ART! What inspires my art? What gets the juices flowing? EVERYTHING!
It is 10a.m. the last Friday morning of January. I have only been awake for two hours. I slept in. I celebrate January as my birthday MONTH! The combo of new year and another year older really gets me jazzed. It is hard to paint during the holidays (and with company) so January is an explosion of creativity. Here are some of this morning’s inspirations screaming for me to pick up my paint brushes:
· bright ¾ moon at 4 this morning
· coral sunrise through the condensation on my windowpane.
(Note to self: consider looking out my window less when I am supposedly sleeping.)
· momma cardinal on my window sill
· tiny bird with yellow belly
· sunshine and books
· Morning prayers
· cell biology
· paint splotches on the top of my drafting table
· Himalayan Splendor loose leaf tea
· amaryllis blossom in the whiskey jigger
· dried orchid blossoms
· treehouse squeaking with the wind
· Trader Joe’s vanilla wafers
It might be easier to ask what DOESN’T inspire! Email. Email doesn’t inspire nor does that show application, due on the 5th of February. Schedules. Schedules and I are currently holding negotiations. We are looking for a win/win option.
What inspires art? It is the universal artist question. Artists hear it so often we sometimes forget that it is a valid, sincere question.
Focusing on non-objective work enables me to better understand the question. I used laugh at the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art. I did not get it. Yves Kline was the biggest mystery for me; the dude patented a color! Seriously? I attended a few lectures and BOOM! Yves and I are best buds. Soul mates! I GET IT! (http://themodern.org/podcasts)
Learning the inspiration, the concept, and the story behind the work or even behind the artist has made more and more art accessible to me through the years. (The little yellow bellied bird is back!)
I am currently going back through my website and attempting to verbalize the inspiration, emotions, circumstance behind the works. I want you to GET IT.
My fear is that by verbalizing MY stories I won’t leave room for YOUR stories.
This doesn’t happen when we stand side by side looking at a painting. When we stand side by side stories flow in both directions. My concern is that when you are looking at work online, if you read the story of the painting it will inhibit connecting YOUR story to the painting.
Fifteen years ago I was painting live as part of various worship teams. It was collaborative. People attached their stories to the painting as it developed and were anxious to share their interpretations with me as soon as the gatherings were over. (Every once in a while someone would come up on the stage and tell me right then and there! Not cool! Once I asked the sharer to go share with the pianist and we could share afterwards. OOPS!)
Studio painting has its benefits, I can spend 40 hours on a painting now rather than 45 minutes, but I do miss the sharing. I miss hearing what the viewer felt and what the viewer sees in the works. I miss the back and forth.
IDEALLY, we should be able to have a back and forth via the internet and social media. I post a lot of work in process images on Instagram and I get some feedback there. I would love to hear from you on my Instagram account . My Facebook page is very similar to my Instagram account but with more finished work and blog links and some sharing of articles and artists I find interesting. It is easy to post on the Facebook page and have a conversation about a work of art.
I would love to hear from you. Your comments don’t have to be all roses and sunshine.
So, what inspires my art? Life. As cliché as that sounds, it is the truth. I paint my life and in doing so I sincerely hope I am also painting your life. I paint my hope that God holds entirety together and that the end product will be beautiful. I paint beautiful, not necessarily pretty, paintings that hold out hope that our stories will have happy endings. Happy endings even if we can not see that possibility now.
I am 55. It seems significant to me. Twenty-six days into 55 I am carrying a myriad of emotions. I am very happy. I am also very hurt. I am confident. I am afraid. I am strong. I ache. I am 55. I have at least 75 more years’ worth of art projects still bottled up inside of me.
Fifty was significant to me. Half way through my 50th year my niece, the firstborn of her generation, was killed. I went into a mourning for my niece, for my sister, and for myself. I was mourning for all that was lost and all that would never be and it was very nearly crippling. I could not taste food for five months. Disconnected from my body, life was surreal. My celebration year turned quickly into a year of self-evaluation and much of it was not kind. My acupuncturist (thank you Barbara) brought me back into myself. She reconnected my emotional and physical self. The sense of taste returned and I looked out from inside of myself rather than looking at myself. And I was only the Auntie. My heart is raw tender for those who have lost children. It turned not only my heart but my art.
2016. It is five years later. Looking back I can see a lot of work, a lot of growth, a lot of hiding. This year, twenty-six days into my 55th year, I am coming out of hiding.
How? I am journaling (HALLELUJAH! Journaling is like breathing for me and I quit after Lauren died. I also quit polishing my toe nails. Maybe I’ll give that a go, too!) I am POSTING the blogs rather than just writing them! I am connecting with old friends and making new friends. I am even CONSIDERING leaving the house to attend art openings again where I might actually have to interact with other human beings.
It has occurred to me that invisibility might not be the best business strategy.
As I stick my neck out of my shell (I won a turtle award a quarter of a century ago for being a slow starter, I prefer late bloomer) take a chance and stick your neck out with me.
PLEASE share YOUR THOUGHTS and YOUR STORIES. One story inspires another. It is how we connect at a human level. We begin to see ourselves in each other. Not separate tribes, but a global village. Pour a cup of tea, fix a pretty plate of ginger thins (Girl Scout Cookies will work, too) and let’s share together. I want to hear your story. Invite your friends to join us. I am hopeful that as I navigate the waters of show venues we will have the opportunity to visit and share in person. My fingers are crossed (which makes typing really hard!) I hope to see you soon and I hope you bring friends. I’ll bring the art and the cookies!
Peace out! Gwen