Monday, February 11, 2013

On being regretfully unpleasant, not beating yourself up, and those things that are actually awesome disguised as horrible mistakes

I am, naturally, the kind of person who beats myself up over everything.

I have the ability to fly into a panic over small things like the kitten vomiting on the carpet, not having any bread, discovering a water ring on the side table, or not having any bread to make a sandwich BECAUSE I WAS SET ON HAVING A TURKEY SANDWICH FOR LUNCH. Without going into further detail, my dear sweet understanding lovable patient boyfriend will tell you that I'm very "Monica", as I hurl flames at him from my eyeballs because he left bits of lettuce on the kitchen counter or his shoes in the middle of the floor. But seriously, who does that? :)

I like having a plan, and I like when things go exactly as planned within my aforementioned plan, but as you, and me, and anyone who is living knows, that never happens. And today I thank my lucky stars for all of the things in my life that have gone horribly and tragically wrong, because it forced me, often screaming and kicking, to the place I am today-- living in a city I love, in a cozy apartment with a very supportive, talented man who loves to cook (although he doesn't like cleaning), traveling for pleasure although it can be called work technically, terrorizing our cats by dressing them in sweaters, and doing exactly what I want to be doing, which is making art, to pay my bills. I feel pretty damn lucky. 

Work in progress.

Since I made the huge transition in 2009 from working with graphite in a photo-realistic manner to a wild, crazy-lady approach, spastically painting with contour lines and lots of marks and color, my art has been about freedom. That's why I often water down my acrylics and work on a vertical canvas, which allows and encourages the paint to run down and take its course. Lately I've started using lots of texture and thick globbies of paint on top of these washes, as well. And now I'm venturing even further into the unknown by experimenting with not only color and texture, but in a very abstract way. For me, this is all about letting go of control

I'm currently working on a series from photographs I took and sketches I did while traveling for a month through Europe last year with my boyfriend on tour (; take a gander). This series is called "These walls we hide behind", and essentially focuses on architectural elements of cityscapes like windows, doors, gates, walls, keys, locks, grates, etc., that people implement to keep others out and themselves in-- how we hide our private lives and who we truly are, I suppose you could say, which is exactly how I hide the crazy. Most of these pieces are created on wooden panels which fit together. Here's the first piece I completed:

"Pink house" - Prague, CZ; acrylic on wooden panels; 
2 4.5" x 7", 1 15.5" x 12"; 2013.

..and the second: 

"Disrepair" - Budapest, Hungary; acrylic on wooden panels
 - each 9" x 13"; 2013.

...and the third piece I was working on turned into a train wreck: blood, guts, gore, the whole shebang. I was going to call it quits for the night and instead hunker down into the tub with water up to my nose and a thermos of wine, so I wiped the goop off of the two small panels I was working on, and something amazing happened. The piece was completely transformed.

I always blow-dry my pieces between layers and colors, because I like to work on a dry surface and I am terribly and incredibly impatient. I did this, and then re-worked the piece paying more attention to color and texture, playing up the imperfections rather than trying to change them. This is the end result: 

"Stairwell" - Prague, CZ; acrylic on wooden panels
 - each 3.75" x 6"; 2013.

It's one of my favorite pieces that I've ever created-- not because it's the most beautiful, or technically correct, or even most interesting, but because I allowed myself to just be wrong and accepted it. I'm trying to apply this theory to even more things, actually everything else, in my life now-- although I'm not sure I'll ever be able to focus on getting into my studio and painting if the blanket that sits over the back of the couch isn't folded, or there's dishes in the sink. ;)

Work in progress.

And not every piece is going to be a masterpiece. This one, I'm not sure where it's going to go.. perhaps it will end up being painted over and reincarnated as a pet portrait, but the important thing is that I'm forcing myself to continue growing and experimenting with my work, which incidentally encourages me to grow as a person, and one day, maybe one day.. I'll be less OCD. 

“One must spoil as many canvases as one succeeds with.” —Vincent van Gogh, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, November 26, 1889, to Theo van Gogh

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