Monday, December 31, 2012

going back in

Winter weather extended our trip to the coast from eight days to ten, since we drove the longer southern route to avoid Pacific storms in the north. That, combined with a bout of nasty stomach flu, took me away from the studio mentally as completely as I was removed physically. But I took my camera along on the trip, and on the days of better health I managed to record small, informal, subjectively compelling photos of water and reflections. The practice had the desired effect of moving my mind into its visual artistic mode, if only briefly, and provided a link to that aspect of my life in a way that neither sketchbook nor journal has done in the past.

Today was my first opportunity since getting home to go back into the studio, and to go back into that mental space where my painting happens. I took advantage of the first few moments to take a fresh look at the current work hanging on the pegboard, and I could feel myself being pulled back into the process. Before immersion happened, I made mental notes about the new ideas that presented themselves.  Then I put on my painting apron, and got to work.

One piece in particular, a 24" x 24" study in browns, is very close to finished and needs only a session or two of small, thoughtful mark-making and blending. Much of the painting can stand as it is, with some areas (such as the 4" x 4" excerpt above) delightfully crisp and complex. But other sections are dull or awkward, and call for going back into them to add interest. Rather than tackle this today, I eased back in more slowly, revamping an unsatisfactory 12" x 12" (still unsatisfactory but improved), messing up a pair of too-precious 8" x 10"s, and generally reacquainting myself with the materials and the rhythm of work. It is good to be home.

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