Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Make Art Because, part II

On Meaning

Between my jobs as a floral designer and moving to Evanston, I lived in Las Vegas and worked as a showgirl. Just kidding.
I started painting again just before I left my job at Epoch floral in Chicago and moved to Las Vegas. It was January 2007 when I carved out my first art studio in our 4200 square foot rental house and made art a daily priority. okay maybe weekly. What was it that unleashed in me then?

The big blue skies. The freedom of a new beginning. The excitement of our future together. No job. No expectations.

I started painting on a 22" by 30" piece of heavy paper with no plan, no formal ideas. I started painting just to see where I could go. Where my brain would take me. Like stream of consciousness. In my mind I was sewing together the squares of a quilt. Putting together colors that were pretty and mimicking shapes and patterns that I noticed on my walks through the desert - the shadows of the cacti, the jagged silhouette of the mountains. When I was finished every square inch of the paper was covered with color like a big tapestry. I named the pieceJourney Through a Quilted Subconscious.

It felt good to let go of all compositional worries and just paint for the sake of painting. I clung to that freedom and did a couple more paintings in this "horror vacui" style. I stood back to study the paintings solely to determine what colors and shapes might work best next to the ones I had just laid down on the paper. I think upon reflection that I was interested solely in creating an environment for the viewer the way a quilt creates an environment for a snuggler. ha! wait. or maybe I was interested solely in painting as a means of self expression. Maybe I tried (in vain) to just enjoy the journey and forget the end result.

My mom took me to see poet Gwendolyn Brooks speak when I was about 12 years old. When it was over my mom said to me, "your art doesn't always have to be pretty. It can really just be an expression of how you feel."


Unfortunately, my train of thought ends there because I wrote this a couple of weeks ago. Before I left for vacation. And then I left, went to Cuttyhunk Island, and my brain turned to mush.