I was honored to be invited by Frank Bette Center for the Arts in Alameda to demo painting with acrylics and had a ball [on Zoom from my studio]. This is the abstract result — it has many layers, and I even relaxed a bit during the process though it makes me squirmy to be watched while I paint (heard a story that deKooning would paint outside and sit inside a large cardboard box for privacy — have no idea if it’s true, but I get it). What surprised me (maybe it shouldn’t have) was that I experienced strong emotion at the beginning of the demo as I painted; even with eyeballs on me, making art splits me open like a pea pod. If you’ve read even two of my blogs, you know I celebrate the expression of emotion — I believe it’s healthy. My particular challenge is not to drown in feelings, which happens; I’m grateful for loved ones who toss me the occasional life preserver and pull me back into the boat.
I guess because this abstract had so many iterations, it’s nice to be reasonably satisfied with the final result (which was auctioned off and sold, hooray!). At one point it was half-smothered in drippy green acrylic goo, and I thought that was the end of it and maybe it should quietly be put out to pasture (took out my palette knife, added more color and it got better). It’s hard to know when to stop and when to move forward. Keep trying? Ditch it and start a new one? How to decide? Lessons of life. I guess I’ll just keep navigating by the seat of my pants; I’m still in motion.
12″ x 12″ acrylic, pencil, oil pastel on claybord
Did anyone see the PBS show, “American Masters” about Oliver Sacks? I was floored and inspired by his transparency and openness about his life—his missteps, his insights and honesty. And his incredible empathy (I watched it twice). He talked about his journey without hesitation or obfuscation. Which is helping me feel bolder about my own blatherings about my personal adventures and challenges. As I struggle to wrap my mind and heart around the reality of my younger sister’s death, and how difficult it was to connect with her, it is becoming clearer how my childhood wounds shape me. I have healed a great deal and worked very hard for my wholeness. At the same time, wispy fragments of longings as well as my aching quest for human connection that haunted me as a child float through my soul, and I see how I have felt ashamed of these normal and human needs. Like somehow I should be above the desire for intimacy. I should buck up, or something asinine like that. Ridiculous. Today I embrace my humanity and natural and beautiful desires. What is more precious than human connection? Yet I have often thought this was a deep flaw. Boy howdy am I letting that one go!
I worked on this small abstract on the weekend. I didn’t feel like painting at all. But it was a tonic to be in my studio and work with colors and shapes and wet gloppy paint without any attempts to make it pretty. It was a soothing experience, even with tears mixed into the chromium blues.
9″ x 12″ acrylic, oil pastel, pencil on claybord = $140