Monday, December 24, 2012

At the boundaries.

Just paint. I said this to myself, and then for once I actually did what I told myself to do.

Whether I'm writing or working in my studio, I have a harsh inner-editor.  She's constantly berating me and making me second-guess myself, which is the ultimate enemy of creativity. And so I've decided to give myself a holiday gift - the freedom to allow my inner, subconscious creativity to flow. Those you who create know that this is much harder than it sounds.

My husband was out of town for a night this past week, but before he left he'd given me a fantastic substrate. It's an old cabinet door, approximately 6 x 2 feet, which was recently removed as part of a renovation project.  He's incredibly thoughtful about saving any construction debris in case I want it for my art and I usually do. I'm a sucker for making art with found objects. It just seems to give the finished pieces more character and life.

I pulled out all the stops; I got dressed in my messiest paint clothes, made sure I had all my supplies at the ready, cranked up the music, and started painting with absolutely no goal in mind and no idea of where I was headed. It was absolutely terrifying at first, especially on such a large piece of wood. I have a tendency to think I'm "wasting" it if I don't end up with a finished piece that I'm happy with. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I can't stand the thought of doing work that doesn't lead somewhere definitive and measurable. I also can't stand wasting time, a rant I've indulged in many times on this blog.

It's a little embarrassing to admit this, but one of my worst fears is that I will have to stop painting and leave a work in-process when it's in a very incomplete stage. Someone might see it!  This is a ridiculous thing to worry about, because my studio is in my home. Who do I think might catch a glimpse? My husband, the most loving and supportive person I know? I've realized that it's me.  I'm uncomfortable seeing things in an unfinished state. At least with the writing, I can close the document and tuck it away in a folder on my desktop. Out of sight, out of mind, right?  Art isn't like that. It looms large in my studio, clearing its throat and beckoning me to reconsider my actions or justify myself as an artist.

The project that I'm working on, tentatively titled At the Boundaries, got off to a rocky start, but I began to enjoy the process. I leaned right into the uncertainty and found that there is an underlying zing when I work like this. It's so much fun! I'll never be one of those artists who is technically accomplished and can recreate works that look like a photograph. I can't even paint the simplest object realistically. I respect those kinds of artists immensely, but that is just a skill set that I don't possess. In fact, when it comes to loving art, I rarely choose a landscape, still-life, or portrait. I'm more of an abstract art person, so it makes sense that I would make abstract art.

I've included some photos that I took while working on this painting. It's nowhere near done, and it most likely won't look anything like this when it's actually finished, but the important thing is - it's okay just as it is. Every step along the way is valid and important. It's a process and I'm okay with that. I'll update you on the finished painting when I'm done.

At the Boundaries:  Step-by-Step

I'm going to let this one simmer awhile while I concentrate on enjoying the holiday and getting some writing done. I'm working on a new short story and have loads of work to do revising the novel. 

The art in this post is by Liz Tran. Click on any image to visit her website.

Have a great holiday! Merry everything & Happy forever!


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