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September 15, 2012

Discipline

I worked about an 13-hour day in the studio yesterday. It was a 12-hour day, but after I walked the dog, I screwed the corner braces onto the stretcher I had made earlier in the day. At approximately 9:45 pm, the screw slipped as I was drilling, and sliced into my thumb. Last year, I had a bread knife incident with my finger that looked like a mass murder had taken place, so I now have an emergency first-aid kit tailored for finger cuts in my kitchen. It is a mason jar containing finger cots, Neosporin, gauze, butterfly band-aids and a couple of regular band-aids. I'm going to modify it even more and tear open the sterilized wrapper of one band-aid and place it in a tiny ziplock bag inside the mason jar. I'm currently inventing the ¡OHFUCKICUTMYSELF!® quick-release band-aid wrapper. It's for people who need to open band-aids by themselves when their thumbs and index fingers are bleeding the fuck all over the place.

But I digress. 

It was a 12-hour day because on Fridays, I pull a double shift in the studio. Yesterday's shift started off by unstretching a 60" x 48" canvas (30 minutes) and trying not to be so concerned when after 7 years on a stretcher bar, some of the paint chipped off the edges as removed it and loosely rolled it up. Oil on linen. It can be conserved if it ever needs to be, and I knew better than to get freaked out and ditch it, so I moved along. But afterward I wasn't sure I wanted to work on a 48" x 60" canvas yet, so I built a (32" x 40") stretcher. There was some wasted time involved. I forgot I had removed the sawdust bag from the table saw before the last flood. Also, black leggings and a black t-shirt aren't really optimal for working around sawdust, but I let that slide. 

I rolled a short stint in the office into the studio day. I need to apply for some teaching gigs and other things, so I worked on trying to condense an art statement that could serve as a bio. If you ever want a litany of gerunds to describe your work, I'm your woman. The problem is they were all true descriptions. Walking away, before I went crazy, I poured myself an espresso. 

I know what I'm painting about, but specific imagery stumps me every time. Waiting for the glue to dry was an excuse to angst about what to paint. It's not what people call a block or anything, it's about wanting to pick the right thing- which in a way is contrary to what I'm dealing with- there is no right thing, so it's another contradiction. There's a conflict between wanting to paint that, and wanting to paint toward or around that while watching everything unfold. Perhaps that's where the tension lies. I could just start painting, but my head's not there anymore. I need more. Or less. There's something about painting things that is both empty and satisfying. If feels dumb-more mute, but open and grounded. I am looking for this groundedness. 

I'm guessing I inherited around 2500 slides. I have not counted them. I should, so I can be more accurate when I make that claim. I grabbed a box of slides form the closest source, held a few up to the light, and settled on one. I decided I wanted to push myself toward realism for a day by using a projected image. I'm on the fence about using a photograph or a projected image as reference. It's a bit paint-by-numbers compared to how I've been working, which in a weird way intrigues me. I also want to develop more realist skills for myself as a painter. It's a discipline thing and a patience thing, but I like challenges.

I'll end with this fantastic quote by Alice Neel:
"You should keep on painting no matter how difficult it is, because this is all part of experience, and the more experience you have, the better it is.. unless it kills you, and then you know you have gone too far."-Alice Neel


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