It has been one year since I've started this studio blog. I have decided today to move the blog from Wordpress to Blogspot. Wordpress has been giving me anxiety attacks every time I try to upload images. In the spirit of my New Year's Resolution to go easier on myself, I have switched to a more user-friendly blogggy. I have archived all of the old posts which now all fall under today's date. I have included the original post date in the title. I hope I don't confuse anyone too much.
I am going to try to make something and post everyday. We'll see how that goes. I am reading a huge biography on Picasso right now and I am inclined to allow myself to begin to slip between styles and subjects as easily as he did. It seems to be time for production. In an effort to move beyond my constant self criticism, I am going to attempt to utilize this kind of frenzied production to evade criticism. Bear with me, as this may lead to some embarrassing experiments. I do think, however, it is interesting to also share my failures with you, dear reader. So at best, I hope you may have a smile or laugh at my expense.
I have made a lot of changes in my life in the past couple of months. I quit a job that was taking over my life emotionally and actually, I quit smoking after 15 years, I've started up my yoga and meditation practice again, and I now have the luxury of time to myself in the studio. It is a blessing to have this time to decompress, research, and produce.
I am currently studying Chinese Painting. The other day at Myopic, I found this amazing book for $3 dollars on the ideas and techniques of Chinese Painting. There are excerpts from a manual called "The Mustard Seed Garden". It was originally published in 1701. I have often noticed in my practice that I tend to enjoy the process of repetition of small elements. I have naturally incorporated meditation while painting, as it seems to be the one way to focus and restore balance in my mind. Reading this and other books about these "Old Masters" is interesting to me as their whole philosophy of image making is so radically different than all of the Western philosophy that is taught and practiced in American art schools. I feel like things are finally starting to make sense to me. More on this later, as these ideas are still percolating.
Also, an interesting link I am exploring in my work and research is American Abstract Expressionism and 6th century eccentric Chinese Painters. I've always been drawn to AbEx. In grad school, I made a series of (really terrible) paintings that I affectionally refer to as my AbSex period. I was channeling Ex-boyfriends while painting little "monuments" (Adam Farcus called it Sexpressionism). Now I'm not really sure what I'm doing...and it's wonderful. Here are 7 colored ink drawings I made on paper yesterday. I followed the Mustard Seed Garden's prompts for ways to make brushstrokes:
like spread out hemp fibers, like entangled hemp fibers, like sesame seeds, like big ax cuts, like cloud heads, like raindrops, like a whirlpool, like the veins of a lotus leaf, like lumps of alum, like skull bones, like the wrinkles on a devil's face, like raveled rope, like brushwood, like hair of cattle, like horses' teeth...
I'm not sure what any of those really look like, but I tried to include all 15 of them in each drawing. I allowed my interpretation of each brushstroke to vary per drawing.