A Old New Path Begins: Part 2 - Provisions for the Journey

After the new year, I'll reveal where I've traveled artistically since late November but for now, I'm just posting about the trip preparations, talking through how I settled on my current itinerary in the studio.

As I related in the first part of this post series, I discovered many clues to this journey in past blog entries. I also found a wealth of inspiration in my past work and in the work of artists that I admire, old friends and new acquaintances. I am forging ahead on ground that feels both familiar and foreign; my work and the work of others create a little travel guide to accompany me as I move forward.

Remedios Varo
There are two artists in particular that are helping to illuminate the path. First, there's an artist that I've been obsessed with since art school (circa 2001-2002.) I minored in art history with an emphasis in Latin American art and it was in those classes that I was introduced to Remedios Varo. A Spanish expat to Mexico in the 1940s, Varo explored the characters inhabiting her mind in surreal paintings full of secrets and story. Varo is my number one art crush and in the last month, I have returned to her work for fresh inspiration and motivation. 

As for present day artists, there are many that inform my own work. Teesha Moore and Tim Burton have been particularly influential. However, in early December, I discovered a new-to-me artist through Seth Apter's long-running blog series "The Week Links" and this artist's work shook my very foundations. Roxanne Coble (aka bybun) is absolutely fabulous and it was stumbling upon her expressive, haunting journals that caused the shift in perception I needed to see the path I had been destined for all along. I'm not entirely sure why Coble's work was the kick I needed but what particularly caught my eye was the way she blends messy backgrounds with finely-rendered figures. I also love all the wild but thoughtful mark-making. To me, the pages reveal fragments of narrative that are tantalizing and mysterious. 

With all this inspiration in mind, I sat down to play with my current interests and style, pushing out into new territory while holding on to techniques and topics I really love. This resulted in a singularly breathtaking journaling session on November 28. I followed up that initial exploration with three more pages spaced out over a week's time and presto! My direction for 2016 became clear. Frankly, the light of realization has been a bit scary in its clarity and intensity but I continue inching my way forward, day by day.
While external inspiration is good, it is even better to be your own best guide. I also have to acknowledge that I've been leading myself along little by little over the years. My journal entitled "My World Within" is probably the earliest series of breadcrumbs. In 2013, I attempted to create 365 characters in the course of a year. I didn't hit that goal within that year itself but I kept on creating characters since that initial goal and now have created so many, I can't even manage an actual count. In addition, there are many, many journal pages that left visual messages from my subconscious, urging me to see where I needed to go. That "Striving for a New Perspective" page is from November 11 of this year. Once I started digging, I found dozens of pages like this one, dating back several years, all exhorting me to "follow the path" or to "look for something new." I can only say that it is an excellent idea to periodically review one's own work to see if you can spy consistent themes and/or repetitive "notes to self." Oh, and if you find them...listen to them!

Next Installment: Giving the Journey a Name


Aimeslee Winans said…
Oh mymymy, Michelle, I do love your journal page! You have given me so much eye candy here to take in. I need to bookmark your flickr link and I subscribed to bybun too (I like her pages too). I want to spend some time over the holidays drinking in both. Funny thing about influences. I have been "eat up" as we say down south, with Mariana deloto's collages for awhile - https://www.flickr.com/photos/mariana_deloto/
- and my hope is to one day be able to do of my own in such depth and composition. I'm just awestruck how she can layer so many images and they remain so clean and striking. Anyway, influence is a funny thing.

Your "My World Within" flickr album is amazing! I randomly chose the bear page as a fav so that I can go back and drool over each one by one as time allows.

Thanks for both links - good drugs for the visually inspired! xoxo
Thank you for sharing your visual and personal journey! Profound and inspiring!
Loulou in Texas said…
Your "My World Within" journal absolutely blows me away! Thank you for sharing the link to this phenomenal art. I can see the influence of both Teesha Moore and Remedios Varo in these pages, and I'll be interested to see the direction
your new works are heading.
by BUN said…
thank-you so so much for your kind words regarding my work! it means a lot to read that my work has inspired another creative like yourself...xo