My Voice

Journal page 17…

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A quiet weekend.

Today begins a new week.

I have an idea for a biggish canvas that I want to work on, but first I need to clear space in my studio.

I have been sorting through the stuff that is in there – trying to be aware of what actually contributes to art-making and what is there to simply make me feel like I am an artist.  This process is a lot harder than one might think.  I still struggle with saying that I am an artist.  I used to just say that I made stuff.  So, I’m making progress in that respect.

Anyhow, getting rid of stuff that I don’t need is a good thing.  It makes room for what I really need, and clarifies and simplifies the process of making art for me.  A studio that is functional is better than a room that looks like a studio in a magazine spread…not that I actually achieved that look, but I kept trying.

Still, parting with stuff that I might need for a future, hypothetical project is difficult.

And that difficulty applies to all areas of my home, not just the studio.

So, today we are redoing the Konmari method for the whole house.

Not the whole house today, of course.

Today is clothing.

I don’t anticipate that there will be a lot to get rid of, but who knows…

Until tomorrow –

Peace.

Found Objects

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Art Term
Found object

A found object is a natural or man-made object, or fragment of an object, that is found (or sometimes bought) by an artist and kept because of some intrinsic interest the artist sees in it

(definition from the Tate galleries website)

 

Finished!  I actually really finished the canvases.

While traveling through life, I often stop and pick up or gather “found objects”.

My family has gotten used to this habit and have joined me in it (to a lesser extreme) and often bring me “treasures” that find a new home in my studio and about the house. Some of these bits and pieces have now found a home on the little canvases that have finally found a purpose.

Some live in my very own “cabinet of curiosities” which is itself a found object:  a worn pink cabinet found buried under junk at a thrift store outside of Fredericksburg, Texas.

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Teaching my children to really look (and see) at the world around them is one the accomplishments I am most proud of.

There are things of interest and beauty to be found everywhere if we only bother to look.

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I already have another project prepped and ready in my studio and I’m off to work on it…

as soon as I do some laundry and dishes.

If only I can beauty in those chores…
 

Good Night Moons

1112170214aCan’t sleep Saturday night and now it is Sunday morning.

Most of my world is sleeping and will awaken with the sun.

Pulling out a canvas…adding a bit of this and removing a bit of that.

Becoming frustrated and putting it to one side.

Pulling another one off of the top of the stack.

Determined to make something happen.

To actually finish something and not to walk away…giving in and giving up once again.

Then, I am staring at these two works in progress that were once two singular blank canvases…

Two canvases that, in turn, were painted and repainted, laid aside, placed back on the easel, a brush stroke here, a change there…

and now upon study and contemplation in these early morning hours have suddenly and quite obviously become one…

Destined without plan to go together.

A before and after perhaps?

The meaning is still unclear.

The symbolism still to evolve into something real or at least understood.

But it appears that tonight I am staring at two moons that are staring back at me…

waiting…

for the sun and light and enlightenment.

But further discernment will have wait.

Progress.

A small victory.

Light shining from an artwork worked on in the dark.

Perhaps that is enough to allow sleep.

 

 

 

Not Complaining

Another quiet Sunday.

The only other two occupants of the house are my son and his best friend (home from college).  They pulled an all-nighter on the computer and are now gently snoring under piles of blankets.  What a good feeling.  I’ve missed having the two of them together on the weekend.  Kids grow up and we can’t go back, but we can have brief interludes of the old days every now and again.  Whenever they wake up, I’ll cook breakfast and hold on to the memory – of today and all the other breakfast meals we have shared.

It’s raining and I’m not complaining.  We really do need the rain.  I choose to live here – in the land of all or nothing.  Drought or flood.  That’s just the way it is.  My chickens on the other hand – they are complaining.  They’ve had enough of the rain, the drips, the wind and the chill.  We’ve hooked up the warming light for them.  They venture out of a snack, squawk, ruffle their feathers and huddle back together under the warmth of the light in the coop.  They are so cranky that they are refusing to cooperate and take a decent photo.  Usually they smile and “ham” it up for the camera.  Not today.

