Really, I’ve been so sluttish in my blogging, I don’t know how you can stand it. I’d be quite disgusted with me if I were you.
Things have been a-swirlin’ in my head; swirling and swirling, around and around, never slowing enough to gel. Not swirling in a random way, but in a swept-up, powerfully rushing, churning, spring-melt river kind of way.
I’ve been painting again.
When I decided to switch mediums –to make my painting amateur and my metal professional– I hoped that one of the consequences of this decision would be that I’d become a better painter. Painting is costly for me; it takes a lot out of me because I care so much. Add to that the pressure of necessary professional or academic success in painting, and it was not a tenable way of life. I remember one of my painting professors, Michael Simpson, telling my class, “I need you all to dig deeper. Except Katie. Katie, don’t dig so deep.” I’ve always been an advocate of ripping myself to shreds if that’s what it takes to do a job right.
In taking the pressure off of my painting by switching to metals in order to make a living, I hoped to reduce the pressure on my painting and make it less costly and more of a joy. And in that joy I hoped to paint better. But building a business takes everything, and I’ve been happy to rip myself to shreds to do that job right. There hasn’t been energy to paint. I haven’t thought in painting, I haven’t dreamed painting; where would I find the extra time and energy?
And then, suddenly, I did. As running a business becomes more familiar to me, the newly freed-up brain power has spontaneously returned to painting. Not painting for the sake of an assignment or a degree, not painting for the sake of furthering a career in painting, but painting for the sake of needing to purge my mind of its visual thoughts. Visual metaphors, visual equations, visual understanding of the world. People often say artists create to become immortal, and that’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard. Artists create because they have a insanely strong compulsion to communicate in an aesthetic language. To process, to understand through doing, to solve puzzles they didn’t realize their minds were struggling to complete.
I don’t know what I think of this piece, and it’s not at all what I thought I’d end up with. There are components I’d like to keep and work with again (the lines, the concept), and components I’d like to lose (contrast, the darkness).