lines and white paint allowing only the color from the maps to the be the "color" of the paintings... This may change as these works are all in their infancy. I had 15 new panels waiting for me to use and I have now used 14. I had been collecting vintage maps and I have now used all of them and even had to go out earlier this week to get a world Atlas from 1947 so that I could keep working.

It has been interesting to see what happens when I roll out of bed and into the studio first thing with my crazy hair and sleep laden eyes. I work and I focus. I have always painted best in the morning. I have been listening to music on CD's because my iPod touch of course is connected to the WIFI and that is too much of a temptation, a distraction. So for ten days I remembered what it is like to have boundaries, goals, a plan and to simply show up. I have enjoyed working on these 14 problems paintings, letting the works take me along with them as I solve for the answer and I am not there yet!

I have been showing and selling my work for 17 years, so of course I know what I need and how to make the work happen deep down in my being. However, it is easy to get off track. It is easy to read the news and focus on more trivial things. It can be hard to make the work you are on the planet to make, sometimes it is even a burden. However, it is a bigger burden to myself and all those that love me when I am not working. I have to work.

When I work, everything else falls into place (well maybe not everything, life is messy and imperfect) but lots of things fall into place. Once this morning goal is accomplished I find it easier to work other routines into my life, the morning meal, the cleaning of the house, feeding my cat Evie, making a list for the day. There was more order and sequence and there was more fulfillment and consequence and so I floated on from one activity to the next and that made me feel a bit safer in my skin, to remember that I was dependable again and had a purpose.

I have worked on ninety-one paintings so far in 2012 while suffering with some of the worst artist's block and depression. I have to count these things up to remember that even when I don't feel like I am working hard enough or doing enough, I am. However, I must also remember that a studio routine is so important and crucial to my well being. I am grateful to be working.

There is a line in each painting that will connect with another line in a different painting so that when they are separated in homes and collections they will still have that line reaching out and they will still connect over the distance. Always there and reaching out.

Like all the lines that connect us.

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to see the final projects - I LOVE maps of all kinds so this is right in my wheelhouse. Happy to be back reading blogs too. ;)