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And the focus of the day.  The studio…

IMAG1055 (1)IMAG1054Sigh…  I know.  It’s more of a storage room right now.  Storage for materials, supplies, possibilities, and ideas.  Those things are important to have, but basically useless without a workable environment to utilize them.  I’d like to be making art, but first I’d better make room.

No doubt, I will find five things to declutter from this space today.  Wish me luck!

Miscellany

Today I am giving myself permission to waste away the day in miscellaneous tasks.

Quite a few of my chairs (of the dining room and desk variety) have seen better days and I lucked into a lot of 3 sturdy and cheap replacements at the thrift store the other day.  As a result there is now a plethora of seating options laying about in my dining room.  Picture a hoarders’ assortment and you get the idea.  On most days there are four of us around the table.  On weekends and other gathering days there can be as many as twelve.  Then there is the classroom which requires two at the school table and two at my studio table.  Today I am sorting through and picking out the best in need of no repair, discarding those beyond hope, and working on those that are in between.  Glue, paint, new woven seats for the ladderbacks and we are good to go.  I think 10 is a good number.  They can move between the dining room and classroom/studio.  We’ll never need them in both places at once.  Desk chairs can fill in for a crowd.  So, a fun task – making the old look new again – or at least eclectic and fun.

Then, I’m working on the odd bits of unfinished projects that I sorted out a while back.  Finish them or let them go…that’s the plan for today.  Quite a few supplies are stacked about with each unfinished project.  This should free up the supplies to go back into their storage containers.  My desks will be freed up for new projects that are lurking in my head.  The whole cycle can start up again, BUT I’m hoping that I’ve made enough progress that I’ll stay on task better and not jump from idea to idea.  I’ve set up a tidy little space for journaling ideas so I don’t have to worry about “losing” them until I can begin work on them.

I’m also hemming some fabric from IKEA that got hung as curtains without actually ever being completed.  I don’t imagine that many others have noticed that they were unfinished, but I did every time I glanced their way.  It will be good to see a finished project instead of an incomplete one.

Lots of little (ish) tasks, but most of them fun and creative.  I imagine that quite a lot of cleaning and de-cluttering will get done along the way.  Once new chairs are in the dining room, I’ll want to clear surfaces.  Once the surfaces are clear, I’ll probably want to sweep and mop the floor…and so on and so on.

The list is pitched for the day in order to get this all done.  I’m struggling quite a bit with anxiety and the resulting sadness lately.  I don’t know exactly what’s going on, but it’s really wearing me down.  I’m hoping that completing some of these tasks and adding in the creative element will give me a sense of completion and forward progress.

I’d really just like to take a nap.

I Like It

Every once in awhile I make something that I like.  That I really like.  It’s not because it turned out as I planned or because I know it’s “good” art.  (Who the hell knows what good art is anyway?)

I hit a point in the process where I look at it and know that it’s complete and that I did a good job.  I made something that I like.  It’s hard to describe.  And the word “like” might not even be the correct term.  I like it…maybe it’s more that I’m content with it – or satisfied – or it fills a need that I didn’t know existed until I saw it right there in front of me.  Crafted with my very own hands.  Created from within me.  A small part of me that is unknown to everyone else and probably almost as obscure for me.

…That elusive quality that eludes description or explanation.

It doesn’t happen often.  When it does happen I sometimes find that the folks that look at the work don’t see what I see.  And conversely, when people like a work, I often can’t see what they see in it.

When it does happen – that piece of art – I’m sure that if Leonardo, Picasso or the person standing next to me said, “That’s a piece of crap” – it wouldn’t matter to me.

I just wouldn’t care because I know that this thing that I made is exactly what its supposed to be.

The other day when I was down and discouraged, I went into my studio and found a bowl in the uncompleted project pile.  I pulled it out and looked at it and started working on it.  And put it back down again.  Late last night I found it sitting in the middle of my work table and I picked it up again.

And finished it.  I like it.IMAG0917IMAG0918IMAG0919IMAG0920