December 11, 2011

Day Three: Studio Lockdown

Day Three: 5:45 am. I can handle Rick Steves' voice (Travel with Rick Steves). Today I learned about agritourism while half asleep. Made coffee. Started medium-large self-portrait in Beacon bathrobe, while brewing coffee, while listening to NOA weather radio repeat itself endlessly, while waiting for temperature to warm above 30 degrees. Worked in studio from 7am-10am. Went for a run, but strained calf again at .25 mile. Frustrated. Walked instead. I'm not so good with injuries.

I had this very same Beacon robe in Chicago. I paid $3 for it at the local thrift store. For some reason, I let it go in a yard sale some years later.  Every time I saw a TV show or a movie with someone wearing a Beacon robe, I would wilt a little. No more. This summer I saw the same robe in a vintage store and paid 21 times what I paid for it back in Chicago-on the condition I would paint a self-portrait featuring this robe. Coincidentally, I was with an old friend who remembered my bathrobe from Chicago and convinced me this was a good plan. She may have in fact, suggested it. I couldn't have possibly appreciated the first bathrobe as much as I do the second one. Money well-spent. I've been waiting until winter to paint this self-portrait. It's 41 x 38 inches. I'll only be working on it first thing in the mornings while I have coffee-about 2 hours. Painting Vérité. And now you also know how long I dawdle over coffee.

Aside from the bathrobe painting, I seem to be settling into an afternoon-evening schedule. Six hours, uninterrupted is good for me in the studio. That doesn't count priming and building stretchers or any prep work- just painting and staring. Usually, I'll end up tacking on at least another hour later in the evening. I have to walk through the studio to get to the kitchen. Because of this conveniently obtrusive set up, odds are, I will also pick up a brush while I'm cooking, mindlessly drinking coffee and solving mysteries of the Universe, and while I'm playing with the dog.

I made a large batch of my kick-ass, homemade granola to give to the matriarchs in the neighborhood and a couple of granola heads I know. I also obsessed abut not being able to run due to calf injury. The calf injury happened before my trip to New York. I thought I was back to normal. Obviously not. I can feel the chocolate babka taking over my body. Bad call on that. So good, but bad. 

But back to speaking of the end of the semester, Charles Saatchi's piece for The Guardian via Two Coats of Paint: "If I stop being on good behaviour for a moment, my dark little secret is that I don't actually believe many people in the art world have much feeling for art and simply cannot tell a good artist from a weak one, until the artist has enjoyed the validation of others – a received pronunciation. For professional curators, selecting specific paintings for an exhibition is a daunting prospect, far too revealing a demonstration of their lack of what we in the trade call 'an eye.' They prefer to exhibit videos, and those incomprehensible post-conceptual installations and photo-text panels, for the approval of their equally insecure and myopic peers. This 'conceptualised' work has been regurgitated remorselessly since the 1960s, over and over and over again."  Or as I like to call it, Rehashed 90's Conceptualism. They declared painting dead, why not this? Rhetorical question, I might add.

I reactivated my Netflix account for December and received some good suggestions for aprés-paint viewing.
No one suggested Mulholland Falls, but I wanted to see LA in a film.


Elaine Mari, Painter and Drawer said...

Just catching your lockdown posts now, these are great. I see your day is a lot like mine. Except I skip the getting up at 5:45 AM!

2 hours over coffee✓(in which I dawdle, do computer "work" read,

starting to apply paint at 2 PM and ending at 7 or 8✓

overwhelming urge to mop floors or do other neglected chores. snack, pay bills, walk the dog✓

I agree with this from the Saachi quote but I won't say anything about pots and kettles here. "many people in the art world have(not} much feeling for art and simply cannot tell a good artist from a weak one, until the artist has enjoyed the validation of others – a received pronunciation"

My 2 hours of computer work are up now, gotta go walk the dog.

Mary Addison Hackett said...

Documenting the studio is keeping me honest this month. It's also a way to see flaws in the system and aim to correct them.

Elaine Mari, Painter and Drawer said...

I think it's a great idea. I use my online activities this way. I have to report in and must have something to report. Something like that anyway.

I tweak the system all the time but am beginning to feel that some of the things that make me most anxious maybe the things that make me productive. They make me anxious because others might not approve. Not getting up till after 8 makes me feel like such a slacker, but, like eating chocolate, I can't seem to change it. Wandering about in my mind while doing anything but art, sitting in the sunshine drawing etc. all lead me to believe I am headed to hell in a hand barrel. I think I'll stop worrying about this.

Carla said...

I'm so happy to finally see "Rehashed 90's Conceptualism" in print, quotable, and attributable (if you don't mind). I've been on the verge of using it several times.

Mary Addison Hackett said...

Oh sure, my name's mud anyway.

After naming this ism (R9C), I came across a quote on wiki about the origin of the term, 'Relational aesthetics'—"One of the first attempts to analyze and categorize art from the 1990s,[2] the idea of Relational Art[3] was developed by Nicolas Bourriaud in 1998 in his book Esthétique relationnelle (Relational Aesthetics)." (wiki)

The key point I think is that when it became analyzed and categorized, it became rehashed. At some point, the overly educated were actually overly educated- ie, reading primary, secondary and tertiary texts, and making work in *response*. R9C lacks individual response and any kind of historical identity.

But what do i know. I'm just a painter.

Carla said...

That's a very good summary. Mind if I borrow and post, with a link back to the culprit?

Mary Addison Hackett said...

Borrow away, but maybe discreetly. Everything's just street level observation. I teach, so it's problematic sometimes.

Mary Addison Hackett said...

Frankly, I think if we just stopped encouraging mediocrity, 90% of the problem would be solved. This would allow 10% of good mediocrity to excel.

Mary Addison Hackett said...

^ I'll own that one.