Sustaining Your Creativity

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When it comes to creativity, many complicated layers are worthy of discussion, and at this moment in time it is a hot topic. In my book titled THE CREATIVE EPIPHANY, available on Amazon and Kindle, I explored, with a select 18 highly creative individuals, the process of choosing and defining your creative direction. The subject common to all of their chapters was the event of experiencing a creative epiphany. I have written many blog posts about such an experience, (see my Archives) how I define it and how to encourage and recognize the epiphany event that will change the course of your life for the better, if you remain open to hearing it.

When a person is super creative, it oozes out in many directions, seeking the most fulfilling path that will bring the best results (not usually the path of least resistance). I do not believe that a person must confine her creative work to one lasting lifetime lane that moves forward like a turnpike and allows only one facet of creativity to get anywhere, with no exit ramps and no room for further adventures. What I do believe is that selecting one or two dominant and slightly meandering creative avenues will bring the best enlightenment and satisfaction in your journey. Certainly not at the dictatorial extinction of everything else – but to allow adequate concentration of time and energy in the primary pursuits that offer you the most potential for a life of moral and career enrichment. If you dilute yourself too much, you water down all your creative  endeavors to a thin, weak soup that never tastes very good.

Many creative people re-define themselves over a lifetime, using chunks of time to do one thing very well, then switching to some other choice and doing that quite well for another period of time. That is a wonderful way to keep things fresh, avoid boredom and follow the money trends to a creative work that will bring in some bucks. I love that. That is a fun way to live.

Through the years I have been advised to produce greeting cards, write children’s books, become an interior designer, run my own B&B, be a painter of faux finishes on walls, design clothing, manage art galleries and decorator fabric shops and the list goes on. Some of those things I did, some I wish I had done and some I may still do…. Underneath it all, however and sometimes on top of it all, I was an artist. In spite of being an artist I have spent embarrassing  amounts of time diluting myself to such a degree that I was crazy with juggling it all, and yet what ultimately happened was that I learned from it so that now I can write confidently about it with a high degree of credibility. In retrospect, perhaps in doing this writing that time spent has become worthwhile…even valuable and necessary. Phew – because I hate wasted time. Now I am an artist and an author and you can be sure that any advise I offer to you was gathered through my time in the trenches.

I am now beginning a sequel to The CREATIVE EPIPHANY,  title to be determined. I have more to say – I would like to assume that you have chosen a creative direction; you are immersed in it, devoured by it, and perhaps being driven crazy by it. I have some observations about all that…. I would like to get them all gathered up, organized and put them between the covers of a new book. I do not want you to smother the flames of your creative fire. Help is on the way! Stay tuned!

http://www.thecreativeepiphany.com

http://www.acanaryfliesthecanyon.com

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Within Eleven Days

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18 x 24 Mixed Media acrylic painting by Jo Ann Brown-Scott

The week started out rotten as a two week old peach left out in the rain – things looked bleak on all fronts with no solutions in sight to a number of problems. Usually I might comfort myself in the knowledge that none of my pathetic little issues are life or death situations but in this case there were several major situations and one of them was indeed a life or death struggle for a person I love…..and as I hung on, white knuckled and melting down with every passing silent hour while the phone did not ring and the texts were all too infrequent…..I tried to deal with the other situations that also required my (diluted) attention.

It seems ridiculous under those kinds of circumstances, but life does go on. The world does not stand frozen as you wait and wonder and agonize for news. Every tiny mundane task you must perform, every thought in your head, every meal you do not eat, every waking hour and every sleepless night spent twisting and turning in the belly of the darkness you continue to wait for the slightest news that things are improving. For days on end nothing much changes.

I would imagine most of you have been to that hollow terrifying place. If you have not, you are extremely fortunate, but know that some day it will visit you. No one escapes.

But then, after seven moons plus four, there is a turn for the better and I wake up to sun. The slightest baby steps have been taken and taken and taken, the news is more hopeful, the big picture seems to be improving and the world outside your mind gains color and noise and aromas once again. There has been a sea change of the utmost proportions.

Was it your prayers? Was it your faith? Was it sheer determination and a personal will to live? Did the universe intervene at your request? Does group prayer make a difference? Have you witnessed a miracle?

All of the above.

