There it is - that quicksand Huxley describes. Fear. Despair. And so instead I breathe through it, cast away the fear and go forward. Optimism is a superpower. And it weighs nearly nothing.
About the art: this is the final piece from the Expressive Seascapes workshop with Pauline Agnew. The goal in creating this painting was to abstract a big wave! There are the requisite 80 million layers in this one. Mostly one glaze over another, leaving both sharp, geometric spaces and hard edges along with soft, murky sections. Primary tools were a large dry brush, spray water bottle and rubber wedge shaper.
It is SO exciting to be participating in my first ever online art auction with the incredible Artistic Souls Gallery! August 2 - 3 only. Stop by on Facebook to see all the amazing art, and to snag yourself one of these lovelies.
I've been pondering the muse. That outrageous, ill-tempered, demanding and elusive being I love so much. On the surface, it seems to be a dysfunctional relationship. She appears to hold all the power and to have very precise requirements for her to remain with me. She seems to be unpredictable and moody, unreliable and fickle. And yet... what she requires are the very things my spirit thrives on - adequate rest, a slower pace, showing up every day to practice and create. She wants regular infusions of adventure and new experiences, deep connections and exquisite, luxurious laziness. She wants to surround me with good people and excellent food and the feeling of rain on my upturned face.
And so, as I return to the studio after a brief (but much needed) time of family, connection and adventure, I see the muse nodding at me with bright eyes. She hands me the brush and says "let's begin."
About the art: created in the style of Scottish painter Barbara Rae's abstracted waterways, this piece strives to push an aerial view to abstraction. Beginning with a heavily gesso'd panel with a focus on texture, adding light washes of neutrals over color. Spray bottle, rubber wedge, chopstick and paper towels used to create more texture. Resisting the temptation to clean edges - allowing one to run over the next until an organic feel is achieved.
Simply put, making art is chancy - it doesn't mix well with predictability. ART & FEAR
But this repeated experience of being tickled into submission by the muse has been, frankly, transformative. I really don't mind going with the flow anymore - in art or in life. I mean, I'd rather things went down one particular path or another of course, but I have learned to stop and expand my thoughts to include good things that just might happen even if I trip and fall down a perilous path and land with bloodied knees.
Uncertainty is the essential, inevitable and all-pervasive companion to your desire to make art. And tolerance for uncertainty is the pre-requisite to succeeding. ART & FEAR
Based on my level of tolerance, I have now clearly found my inevitable and essential companion. He isn't exactly what I expected, and with a name like "Uncertainty", no wonder he was still single. :)
A glimpse into the twisted path of the painting:
About the painting: oil on gesso'd plywood. Beginning with thin layers spread with rubber brayer and a soft cloth, then adding texture with palette knife and chopstick. A little dry brushing to soften sky and water.
I mean, really, how many of you have a narrator somewhere in there who whispers little untruths? Like "you are not worthy of (insert your word here)" or, for artists "you are an imposter." Some days I have to stop and ask myself "hey, who is telling this story, anyway?" And then I decide I want a new narrator. Which I can have. I wonder if Morgan Freeman is available?
If you can stand one more quote (hang in there, dear reader!), this one speaks to me of my own inner rebellion of the last couple of years along with maybe something more universal that we're all experiencing during tumultuous times:
I know, for me, it has taken half a century to cross some ocean in myself. And finally, what I feel is what I say and what I say is what I mean. What I mean is that others, so used to my gargantuan efforts to be good, don't understand my efforts to be real. They find me coming up short. But I'm simply burning old masks.
I promise not to burn my covid masks (of which I am curating quite a collection). Just the odd metaphorical mask which stands between the real me and the world.
Jen Jovan and her imaJENation