Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I know I'm an artist because

Ode To My Shoes

I know I'm an artist because
my shoes tell me so.

I know I'm an artist because
I find paint 
on my body
in surprising places.

I know I'm an artist because
I have a wardrobe of 
pants, tops and t-shirts
baptized with paint.

Once they lived in my closet,
now they rest in my studio.

I know I'm an artist because
I wake in the morning thinking
about my work
I fall into sleep
of what I'll do next.

I know I'm an artist because
I know. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I didn't know you were afraid to paint

Three Squares
11 x 14
Mixed Media

We were in the car, driving towards the city (Chicago) and my husband said, 
"I read your blog." 
"Oh yeah?"
"I didn't know you were afraid to paint, " he said.

I am, sometimes. And I know I'm not alone. Just go to the bookstore and see all the books written to help us overcome Resistance.*

Why the fear? Exposure. When we make our marks visible on paper or any other solid surface, we begin to peel away the layers of domestic obedience and dig down into the subterranean levels of our consciousness. We become denizens of our souls. 

I believe abstract and non-objective artists suffer from this fear more than representational artists. Realism, by definition, is universally understood and accepted. When we are born into this reality, we make a subconscious agreement to see "reality" the same way. 

Abstract and non-objective artists break away from this agreement and attempt to visualize an inner reality. When it's successful, the audience is drawn to the work and some form of non-verbal communication takes place. 

In John O'Donohue's book; To Bless The Space Between Us, he writes; 

"When we engage creatively, we depart from the fixed world of daily routine and grounded facts. We enter into a kind of "genesis foyer," where something that not yet is might begin to edge its way from silence into word, from the invisible into form."

For me the best three books written on overcoming this deer in the headlights fear, are: Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland; The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and Creative Authenticity by Ian Roberts

* Steven Pressfield's word for fear. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Waste my heart on fear no more

Diptych in progression
24 x 36

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more. 
from A Morning Offering by John O'Donohue

After sitting down with my first cup of coffee, I gather my current stack of books and before opening any of them, I reach for John O'Donohue's; Bless the Space Between Us   and read A Morning Offering; it's a soft, focused reminder of what I'd like to accomplish, daily.

Many moments throughout a day, I do waste my heart on fear. Saturday I left my studio, saying, "It was a good day." When I went back in on Sunday, I could feel the fear beginning to wrestle through my body. 

Looking at what I had painted the day before, my first emotion was confusion. Where to go, what color to put down next, what instrument to use, brush? roller? pour? 

After wandering around, looking about, straightning up, sketching in my notebook, I finally got out of my head and just began.

I can tell when fear is at the helm, it takes on the look of hesitancy.  And the internal conversation begins: charlatan, you don't know what you're doing; you should just sell your supplies and close the door.

I approached the piece above, which looked like this after Saturday's session:
I painted a bit, tried to save certain areas and finally got to a "to hell with it point" and instinctively took a big brush, dipped it in black ink and made some marks, then poured Golden's Dioxazine Purple air brush paint directly onto the canvas. 

Kind of a mess right now, but I like the bold strokes and hopefully when I get back into the studio I will  "waste my heart on fear no more.".

Friday, October 10, 2014

Doris Day; seriously?

12 x 16
oil/cold wax 

So I was in the midst of my morning meditation, launching my daily blessings to my loves and my fears, breathing in, breathing out, and just as my iPhone alarm began to buzz, out of nowhere came Doris Day, singing; 

Que Sera, sera, whatever will be, will be. 
The future's not ours to see 
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be.

At first I kind of laughed and thought, "Doris Day! Seriously?"
But then I realized, this is the message I have been reading, repeatedly, over the last several months, in a stack of different books.

For instance, this morning I finished, Outrageous Openness by Tasha Silver. In the middle of her book is a prayer:

Let what wants to come, come.
Let what wants to go, go.
If it is mine, it will stay.
If not, whatever is better
will replace it.

The Eternal Spirit of the Universe is telling me the answer is always the same:

Let go. 

Two simple words with all the power to be divinely illuminating.

So,why use Doris Day as the messenger? When I was just a little girl....truly, my mother and I would sing acapella harmony in the kitchen while doing dishes. She washed. I dried. One of our favorite songs was Que Sera, Sera.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A life lived on 8 1/2 x 11

Lake Logan, NC

The world isn't made up of atoms. It's made up of stories. 
                                                   Muriel Rukeyser; poet & activist

I will be exhibiting several pieces of my art during the month of November at 4 Art Inc Gallery in Chicago. Robin Rios, the gallery owner, asked for a bio. Putting 63 plus years on one page was a challenge. 

Here is the "haiku" of my life:

My mother tells the story: when I was three, she took me to her office and had me sit at an empty desk across from the receptionist. One of her friends decided to “call me” from another office. I picked up the phone  and she asked, “What are you doing?” and I answered in my three- year -old universe, “I’m drawing, see!” as I held the sheet of paper up to the receiver.

So my journey into art began. I have always had a love of paper, pencils and paint.  I doodled and drew my way into adolescence and young adulthood. In 1986 I stopped. No reason in particular except life was getting more complicated and hectic.

Then in 2007 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was the Universe telling me, “It’s time to get back into the passion of your life.” I re-entered art with a fury.

I know I’m not alone in this sentiment, because I’m not the first to say it; still, cancer was one of the best things that happened to me. It brought me back to art.

Each day I gratefully look forward to pushing the boundaries of that passion, with paper, pencils and paint.

Important Dates:
1951: Born, Wiesbaden, Germany
1966: Naturalized citizen, Chicago, IL
1969: Married
1971: Gave birth to my son
1986: Divorced
1989: Married my soul mate, best friend, and most ardent art critic
2007: Cancer diagnosis
2012: Cancer free
2014: Living in Burr Ridge

Art Studies:
Independent study with Laura Lein-Svencner, Cheryl Holz, Lisa Cyr, Rebecca Crowell, Catherine Chang Liu, Audrey Phillips, Krista Harris and many other mentors.

Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, Helen Frankenthaler, Franz Kline, Richard Diebenkorn, Clyfford Still, Will Barnet, my contemporaries and all the artists, poets and writers before them; I stand on their shoulders and continue to learn.