 

Siem Reap, Cambodia – Textures of Angkor Wat

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If you get off on color, pattern and texture as do I in my mixed media collage artwork and my contemporary abstracts, well then Angkor Wat can offer you a plentiful selection of all three of those as well as inspiration for color ideas ranging from weathered reds to terra cottas, burnt siennas and other shades of orange – originally all the structures were painted. The very high relief of the sandstone sculpture is astounding and reflects the sophistication of each temple’s design preferences. Simple carvings remained lower to the ground, for easy access by the common people; carvings increased in complexity the higher they got on the temple wall with the simple fact that it took more educated people who lived in the upper chambers to read them. To complicate matters, speaking in terms of art history, the historically Hindu Angkor Wat includes an invasion of Buddhists who breezed onto the scene sometime around the 14th or 15th century and proceeded to conquer and destroy all Hindu references to the Hindu god Vishnu! Modifying (smashing) the faces, headdresses, leg positions and arm placement of seated figures and transforming them to Buddhist! It is an abomination – and a horrible attempt – clearly an obvious and disgusting falsification of important art, and Angkor Wat remains Buddhist to the present day. One can easily see with the naked eye the areas where these uncharacteristically violent Buddhist changes were made in the carvings.

The Year Long Canvas reaches her one-year mark!

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The Year Long Canvas has had several major changes today, and you can compare them with the previous version below, as well as with the very first start of the original painting from a year ago. I worked the new additions to the composition from all sides today and offered all four orientations of her for your review. You can zzzzzoom in and see her texture – not quite as thick as I had imagined it would be at her first year anniversary.

This project might not be 100% finished at this point. If I look at this painting long enough I will always see something I would like to change…it is a sickness…never being satisfied. But perhaps my fatigue with the entire project will prevent any further work. I cannot say that this newest version is my favorite of all the stages of the past year, but it is certainly among the top three. It has indeed been an exercise in patience, perseverance, dissatisfaction and approval, unease and comfortable-ness with my own work. If the lesson to be learned was that I should trust myself more, that has been accomplished. I was at times discouraged that I would ever be able to make a whole new painting over the top of many other incarnations, but I did it, over and over.

My son says this painting reminds him of RIO – a landscape in other words if it is placed horizontally. It does not remind me of Rio, but it does speak to me of action, energy, optimism and fun. So maybe it is RIO after all! I cannot decide which orientation I prefer…I really do not care at this point. I just like the color, texture and pattern of it, and most definitely color is the thing that grabs people first, then maybe the dramatic composition. The sensuality of color is usually what most people respond to in art and try as I do sometimes I cannot do quiet neutrality. It bores me to tears.

I have had a great year with this project and I hope you have too! Phew…I think we almost made it. Thanks for hangin’ in there!

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Previous version on the left and the very beginning of it last March on the right.

Being Creative

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Paintings #1 and #2, not yet titled, copyright 2015 Jo Ann Brown Scott

There is something about a snowy, extra icy day that fires up my creativity. The sidewalks are a sheet of ice, the temps have plummeted from yesterday, there is thick, cotton gauze fog and no one who has a choice would be outside. And so we paint, me and my creativity. The light is perfect – bright with the outdoor whiteness, but no sun glare, no reflections in my north facing window. I always say that my most ideal conditions in which to paint, or write, are simply a good night’s sleep and a day when I don’t have to go anywhere or do anything.

I rolled out of bed about 8 am, a little late for me, went directly to the kitchen and made my famous chicken broccoli soup, eliminating any distractions about what I am going to eat today. It’s on the stove simmering, crusty Asiago bread nearby. This must be heaven.

As any artist is bound to do from time to time, I sometimes wish that I could paint a different way. It happens to the best of us; it is born not of boredom with what we are used to doing but a challenge to ourselves to accomplish a whole new look and make it sing, as if we had been doing it forever, just to prove we can. Every once in a while I give it a try. I usually paint with a confetti riot of color, and so my reaction against that tendency is to paint with a greatly subdued palette and far less action. That does not truly represent my normal joyful state of mind, (happy!) but I do have more subdued reflective moments of silence (yawn…) when I become rather meditative (almost asleep). If I can tap into that while I am standing upright painting, occasionally I get some fine results. If I try to do it twice,  I can, but I don’t necessarily like to, and I fall back into the fun stuff of going bananas with color; it seems to be the authentic me.

The second painting is subdued, for me. My version of restraint. (perhaps you are laughing now, at my version of restraint) but I kept it simple, the colors are there but not so plentiful and/or not so in your face. I wanted to do more, but I decided to eat lunch instead and let it go for a while and see if I can live with it the way it is.

