Ideas are not ours alone. Ideas belong to the greater consciousness.
I watched the TED talk presented by Elizabeth Gilbert.
She speaks about creativity, where it comes from and how to see it. She points out that the ancient Romans and Greeks didn’t assume all responsibility for creativity and innovation. Instead they used words like “Damon” or “Genius”. One would have a genius, like a creative helper, to channel an idea from the high subconscious or god to man. We can make it material, but they deliver the inspiration. This is liberating. As I have experienced and Elizabeth points out, as an artist one of our greatest struggles arises in the moment after we’ve created our best work. That’s when we are faced with a fear of having peaked in our life or careers. Will I ever top that? How depressing? So to believe that our creative genius is due in part to a genius and not our genius, provides a huge relief. It takes the pressure off. When I succeed, I have someone to thank. If I fail, well then I just wasn’t understanding my genius correctly. Better luck next time. On to the next.
Ideas are not ours alone. Ideas belong to the greater consciousness.
Last year I began working abstractly. My interest in power was in flux. No longer interested in the power of industry nor the power plays of politics, I turned inward and began looking at the power of self. This is an interest that continues to grow and the paint has been an amazing vehicle to explore with. Paint lets me speak in a language that is less concrete.
The painting above is about relationships. It evolved very organically. During a rough spell I put on my headphones, turned on my hemi-sync and began painting. My original plan for the image quickly changed and I just let go and allowed myself to move and channel the image. My glasses were off, which helped because it kept me from analyzing what I was doing. I just allowed the painting to develop through my hand. After the session I stepped back to find the image and the message clearly written in front of me. What I’d felt during the session was an amazement at the illusion of control. In this life experience we can at times feel weak, powerless and bullied. At other times we may feel strong but perhaps tempted to abuse the power given to us. NO matter our stance, our actions, there is a greater force, orchestrating it all. Call it karma, the universal plan, greater subconscious or God. Call it whatever you want. It is the great balancer. So for me this painting is about trusting my relationship with this greater power, regardless of my place in the world. For me, this painting is proof of a higher power.
Abstract work like this lets me look at emotion, sensation, experience, etc without having to describe anything concrete. Sometimes things just cant be categorized. So, it’s nice to have the freedom to paint without being bound to a form. There are times when I crave form though. I paint about the human experience, why not blend the human experience with the human? So these abstractions ended up supporting a series of portraiture that I’ve recently begun. The two images shown above are some of the early sketches for the series. These two are self portraits but I’m very excited about some of the people I have lined up to model for paintings.
Aaron and I took a moment to paint the view in Valley Forge one evening after I finished work. Aaron met me on the hillside by the road and we ate the sandwiches and chips he’d packed for us. He’d been painting for a bit, mentioned that people “seemed interested.” I realized what he meant after I set up and began laying the paint down. Cars were slowing to a near halt as the drivers rubber-necked out their windows to see what we were up to. One car even came to a dead stop in the road and started video taping us. The line of cars behind them honked until the couple pulled off onto the grass. It’s always nice to see so many strangers nearly wreck their vehicles to catch a glimpse of the rarely spotted oil painter. It’s not like we were practicing a mating call or any sort of performance art, but simply appearing outside our natural habitat of the studio seemed to be enough. I guess we do tend to hermit, so most of our existence is cloaked in a solvent scented mystery. We painted for less than two hours before the sun dropped and Aa said as he always does when the horns blare, brakes squeal and civilians holler out the car windows, “If you think painting is dead, just come out here and watch the crowds gather. They always will.”
One thing that 2012 has certainly brought is change. To mark one of many changes, Aaron and I moved out of Philadelphia to the Pennsylvania countryside about two months ago. We’re really embracing our new life in the country which includes plenty of wildlife (both in and out of the house), a wood burning stove (which is great because I love to set things on fire) and a new addiction to the pumpkin whoopi pies that the woman at the farmers market makes. (Seriously, they are only a dollar a piece and they are unreal!) The most important gain I’ve found in coming here is the time and enthusiasm to paint. Here in the calmness, down our mile-long gravel road, I’m far more inspired than I was in the city. My vision is only clear when I can step away and exist in my own being, if that makes sense, and I can do that now. So here I am. And I can see again. And I’m so thankful for it. With that in mind, my new body of work is a marked evolution of my past obsession with power. This movement forward, however, looks to the power within. Above is a picture of me in the studio with a glimpse new painting in progress.
I’m excited to take part in a group Still Life exhibition with Artist House Gallery in Philadelphia PA. I’m also excited to have my painting selected for the show card (LEFT), representing the exhibit which includes over 30 artists. There are two receptions that you are invited to attend. The opening reception will take place on Friday Sept 7 from 5-8pm. An afternoon reception will take place on Sunday Sept 9th from 1-4 pm. I will be attending the Sunday reception but unfortunately I am not able to make the Friday opening. The show will be up for the entire month of September, so if you are not able to make the openings please note the gallery hours on their site at www.artistshouse.com. I hope you are able to swing by and see the show. Keep an eye out for my husband Aaron Thompson who will also have some exceptional work there. Looking forward to seeing those of you who can make it and/or hearing about your trip to Artist House Gallery.
I’m excited to be teaching 2 workshops this summer at Long Beach Island Foundation in New Jersey. Click HERE to visit their website. Be sure to download their Summer Catalog to view course listings. You can find the my courses on page 23.
July 23 – “A Spiritual Exploration in Art” Open to all, beginners to well seasoned artists. No experience in meditation necessary to take part. This is a one day workshop during which students will be guided through a series of basic meditations focused on the different Chakras, or energy centers of the body. After communicating with the self, we will respond individually in writing and/or color drawings to document our experiences. The introspection can be shared or kept private. This a day for development of self.
August 6 & 7 (Monday and Tuesday) “Drawing as Looking: An intro to drawing techniques” This is a two day drawing workshop that will teach drawing from observation. There will be instruction on formal rendering techniques as well as expressive interpretation of forms. We’ll be producing black and white charcoal drawings. Recommended for those with beginner to intermediate drawing skills.
Sunday morning. I’m sitting in my squishy brown leather chair that I recently got on craigslist for $65. I finally feel like I have a spot in the world, in my home that is just mine. A place to take care of myself. So with my coffee and Nickle Creek softly playing from the speakers beside me, I’m able to sit here and just be and just feel. And it feels so good. As a creative person, I, like all other creatives, are most fulfilled by my work when I’m following the pull that comes from my heart. That pull left me for a while, but today I feel it again, like a leash has been hooked to my heart and my guides have simply said “Come with me, darling.”