After doing black ink line drawings daily since last summer I felt drawn to working in colour again. I wanted to try using acryl gouache paints which I’ve never used before. I usually don’t buy prepackaged sets of paints, but I did this time so that I could experiment with small amounts of a range of colours to see if I liked the medium.
I’ve had a lot of fun working on this piece for days and watching it change dramatically. The only clearly representational part is the key that I’ve been thinking about since working on plans for a dystopian card deck. Other than that, the piece is abstract. I’m going to continue working with these paints and see where this leads me.
Below is a close up of part of the painting.
I have kept journals–diaries–on and off for the past 40 or more years. In the 1990s and early 00s, I hand wrote a huge amount in dozens and dozens of lined notebooks–mostly recording my dreams and feelings but also world events and my activities. I’ve been working on a big project, going through my journals from those years and massively editing them. By that I mean, I’ve been tearing out and shredding large portions of them while noting what I was going through at the time. Now, this may seem ghastly to some people, but it is extremely liberating to me. I am creating more room for myself at my current age, while remembering, but not holding onto, what my younger self experienced.
In the course of editing a journal this week, I saw an entry I wanted to record here. I wrote it in April of 1991 after attending an excellent painting workshop with the artist and teacher Sam Feinstein. I have always remembered the powerful nature of that workshop, but had forgotten his teachings about the nature of making art. This was my understanding of what he told us, as I wrote it in 1991:
About art making–you needn’t even believe in your creativity–do it as a way of expressing the life form that is particular to you, that is of nature and larger than you, that goes through you. As a way of being authentic. Dreams and art are of the unconscious life force, bigger than us. Dreams are fleeting, art remains. Once a piece of art work is done, it is its own thing. It never was yours anyway. As its own thing, it is judged on its merits, apart from you.
Art is the spirit made visible through human beings reaching out from themselves, beyond themselves. Art is beyond our own feelings as we create.
Words to make art by!
The gouache painting above is one I made in the 1990s. I did it like a form of free association, attempting to allow whatever came to consciousness to find its way onto the page without censoring it.
In the 1990s, I made a series of gouache paintings for which I had no planned outcomes. I loved the bright colours of these water based paints and the enlivening process of surprise. I call this painting Fantasy because of its unconscious elements and have listed it in my etsy shop.