With this blog I have two photos, the first abstract painting is a new one displaying my customary  expressionistic (controlled color pattern texture chaos) type of composition, and the next a much more toned down piece where as I worked I kept a lid on it. Over the holidays when I had some fun relatives over for lunch, my six year old niece, Finley, (with whom I  sometimes paint, and who calls me Great Jo because I am her great aunt) walked into my studio, saw the toned down painting on my work table and said to me, “Great Jo, this one is not finished – can I finish it for you?” Believe me, it was tempting to see what might have happened. I will file that idea away; and another time I will start something and let her finish it. It has to be a cut above elephants who paint, right?

By the way, yes it is a new year and I have not forgotten about the YEAR LONG CANVAS – she is looking longingly in my direction as we speak, jealous of my other work. She needs a fix, another session, and I will get to her soon. She reaches her one year “time up” about March 1st, and here we are in mid-January already. I have plans for the entire month of February, so my time is becoming scarce leading into her birthday. My next post will be for her, as she nears completion.

 

 

September Report on the Year Long Canvas

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New September YLC copyright Jo Ann Brown-Scott 2014

An eye is meant to see things. The soul is here for its own joy. I am not contained by this universe. – RUMI

If you remember, the last time I posted a blog about the Year Long Canvas my intention was to enter the piece, as it was then, in a juried show at the cooperative CORE GALLERY on S. Santa Fe Drive in Denver. You can see the type of art they show at http://www.corenewartspace.com

My decision was made on impulse, just because I was curious to see what would happen. The gallery is well respected and they had over 135 entries into the open show. The sole juror of the show, Jt Urband, is a well-credentialed professor with degrees from the U. of Penn who now teaches plein air painting at Denver’s Arapahoe Community College. He did not choose to accept either of my abstract entries into the show, but I was rather impressed with most of the 30 paintings that were accepted, with the exception of a couple pieces.

The lesson here is that there is no lesson – usually not a tangible reason can ever be revealed as to why you were accepted or not accepted into juried art shows. I know of shows where the judge’s personal art experience had nothing whatsoever to do with the type of art that he was asked to judge for the show. Some art experts who admit to having no understanding of abstract art or taste for it might be included on the jury panel for a show heavy leaned toward the abstract. Or conversely, abstractly inclined jurors might be asked to judge a representational show. As an artist I find this rather frustrating and I would go so far as to say that I think it is just wrong, or at the very least, pointless. But that’s just me. Actually it is not just me – other artists feel the same way.

One of the primary requirements of being an artist is to develop a thick skin. You will be faced with a lot of rejection as your work evolves and matures. If you are willing to put it out there, get ready to hear what people really think about it. Listen and learn. But very seldom do you have access to why a juror did not select your work for a show – you are left wondering and wondering.

Since then I have slightly altered the YLC and if you are detail oriented you will notice the changes in the above photo. Just a few subtle additions of turquoise green inside the large black area so that it is not so much flat black, then a row of dots descending out of the yellow, and finally a few small geometric areas of the same color of turquoise green added on the right side of the orange ball and in other tiny areas. That’s it for now. I really do like the YLC painting at this very moment in time. It makes me happy to look at it and I think it is full of positive energy,  movement and drama. I see no negativity in it, and most of its areas work singly as well as enhancing the greater whole, as I see it. You can zoom in for details.

The summer has been a significant and important one for me with many exciting new experiences with friends and family, and the good karma of that has been manifested in this painting and others I have done. My paintings have been strong but joyful, powerful yet inviting, poetic and revealing of my happiness. Those of you who know me well understand exactly why and where this energy came from….and I am proud of the resulting artwork. I believe the art Buddha would be proud to hear about that, whether or not the YLC made it into a show. I am smiling as I say all this and all is well here with me. I wish the same for all of you creative ones.

Namaste.

 

 

 

The Art Game – not for the faint of heart

 

 photo courtesy of larryvillephotos.blogspot.com

Who am I, standing in the midst of this thought-traffic?  – RUMI

The life of an artist is like being a one-armed paper hanger or a one-man band or someone who herds house cats. Anyone who still believes that an artist passes the days squirreled away in some romantic, sort of melancholy, splattered-up loft studio, sipping wine and adding a brush stroke here or a swipe there is sadly misinformed. Here in the 21st century, life has changed so dramatically that you would scarcely recognize it as being a quality life for the professional fine artist. It is rather chaotic, and requiring multi-tasking and laser focus. It can make you crazy.

