Tuesday, September 18, 2018
900 Just Do It
It feels like forever since I've sent a blog with a new painting. My husband and I recently moved to Chicago after 29 years of living in the Milwaukee area, and along with a move like that comes a lot of stress and logistical details, all of which involve the left brain, not leaving much room or time for creative right brain activity, such as painting. It has been very difficult for me, as painting has been such a healthy and enjoyable habit for me for so long, and without it, I fell into that funk that artists and writers sometimes fall into, a void if you will. I never wanted to acknowledge that void, to give it validity, but to describe it to you, I would say it's like an aversion to exercise. You think of any reason not to exercise/ paint--washing windows, cleaning out closets--you get the point. This was compounded by the fact that I have a new studio which is very different from my previous studio work space. It's difficult to get things arranged so that my supplies are convenient for me to paint, and to get the light just right.
So what happened to propel me to paint? A couple of things lined up simultaneously that are significant. Mary Gilkerson is an artist from South Carolina I follow online. She started a five day, 20 minute painting challenge beginning yesterday, Monday and I thought this would be a good idea. But I think what really spurred me to paint was a dream I had in which two artists played an important role.
Nancy Mertz King is a fabulous local Chicago artist who is proficient in oil and pastels and internationally recognized. She owns a beautiful gallery to display her work and she also has a thriving framing business. Her work is beautiful. www.nanciekingmertz.com
Diane Arenburg is a Wisconsin artist who now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. www.dianearenberg.com She, also, is an amazing oil, pastel and jewelry artist who has overcome cancer and is living life to the fullest.
My dream involved both artists, morphing from one face to another, switching from Diane to Nancy and back again, encouraging me to just pick up the snippets of pastel chalk and move it around the paper. "Just do it" she said, and I hesitantly picked up a nub of chalk and applied it to paper. It seemed so simple, but I did it in my dream, even though it has been many years since I worked with pastels. I can visualize so vividly the size and color of the chalk, and yesterday decided that it was THE day to end this absence of painting, what I love and need so much to do.
"Just Do It." That's the message on the t-shirt I wore in 1996 when I ran my first and only marathon. It was an important message for me then, and it is now. Just Do It, just like in my dream. Don't labor over why you can't paint. Just pick up the damn brush and push the paint around. It will feel good and will break the silence.
And that's what I did. I intended to paint for 20 minutes at Mary Gilkerson's suggestion, but indeed that was not enough time to produce something I could be happy with. I painted and painted, and painted 3 different paintings on this one little 6 x 6" canvas, one over the other. It took me all day, far beyond the 20 minutes I was supposed to assign to this project. But you know what? It felt so good to hold the brush in my hand and to mix the colors on my palette. I didn't stop all day long, and I made great progress on this and other paintings. I have gessoed several canvases with intentions and can't wait to get back to work.
I know it sounds hokey that a dream catapulted me back to the studio. I don't care why or how it happened. I'm just grateful that it did.