Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hip Deep in Canvas

I have a show to hang on February 1st and I am feverishly trying to make forward progress on this project. Here's a shot of some of the canvases I'm stepping around in the studio. Some are complete...some have the background dyed but not yet stencilled or sealed...on others, the backgrounds are finished and sealed, waiting for the imagery to be drawn and painted...some have the imagery sketched but are not yet painted. Off to the side, out of the picture frame, are more canvases. Some are fresh out of the wrapping and white as new snow; the rest have the initial layer of collage and are waiting for me to add the Japanese paper on top so it can be dyed. It gets a little crazy trying to keep it all straight. I'm in a push right now to get all the unfinished canvases to a point where the backgrounds are complete and sealed. Then, all I have to do is draw and paint, moving from one to another. Once the paintings are really, really complete, I'll add sawtooth hangers to the back, type, print & mount the display cards, write & print out my artist statement and make up a master price list. Whew! The up side is that I'll be really ready to just sit and rest once I have the surgery mid-February.

Monday, January 7, 2008

New Year's Contemplations

I haven't forgotten about blogging, my friends...a combination of traditional holiday chaos, frantic art show preparation, my son's school vacation, and a series of nasty winter storms all conspired to keep me from sending word from the Lost Coast in the last couple of weeks. I'm taking advantage of a break in the weather and a stretch of reliable electricity to post my first ramblings of 2008.

Between this post and the last, an old year came to a close and a new one was born. This is the time for resolutions, a game I typically play very enthusiastically. I actually make a list that I keep by my side the entire year. In 2007, I resolved to lose 40 pounds...I managed to drop 33 so let's call that close enough for now. I resolved to get serious about art as a career so I learned to work at least five to six hours per day in the studio, got bold about showing my art beyond my apartment threshold and emerged onto the local art scene with two successful shows. There were several other 2007 resolutions that I accomplished but as the sun rose on 2008, I found myself lost in thought.

With the significant challenges and changes I have coming in February, namely a full fusion of my dominant hand, the future is uncertain as a rickety wooden bridge traversing a raging river. Will the crossing be wobbly and scary but successful? Will a slat or two drop from beneath my feet, forcing me to step back for a time until I gain the courage (or ability) to leap across the void? What awaits me on the other side? Will I be sorry I ever decided to cross at all? Under these conditions, I am finding it hard to resolve to do anything specific in terms of my art. I won't know what mediums and techniques I'll be able to return to after the surgery. The level of fine motor control I'll regain won't become clear until several months, or even up to a year, after the surgery. Look at your wrist position sometime when you are painting, drawing, collaging, writing and then imagine your wrist perfectly flat and fixed...forever. I've been practicing with a brace, in the studio and around the house and it is amazing how integral the wrist is to so many movements and manipulations. It is certainly a joint I take for granted even after five surgeries. It is all so overwhelming to ponder on much that I am simply throwing myself into the work of the moment which means preparing canvases for a show that goes up February 1st. When the time comes, I think I will face that creaky old bridge with trepidation but also excitement, step slowly but steadily across, neverminding the holes that threaten the smooth progression of my journey and ultimately, with heart...spirit...soul wide open, welcome whatever awaits me on the opposite side.

Tonight,

I saw

the mysterious

dark velvet bird

again.

It seemed

to swoop out of

the shadows of my mind,

whispering

"Don't be foolish, my child.

You must dare to

fly...

fly...

fly..."

It was a sign,

a very good omen.

All would be well.

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