With the evolution of the computer we artists have absorbed a relatively nano-second-ish,  lightening speed change in the way we do business. With digital imagery, social networking for marketing purposes, website maintenance, the need to write newsletters & blogs, keeping a database of clients on  spread-sheets, writing our own resumes, bios, mission statements, self-publishing brochures and invitations, then photographing and cataloging our work, cutting matts, framing our work, seeking gallery representation, shipping art and transporting it to and from shows, recording sales, bookkeeping and paying our quarterly taxes…..well you get the picture. A much smaller percentage of time is left in the day to relax and paint. In many ways it is easier to do all this than it has ever been – and in other ways it has become increasingly more and more complicated. The tasks have widened, deepened and intensified instead of narrowing and being more focused. Today’s artists can no longer afford to just paint; not that they ever could; and few to none are able to afford an art rep. And NOW! OMG there is mucho competition out there, and unless you can run with the wolves you will be trampled and forgotten. With all the ways to communicate now, an artist is constantly bombarded with the images of the others, the wolves winning the race. An artist can stay aware of everything else out in the marketplace and even make adjustments, if he/she is flexible within his particular genre, to what is more trendy and marketable if that is what he/she desires….  Or if he/she wants to stay totally off the beaten path, then at least he also knows what the beaten path is doing at the moment so he can travel against it. Never before has the world seen so much about what the rest of the world is up to. Ignorance is no longer an excuse for any single thing.

An artist has got to be clever. And very efficient. Organized. Charismatic, great with the public, charming, funny and able to speak well about what he does and why. Technologically savvy. A marketing genius. A true salesperson. Gone forever are the days when an artist got away with silent sulking, being disheveled and drooling, a cigarette hanging just off the lip, obtuse and inarticulate, not to mention solitary, antisocial and in need of personal grooming…. I can’t say these days that we are all polished up poster children for the perfectly put together artist in the 21st century, but we do generally look different now – almost like downtown city business people who are just dressed a little off. We are better now than ever, just still odder than most.

And that is how we like it. For god’s sake let us at least hang on to that, OK?

Year Long Canvas #13 – The Knowing That Comes With Darkness

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YLC #13 copyright Jo Ann Brown-Scott, not yet titled

Another quote from Rumi, 13th century poet and scholar – Everyone does this in different ways. Knowing that conscious decisions and personal memory are much too small a place to live, every human being streams in at night into the loving nowhere, or during the day, in some absorbing work.

For those of you who have been following this saga – thank you. I wish I could provide you with startling changes on a weekly basis but that seems too ambitious. It is a gradual, relatively slow, often not-so-eventful journey that YLC and I share. She is far more patient than I. She has everything to gain and nothing to lose.  I, however, agonize over each and every change and although I often say that the canvas tells me what to do, sometimes she is maddeningly silent.

But today, no question about it, she screamed at me for drama.

The purple sun that many people took an instant “shine” to (pardon the humor) and that I was so in love with 2 weeks ago, now leaves me cold – a shocking thing for a sun to have to admit. So I have made changes to that upper left corner of the composition….and the sun is obliterated. No more sun flares, no more daily rising in the east and no more celebratory, spectacular western sun setting to garner applause and clinking of wine glasses in that corner of the composition. Maybe I over-reacted – but maybe not. I just cannot mourn every single thing that disappears. I believe that even the art Buddha would agree.

We still have the other sun however – sitting all fried-eggish behind the horizontal slats – that one I still like….but probably not for long.

So purple sun has been replaced with approaching night, if that is how you choose to interpret it. It amuses me sometimes to see a landscape behind the slatted lines, sun above, colorful hillside village below, suggestive of Mexico perhaps – Puerto Vallarta – and now night on its way, but I am not so hung up on that image that I am going to preserve it forever. If I had to make a prediction, I would say the final result of this painting will be totally non-objective and wildly abstract….because I am heading in that direction already. I am yearning for less whimsy and more drama. I will end this year with some serious art.

See the little black parts I added in a few places along the lower far right side? Very small but important. See the magenta coming over on top of the new black area? Also very important – because you cannot just add a huge black area and not integrate it into the composition. It has to work well and mesh with the other colors. See the scratch marks in the new black? I wanted a texture – not just solid dead black.

It is not even mid-summer yet, and still a long way to travel. If you have the time to go back into my archives and re-visit the first couple gestures made on the naked YLC, then you do realize we have come a long way, speaking as an evolutionary reference. This journey won’t be over until March 10th, 2015 when I can let the YLC retire so she can just hang out on some wall in peace. When that day comes I guarantee some glasses will be raised at some type of crazy-art  celebration.

