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February 09, 2013

fumbling in the dark

First off, does anyone actually blog anymore? I feel early Millennial by writing blog posts. Or that I'm too naive to be too busy or too important to blog. Then there's the privacy issue.

I accidentally joined ArtStack without thinking it through. Only after joining as a person did I realize that a profile had already been established for me as an artist, complements of ArtStack. I'm not necessarily against random sites picking up my art and using it to promote their services but as soon as MAH the person signed up, I was automatically assigned to follow 60 people, 50 of whom I have no idea who they are.  It was like being pushed onto a dance floor.

But back to real life. It's 8:04. There's a baked potato in the microwave. My potato will be shriveled by the time I make it back to the kitchen. I snacked on raw almonds and drank hot tea + an expresso today. Yesterday I spent 7 hours in the studio painting and unpainting a moderately large canvas. At the end of 7 hours I had a what looked to be some vague brushstokes and muted OMS washes. In reality, it represented 7 hours of indecisiveness.
1. enlarging a sketch of the kitchen
2. dumb brushstokes and OMS wash wipeouts
1. perceptual still life of Morandi-esque looking arrangement of cream colored vases across the room, which I specifically bought at a yard sale because I like the creamy color and because they reminded me of Morandi
1. dumb brushstokes and OMS wash wipeouts
1. back to enlarging the sketch of the kitchen 
1. dumb brushstokes and OMS wash wipeouts
1. a  different vase
1. dumb brushstokes and OMS wash wipeouts
1. perceptual still life of Morandi-esque looking cream colored vase.
1. dumb brushstokes and OMS wash wipeouts
1. the kitchen
1. the different vase again
1. dumb brushstokes and OMS wash wipeouts
1. a final defiant stroke.

Today, I finally settled on a musical teapot. It plays "Tea for Two" whenever you pour. The teapot is just a starting point. I don't think any painter worth their weight in cobalt would admit to having a 24/7/365 seamless day in the studio, but in case you are one of those people who everything goes totally planned in the studio every single day, I'll assume you are a machine, a soulless little machine.

It's hard to define how one could work 10 hours simultaneously knowing, not knowing, wanting, but not wanting- to paint a thing, but not a thing, to paint something that is not verbal, but yet articulate- without resorting to total abstraction or the cloyingly pat, and still be excited about getting back in the studio to continue this process, but session after session, this is what I do. I was reminded today, again, not to concern myself with labels and to paint what I like.

I had a strange calmness come over me as I was working on some details, which I will admit at this stage is way too soon to work on details, but I'm busting out a bit. The teapot is just the starting point.

“Do you believe in God, doctor?"
No - but what does that really mean? I'm fumbling in the dark, struggling to make something out. But I've long ceased finding that original.” -Albert Camus, The Plague

2 comments :

sherie' said...

i am not glad for your agony, but i'm glad not to be alone as for days and days have been laying on the floor of the studio w/a stake thru the heart...one meaningless gesture after another not knowing how to go on w/it anymore...:0 sherie'

Mary Addison Hackett said...

Sherie', we just go on until it makes sense for a few minutes again and then more fumbling. I too, am glad not to be alone with the not knowing. Thanks.