Friday, December 16, 2011

The Turn

No one understands where it comes from and of course we don't know where it leads; the turn. Shows up all over the place! You don't have to call for it or request it, though we do. We want our bank accounts fat, our homes 5 bedrooms and 6 baths, and our spouses to understand us. But the turn...

Find yourself staring at the bend in a road especially when you've mapped out "straight ahead" as the preferred direction, and you find yourself anticipating trouble. Sometimes that bend is exactly what was needed, except at the time, it's the turn in our gut that tells us 'no.'

Experience tells us, if we listen, that bends and turns don't come for nothing and often they are exactly on time. Finding yourself wondering as you stare at a turn you didn't anticipate? Hold on, slow down and ride the bend to see what's on the other side.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Same Old Stuff

Working on a new pastel image, “Rise;” feeling good about the colors, the layout and how I’m inspired to show it to the wife (funny how, no matter how old I am, I still go back to "mommy” for approval). She makes it downstairs, asks, “That’s what you’re working on?” I say “yes,” and she says, “looks like everything else you’ve done.” Slight ouch!

See, this is a work of heart, comes from my allowing my spirit to commune with God. So, hearing that is more of the “same old” (yes, sorely tempted to use Jean-Michele Basquiat’s aka SAMO), I sat quietly with my disappointment.

I’m slow, takes time to process stuff, so going to bed, these thoughts in the back of my head, I looked at the rendering with fresh, morning eyes: same old stuff…THAT’S GREAT! I have a style! Now mind you, she’s right, and mind you, she’s wrong. When I work on something from the heart, typically the image is completely abstract expressionist. This image began with the central figure, the lady seemingly stretching and rising. Never mind, she isn’t anatomically correct, this isn’t about capturing or rendering precision and the body ideal, the image is my expression. The colors are me.

I can’t speak for other artists, only me, when I say, so often inspiration, an idea comes to mind and in the process of developing the image, I begin laying down the sketch of that idea. Sometimes, there isn’t an idea in mind, just a need to render. I lay down pastel, oil paint or charcoal and it’s shape begins to appear. Often, as I’m rendering, other colors or textures, and brush strokes come to mind. Progressing through an image, it’s like having a plate of food before me, full of the best seasoned, best prepared morsels I’ve ever tasted and every bite is like a symphony in my mouth. If there’s good music playing, the combination of music and food brings me to a personal dance. That’s what happens when I stand or sit in front of a work.

Is it all the same? Oh, if you only knew, if it were possible to explain how I am moved to render! Maybe in time, with practice, I can move away from the ‘technical’ aspect of describing a brush stroke, but for now, please accept this explanation: in those moments, it is as if God and I were speaking to one another, completing one another’s sentence and laughing at one another’s jokes. Hope that helps to understand this sense of JOY!

Friday, December 2, 2011

In Process

The Turn...also In Process
 There is something to be said for development. For the last 15 years or so, I’ve been involved, career-wise, in the Software Development Life Cycle. I’ve worked as a business analyst, data analyst and software tester, also known as a Quality Assurance Analyst. The goal has always been to produce a great application, one that meets the customer’s needs. I have worked on multiple projects and watched them go from one or two line requirements to installations on multiple computers, across networks and even across the world. And there is more that can be said for the continued development.

Thirteen years ago, traveling home from work, a question came to mind: “Where do you want to be in 10 years?” Instantly, without hesitation, I envisioned me in a studio space, painting, large canvas in front of me, palette in one hand, brush in the other. And my response was just as fast: “I want to be an artist.” Wasn’t painting at the time; I had paints but didn’t know I had them. I had brushes but they were hidden as well. In that moment, 10 years seemed like a lifetime, as though I was saying, “30 years from now, I should be ready,” or “When I don’t have any excuses, I’ll be ready to do paint again.” Hmmm…the power of a ‘confused mind!’ Certainly, I was excited at the prospect of getting back to my first love; nothing moves me like being in front of a canvas or blank sheet of paper and allowing the work to flow, but Who Would I Be, as an artist? How would I survive? Would my wife leave me because I was a starving artist? All of these feelings surfaced in that same moment I imagined me as an artist. And those feelings kept me imprisoned for 10+ years. But there was work “in process” I knew nothing about.

This is a blog, not my life story, so I’m not boring you with the details. Suffice it to say “I’M BACK!” But funny thing about being back, gone for so long and having to travel so far: I feel like there is so much work to do! Not that sinking feeling when you’re building a house and you look up from hammering a 2 x 4, and realize you’re only at the base of the building. No, this is the feeling like: “I’ve accomplished major milestones; keep going, we have time to improve the current structure and plenty of time to build on additions. I’m in process and making progress…