I arrived to the New Years party, but every one was gone. All that was left was trash all of the floor, empty champagne glasses, fizzled out streamers and crushed noise makers. It was the 11th of January and I was truly late indeed. But a smile came across my face because I happen to loathe parties. All the was left was me. Lonesome me. The me I came in with, and that was just fine. But one thing was for certain. I wasn’t cleaning up this mess. So I left and went back home (just as I planned).
So I haven’t been feeling like a million bucks lately, but I’m going to write a blog post anyway. It’s about time and I figured that it’s no secret that I wave all my dirty laundry out to dry on this thing anyhow.
I’ve been depressed. But what else is new? No one can really tell I’ve been down. Or can they? I did an interview on Mat Gleason’s new internet show called Modern Art Blitz recently and you wouldn’t really know that I was all that down in the dumps because he, and his co-host Lisa, brought out the energy in me, but then of course I saw myself on YouTube after it aired and couldn’t believe how awful I looked. I think the interview went well and all, but I began to fixate on how I looked and it got me all freaked out about my latest issues – one being how I have been exercising my butt off for the last couple of months and haven’t lost a single pound!
You’d think this could be possible – if I was stuffing my face with candy and cake – but I swear I’m not doing any such thing. Not to say that I don’t eat pieces of candy on occasion (full disclosure), but I’m really not eating a lot. I’m eating late, which I know is really bad, but not right before bed. It’s still many hours before I actually go to sleep.
So what’s the trouble? Well it’s my meds! Plus, I recently discovered I have pretty serious sleep apnea. In fact, last night I spent the night at a sleep study center hooked up to all kinds of wires and whatnot. It was weird as hell. Half way through the night they put one of those C-PAP masks on my face and I got almost three hours of “good” sleep – probably the only good sleep I’ve had in five years or so. And the reason I know this is because I am not nodding off as I am typing this blog entry. Truly! I spend my days falling asleep over my keyboard, over my paintings, nearly while I am driving, and definitely while watching TV. Maybe once I get my own C-PAP machine, my life will change! And it will also help me lose a little bit of weight. Other than that, the two main medications that make me fat are the two I can not stop taking. Each one caused me to gain about 15 pounds – each I tell you! But if I went off of them, or even cut them in half, I would be a crazy person. However, I would like to be re-evaluated after I have been on the sleep machine for a while. Maybe not getting enough good sleep is part of the reason I’ve been a crazy person!
Okay, enough of that crap. What about art?
Remember when I said I was taking a kind of break from painting? Well, it was not really a break. It was more like a physical break, not a mental one. I am always painting in my head you know. I was just trying to figure out what I wanted to do next and didn’t want to paint (literally paint) until I knew what I was committing myself to in order to keep my inspiration going. So I took a week or two making some experiments in Photoshop because I wanted to figure out a way to marry together my last two bodies of work, and I’ve come to get really excited about “cramming” the two together, so to speak.
Here is a kind of example of what I mean. I tried melding together two of my existing paintings, Drum Lab (an oil painting) and Doggie Trail (a collage):
I like the idea of bringing both elements together and making it super busy and clustered together, especially where parts of the oil paint are thick and interesting and pushing those parts up against the collage bits. There’s a part of me that wants to be Zen, but then there’s this other part of me that’s wanting to express the anxiety and chaos that’s going on inside me too. I can’t make up my mind on which to produce artistically, but for now I want to be as manic as possible, as I suppose I am feeling restless at the moment. I just never know how long these feelings will last. And I just can’t keep waiting to commit to something either. I have to keep moving, even if I’m all over the road. Shit or get off the pot, as they say.
So that sketch I had transferred onto that gessoboard a couple weeks back is getting a whole new take on it now. I started playing with it in terms of sections instead of addressing it literally as I would the Joshua Tree series. I started painting it like that and I stopped because I realized I didn’t want to take that same approach. Instead I wanted to abstract it by isolating certain shapes into either color fields, nature, textile, or paper while keeping the original drawing as the foundation for the overall composition/direction. I had to start looking at the drawing in terms of shapes – shapes that didn’t necessarily have anything to do with the context of the drawing.
