Friday, November 19, 2010

Thoughts about being a maker of stuff

For as long as I can remember my hands have been passionate about getting dirty, manipilating materials and being a vehicle for which my inner most thoughts come to life. For the past two weeks my students have been working on portraits: self and peers, charcoal, paint, sharpie, graphite, heck I even gave them a lipstick and eyeliner HW assignment. The point is I want them to be observant of color, shadows, highlights, and form. Creating the illusion of volume on a 2D plane is tough for a 14 year old. Heck, at 45 its not much easier. I see these exercises I am making them do as building blocks to developing their problem solving skills. Getting dirty is part of letting go. It always strikes me as funny when someone gets uptight about my own presentation of self and says you have a smudge on your face or charcoal all over your hands or as much clay slip on yourself as you used in your work. Those marks are validating, proof of hard core process notes in my work. I would love to take the most uptight festidious person and have them spend a day wallowing in mud, relaxing into it as if it were an uninteruppted train of thought. Not worrying about how I look while I am working releases me in ways that I cannot even begin to explain (statement is not really relavent to what I am discussing, sorry for the digression).
Today I had one of those days where the smell of the oil, the portraiture, the inquistion into the drawings of James Dine (specifically his study of Greek and Roman statuary) made it hard to not work with the materials. I longed for my studio, for time at the MET with a pencil and paper, for stretching an 8x 10 foot canvas and just painting a larger than life version of one of my pots, for doing small paintings of my pots and to be totally engrossed in my work for a MANIC episode, time without other obligations. Where is this coming from? Is it because Chris has a showing of his work at UMass and his large pots are juxtaposed with sensual charcoal drawings of the same? (check it out if you are in New Bedford) I am amazed at how my response to his current gallery showing has me inspired to paint imagery related to my pots but I am cautious of doing so as I am afraid it would be seen as some form of forgery (of idea/practice). So I sit here today thinking, how can I manage this need to create, to see my work in a new light, explore deeply into my soul with a visual language? The desire is there but the solution is hard pressed complicated.
Tonight I will view some work in Garrison NY and tomorrow I am hoping my NYC adventure leads me to explore works that I hadn't thought of. Saturday night and Sunday's studio time might prove to be a necessisity to my creative existance before self implosion of the psyche. I am left thinking that I should also explore my paintings from my homeless series as well but I don't want to get too bogged down in the thought process. I just want to create, be a maker of stuff and then cull from the experience. So if you happen to see me out and about in the next few days and I look slightly disheveled, covered in paint or mud or even charcoal, know that I am in deep, searching for the visual vocabulary like one would seek out terminology in a second language. The next few days are all about process.

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