A month has passed since my last post (gee it sounds like I'm in a confessional). Many events have brought me to where I am today and where I want to go from here. A few of these events are: I gave up Facebook for a month, didn't watch anything on TV that was news related or programs that didn't lift me up, morning meditation with writing and reading, and the cherry on top was my four day workshop. All were extremely beneficial for my new understanding of "self."
Let me say that writing about the angst and struggles I was feeling was easy to describe in my earlier post. Many people responded with like feelings and understandings of what I was experiencing. Where I am now is much harder to put words to it. I have turned a corner in my understanding that looking back seems simple. Too simple. My "dead" feeling for what I was doing was because I wasn't being authentic in the choice of what I was painting. When I first started painting fabrics and textiles I felt totally connected to the subject matter; I was painting authentically. But I needed to grow and painting the same thing created a different response to the subject matter than when I began. When I admitted this to myself is when the interesting part of this journey truly began.
My morning reading included Joseph Campbell, author of Pathways to Bliss. The book opened the door to digging deep into what truly made me feel blissful when I painted. Campbell states that bliss is "that deep sense of being present, of doing what you must do to be yourself." In addition another statement I read in his book was that you can't wear another person's hat. So I had to be totally honest and ask myself what excited me visually when I viewed my world and when I view others' paintings. I think being aware of other painters, dead or alive, that you find that curls your toes as we say in the south, is a first step. To put all of this into words as to what this is, is not possible. I can say I know it when I see it and it feels transcendent, an inexpressible truth. It does have something to do with ethereal light and the figure.
If I haven't lost you by now let me throw another quote at you. Campbell defines a real artist as "one who has learned to recognize and to render . . . the 'radiance' of all things as an epiphany or showing forth of the truth." That's heavy but I get IT. You must translate it for yourself so I won't elaborate on the quote. Put all this together and add a pinch of Quang Ho's 8 Intentions along with the visual language of line, shape, value, color, edges, and texture and you have a recipe for painting authentically.
I can say my love for making art has come back. Not saying that I am painting masterpieces, but I am in bliss when I am working so I must be on the right track.
This was a young lady who is the daughter of a friend of mine. The painting is about how the light wrapped around her from the back and right. The colors are more saturated but this photo will have to do until I can get it photographed by David. My brushwork is more expressive and I had to stay focused on light and not details and finishing everything at the same level. Edgework was fun and expressive. Painting this piece was bliss for me and that made all the difference.
I also have been drawing in charcoal --- figures and faces. My goal is to draw or paint every day. Finding vintage photos that are in the public domain help to work without having a model. This image was taken in 1902 on a Native American reservation. Will need to do more research into the tribe and history if I want to turn it into a painting.