As of today, I am really looking forward to that. It cannot come too fast for me.

Year Long Canvas #11, and a thread of artistic wisdom.

 

?????????? Slight purple changes to the YLC #11 copyright 2014, Jo Ann Brown-Scott

Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.  Sydney J. Harris

Today’s last class was bittersweet, since many of us are not attending any classes for the summer, and although 3 months is a freeing and enticing stretch of time it is also a deep void to fill. And filling the shoes of Homare Ikeda ( http://www.homareikeda.com ) is an impossibly tall order – he is a gifted instructor; wise yet playful, firm in his experience yet always open to new ideas, serious about his art yet secure enough to be whimsical at times, free spirited yet always grounded in the process. Having access to the mind of the master on a weekly basis will be greatly missed.

He spoke to us at the beginning of class about artistic dedication and what a  luxury and privilege it is to be able to afford the time and have the talent to paint well. Not just to paint but to paint well. He said we are truly fortunate and should never take it lightly. He said, in so many words, that we should not squander that privilege. We should not deny it or disrespect it or take it for granted. It must be honored and given expression. But he was careful to add, after several minutes on that subject, that  with summer at our doorstep, he had one final assignment for us….

We were instructed to PLAY.  We were told that our summer must be spent in a sort of artistic abandon – we should give ourselves the freedom and the fun of being loose, experimental, random and playful. We should absolutely have fun this summer. We have been given permission and instructed to do so.

Well alrighty then. I am all for that. Hope I have not forgotten how….to relax, to play and be silly. To be young again in spirit. To make stupid mistakes. To learn from them. To make other mistakes. Then to occasionally create something brilliant, born of enjoyment and fun.

When the class began I had not been inside a classroom, as a student, for several decades. I had just come from 3 years of teaching mixed media to adults  in northern California, moving back to Denver after 6 years away, and I felt very strongly that it was time to get my own mojo working again. To paint with serious intention and dedication. To find a class and an instructor that were a good fit for me. To see if I was on the right track as I began the next chapter – the remainder –  of my painting career. It was either luck or intuition or both that drew me to Homare’s class. His assignment to me of the YEAR LONG CANVAS project was, in retrospect, perfection. It demanded that I slow down, take my painting to the level of a meditation, think more, sometimes think less, TRUST myself more and promise that I would follow the process through until it was time for it to be over. I still have a long way to go, and I don’t enjoy painting in really hot weather, not even in air conditioning. I would love to take the summer off, not from painting entirely, but from painting any more on the YLC. But I will not do that.

In spite of the assignment to PLAY for the summer, I have the YLC here staying with me 24/7  in a corner of my studio. I am her vacation retreat.  September will come soon enough and I will have to take her to class with me and reveal what has happened to her over the summer break. Think how it might feel to have to read a great book over the time of an entire year – when you are dying to race ahead to the end but you have to pace yourself and allow only a bit to be revealed at a time. What if babies took 12 months instead of 9? How about a year’s worth of working on the same recipe; refining and tweaking and altering until you lose your bleeping mind. A year is enough time to fall completely in and out of the creative mood at least a dozen times – alternating love/hate feelings  – and each time you have to find a way to get yourself geared up and hyped up and ready to move forward again…..only to lose that momentum and speed and focus again and again and again.

Of course there is a much larger life lesson here about CHANGE. We hesitate to make changes in our lives based upon fear – fear that the newer will not be as comfortable or as satisfying as was the previous status quo. Fear that we have moved into the unknown at the total expense and obliteration of the known – fear that the life changes we are about to make will not work out and we cannot go backwards and get back again to where we were.  It is my personal experience, however, that  carefully considered change usually does bring improvement and enhancement with its evolution, and the result is better than expected. This is based upon knowing myself and trusting myself.

So this week I have done just a little work on the canvas and maybe you will notice it and maybe you will not. A slight bit more of purple was added in strategic areas  – in about the 10 o’clock area, if  you use the clock guideline. Also just a little more of it at about 4 o’clock, drifting over the orange. The purple was added for balance.  Next time I work on her I will be gutsy-er, and if you are bordering on boredom, have faith, big change will come. That will be painful but no guts no glory. And I am supposed to trust that the glory will be reincarnated as a new idea every bit as successful and appealing as it was before. I love  the  quote I have included in this post about CHANGEand another quote I heard once that says that to request no change at all requires great change in itself!

Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.