I decided to use both manila paper and fabrics once I was able to start seeing the shapes I wanted to section off.
And since then I’ve only spent a day of sticking down the fabric and painting on the panel.
This is because I always start with paper, not the fabric.
I have to actually trace it first in velum, but I don’t have a pic of that for you. Once I trace the sections, I transfer it onto the thick manila paper with a lightbox and cut out the shapes and some of those become the patterns for the fabric pieces. I pick my textiles pretty carefully. Once I have the patterns for them, I know which fabrics are going to be close to other fabrics, etc. I have a huge bin of fabrics to chose from, but I like to go with a lot of the bolder patterned textiles, and brightly colored ones that aren’t necessarily found in nature.
I use a black ball point pen and trace the pattern onto the fabric (depending on the type of fabric). Most of the fabrics I use are tight-weave cotton, like quilt swatches, so the pen works best and I can see the line. Otherwise I might use a blue fabric pencil. Then I have to cut very carefully on the inside the line with a very sharp scissor so that I remove the pen parts and the fabric will fit as perfectly into the spot as possible. And then I have to starch and iron the fabric pieces before I glue them onto the panel. Lots of steps I guess.
One day I will take pictures of every part of this process just for yucks.
I haven’t been working on this painting at all since Friday however, because I’ve had a bug up my ass to start purging my belongings in order to simplify my life. Not an easy thing to do. I didn’t realize what a pack rat I’ve become! I guess I’ve decided to do it a little bit at a time because there’s no way I can just do it in a week, or a day, or a month even. I started with my closet and that took me since Friday. Yesterday I did my desk – all but one drawer. I suppose a good chunk of it is done just with going through my clothing, since most of it doesn’t fit anymore. More than half of it is gone now, but I bet I could go through it again in about a month and get rid of another half. I think the more I get used to letting go of things, the easier this will all become.
That being said, I need to gift or sell a large portion of my art collection. I just have way too much. The main thing that has been stopping me is photographing it. I have to pull it from storage, unwrap it and take a decent picture of it before I can even think about selling it. Gifting it is a lot easier of course, but I can’t just do that with most of it. And I have been really wanting to start my little mini foundation with any sales I make, which I have been trying to set up on the picklebird website.
Oh yeah, my talk with Phranc at Craig Krull Gallery went pretty darn good. So many people showed up at 10:30 in the morning on Saturday, I really couldn’t believe it!
This blog post was certainly all over the road, wasn’t it? I swear I don’t have ADD.
you look great, Carol! In ten years you’ll say “What was I thinking?” I am happy for you, things are moving forward all the time. Best wishes!
Thanks Jocelyne. You’re probably right about the 10 years thing. It’s just too bad I can hardly enjoy the “here and now.” Still working on it though. Today is therapy day. 😉
I am continually full of admiration for you and your art. Sorry that I was not at your gallery show.
A thought: Living in a creative space means ebb and flow, as we both know so well. In his swansong book, The December Project, Reb Zalman ( the book was written by Sara Davidson based on interviews) tackles the ” living-in-the-present- moment” question. ” I live in a larger place than the moment, Zalman said. ” I live in a timeline and I belong to a historic tradition. We have Abraham in the past and the Messiah in the future” ( pg. 72).
What’s your timeline and historic tradition? How is “now” connected?
All the best…..
Thank you Mark! I’m sorry I missed this comment. I really appreciate it and it’s so nice to hear from you.
No problem about missing the show. I was just glad you were at the Exodus show. That meant the world to me.
I will try to pick up The December Project. it sounds like something I would love. Thank you, and I will be thinking about the question you have proposed. That’s a good one! 🙂 You are such a great mentor to me.