My friend Jens has no filter when speaking his brilliant mind. It’s a quality I admire, especially when discussing creative edges that push our limits and call out for personal growth.
Recently, Jens and I were in my Santa Fe studio.
Large disheveled under-paintings I had just begun were leaning against the wall. Over-worked paper pieces were scattered on the floor; in progress or abandoned? (It could go either way.) They felt vulnerable, raw, and not too sure of themselves.
Jens was animated as he discussed his latest project of turning mud into functionality and grace. He had just bulldozed and excavated a cave on land he recently purchased on the outer borders of New Mexico into Arizona. He was making livable space. Art.
I talked of mind clutter and the impatience/anxiety of feeling discomfort in visible vulnerability hovering around me. I mumbled something about re-creating what I had done in my last series. Exploring the tension points between the visible and unseen. Smokey clouded layers covering the ambivalence of life.
Jens leaned in close, “So are you now making fake paintings? “
I knew what he meant. I was at that edge believing painting existed in a realm that could be birthed like a machine.
I quickly responded, “Almost, but not yet.”
That was the truth: Take the plunge of investigating the heart's longing in the now, or be an imitated version of myself set on automatic go.
Zombie Formalism is what comes to mind. A term coined by artist and art critic Walter Robinson in 2014. My definition: Production of abstract painting that is devoid of passion and more concerned with how it is made. Image, shape, color, singing together in a doable composition that is pleasing to the eye.
Sometimes when hitting that uncomfortable edge, it’s tempting to go there. Production.
The how to, neglecting the deep inner crevices inside ourselves that ask of us the why?
It takes time and care to birth a project. When we are not tending to the delicate needs creativity requires of us bridging mind to heart, a radical distrust can set in.
For me, I usually need some space to become a bit untethered from daily left-brain life.
I guess my growing pains are asking of me to raise my frequency of light from the inside out. I still crave to paint just that.
And when I am still enough to wait out the unpleasantries of my mind, I sometimes glimpse the realization that my vulnerabilities are my courage, moved from the outside in, waiting to swallow beauty whole.
Open Studio Wednesdays
Why Color is Important One-Day Workshop, Saturday October 6, 2018
Large-Scale Painting Workshop October 25-26, 2018
Women's Spiritual Hungers November 2-3, 2018