Tuesday, January 1, 2019

new year, new impetus

A new year begins, after another of many changes. There is so much to write about that it is hard to begin. But if I don't start, somewhere, there will just be more.

My "somewhere" has changed; we have built our new home in Tucson and are fully moved in and settled, though we have completed the process only recently. Of more relevance to this journal, my new studio is complete and I use it on a daily basis. The difference between the studio being a hundred yards away, outside, across the yard, as it was in Torrey, and it being literally just down the hall, as it is here, is only beginning to make itself felt. But as one might expect, it is much easier for artmaking to be an integral part of my daily life when my studio is an integral part of my home. My desk, my books, my meditation cushion are all in the same space, and I can't help but stop, look, and consider my work every time I walk into the room. It is pure joy.

It didn't take me long to being to paint again, once the studio was set up. At first, it was enough to reestablish the familiar techniques, habits, and rhythms, to renew my supplies and re-familiarize myself with my tools and materials. I had several old half-painted boards, and it was easy to clean them off, scrape them down, and make new beginnings on top of the old.

The first thing that changed was my palette; without necessarily trying to, I virtually eliminated any orange. Rose, blue, brown, white, yes, but the warm side of the color wheel eluded my grasp. I have had to deliberately re-introduce it. The second change was the elimination of any concern about the finished work; I let myself engage the process itself, regardless of outcome. When it felt right to stop, I did. But, because I could look at each piece at any time, in any mood, for as short or long a moment as I wished, I gradually began to interact with even supposedly finished pieces, fine-tuning edges, enhancing texture, adding pigments, softening or strengthening the composition. This now has become a rich habit.

All this was, in a sense, biding time, letting things evolve, giving myself a chance to breathe and to settle and, perhaps, to find a new way of being in my paint-world. And, as the year drew to a close, as we passed through the solstice and the calendar page turned, I did find a new perspective and a new insight or two, and even a new approach. The image above is the nearly-finished first product of this revolution and evolution, 24" x 30", as yet unnamed. I'll save further narrative for the next entry.

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