One advantage of meeting up with other makers in a friendly atmosphere, at lunch or in a workshop– is that we can rediscover that we really are all in the same boat– that none of us, no matter how accomplished, are in a sublime world where paintings appear out of nowhere– (well, rarely, but not until one has been working for a long time).
Today I am thinking about some questions that work for me when I am struggling in my studio– but I begin by vanquishing this question:
What will people think?
It's so important to remind yourself that no one is like you, and no one else has what you have or knows where you need to go. You find where you belong, what you have to offer, at moments when you are free from the pressure of where you think you "should" go.
I have been doing what I call "tapping"– that is, showing up in my studio and applying paint to a surface (several at a time), regardless of my sense of nothing working. Then last week, bango! Several things converged in my mythic imagination, and in my studio. Regarding the latter, I bought one expensive, pigment packed tube of Old Holland Cadmium Yellow Light (even the hefty weight of it in your palm is lovely)– and received a gift on the same day from a friend who was sorting through his French mother's tools. I was delighted to receive a 1940's (?) box from Paris for gouache and watercolor, filled with unused pen nibs. I don't know what has changed in the making of nibs, but these older ones are fine and write like a Mercedes. This was enough to get me fired up about color, a new palette, and exquisite writing instruments.
This brings me to the questions worth wondering:
What brings you joy? Is there a tool, a color, or a piece of music?
What makes sense to your interior?
What book do you have to return to that feeds your soul?
What daily practice do you have that returns you to yourself?
These questions and materials led me to a new series of paintings this week, arias in paint:
This is one of the joys of being a maker– the moment of discovery. And that moment happens by abandoning your plan. If you know what it is you are aiming for, it is not a discovery– a breakthrough, a revelation.
What brings you joy?
I am preparing for two 3 day classes in St Louis, Mar 7 & 13: "Chance Images":