Sydney J. Harris

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/sydneyjha152638.html#qII4Xms6U0cdJlkp.99

Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.

Sydney J. Harris

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/sydneyjha152638.html#qII4Xms6U0cdJlkp.99

Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.

Sydney J. Harris

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/sydneyjha152638.html#qII4Xms6U0cdJlkp.99

Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.

Sydney J. Harris

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/sydneyjha152638.html#qII4Xms6U0cdJlkp.99

Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.

Sydney J. Harris

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/sydneyjha152638.html#qII4Xms6U0cdJlkp.99

As a bonus for being so patient with the YLC and me, here at the bottom is another offering, all done and determined to remain that way.

jabsfrag1 The Fragments – Mixed Media Collage – copyright 2014, Jo Ann Brown-Scott

 

 

 

Year Long Canvas Project #7 – Time for a Bold Move

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Yesterday afternoon was gorgeous outside – spring in all of its SPRINGY glory. I wanted to take a walk and go play in the out of doors. But I attended my usual Monday art class. When I arrived I can’t say that I was really into a painting mood, but I know from experience that when your mind is NOT fully engaged and you are thinking about other things, it can actually work to your advantage. You don’t over-think – you don’t question yourself – you have kind of a WTF attitude. That can bring a looser approach and a less contrived work session. But in spite of that mood, class was stimulating, energy sapping and intense – but in a good way. Some students were painting for upcoming shows. Some were painting the same kinds of things they have been painting for months now with little variation. Others were doing fascinating work that I greatly admire. A few were barely painting at all…

In some future post I will talk about the situation in an art class, any art class, which predictably involves some students who aspire to paint as precisely like the instructor as they can – they want to be clones. They do not or cannot bring an original idea or concept to the table. (On second thought I will just leave it at that, because I don’t ever want to make a habit of bashing other people’s work…)

I set up camp. I am working on 3 canvases now at the same time, but the Year Long canvas has gained a reputation and people now know it by name, and they stop by to visit HER each week, checking on progress. I am assigning it a gender now, don’t ask me why. I just don’t like calling the canvas an “IT”. The first photo at the top of this post is how the canvas looked at the mid-point of yesterday’s class, with new work done in several areas. The changes made include the subtle definition of oval shapes in the upper right with a wash of pale peach tones and in the center area I defined 3 oval shapes in the Naples yellow, then another larger oval to the left of that. Why? Because it was time to begin some definition…some type of direction defined by shapes. No, I do not know where I am going with it just yet. Then I whitened up the slash of white that runs from the lower left across the center toward the upper right. I also added more purple tones to the upper left area, overlapped some areas with additional turquoise. I am improvising – abstract expressionism is all about improvisation. The paint does speak to you – it tells you what to do next. You learn to read what the paint has said, either in its texture, tone, shade, shape, color, or line.

At that point my instructor stopped by to offer his input. I told him I felt that the painting needed some type of bold move – a big jolt – for these reasons:

1) the art needs something unpredictable and incongruent to shake things up within the whole

2) I need to give myself something brand new to deal with, because of course adding a thing like that immediately effects everything else, and it keeps me from getting bored by offering me a self-imposed problem to work through

3) a bold change would contribute greater sophistication, an element of surprise, eccentricity and complexity if it is used effectively

4) ultimately the goal would be to take the composition from mediocrity and predictability toward  excellence and individuality

He totally agreed. He said it was time. I suggested a large area of flat, unapologetic strong color. Orange in fact, because there is already a bit of orange splashed around the composition. He liked that choice. I also said I wanted the area of orange to be placed in the lower right quadrant of the composition – he agreed. He and I talked….he threw out some additional ideas and I did too. He and I discussed the challenge of the 365 days  ahead of me – and the probability that nearing year’s end the paint will have gotten so thick that it inhibits the artist’s options. For instance perhaps you want to make a line, for direction and emphasis, which I actually love to do, and yet you cannot do that because the surface has gotten too bumpy with paint buildup that you cannot create a convincing straight line. So you have to adjust to that, as well as a lot of other things. I am only into month 2 as of this writing. Can I do this? Do I really WANT to do this? What is it going to get me, in the  long run? I have had so damn many “character building” experiences in my life – do I need this too? I hope it doesn’t sour me on painting as it builds up my character. I don’t want the art to become a chore.

You see the “before” and the  “after” – remember it is just a start of orange.

I really like it, but it is not a big enough change for my taste, so I may decide to enlarge the orange a bit more or honor and enhance a second area with it’s presence.