Monday, May 23, 2011

Everyone's oddness

Yesterday evening I happened upon the below entry from Anne Truitt's wonderful, wonderful journal Daybook.  (I read the book for the first time the summer before my freshmen year of college and have perused it periodically ever since as it is a wealth of thoughtfulness about being an artist.)  I record this passage here because she writes what I experience as I move through my days between the studio and the home--so much of life and living for me is remarking on how amazing is this color against that one, in the context of a room or a person or a collection of everyday objects.  Just yesterday I took pictures of a bowl of shelled fava beans, (which will no doubt find there way here soon) not because the bowl of shelled fava beans was in and of itself so remarkable (though I might argue for the remarkble-ness of fava beans actually, tossed with garlic, olive oil and parmesan) but because my eye loved the settled repetition of their piled up shapes, as well as their pale green color.  Somehow those fava beans relate to painting for me.

From Anne Truitt's journal Daybook:

24 October
I opened my eyes a moment ago into the maple leaves outside my window.  Almost simultaneously with the act of identifying them as these particular leaves and thus placing myself, I saw them as paintings, an arrangement of values. 
The other afternoon when I was entertaining my daughter Mary in her bath, she asked me whether I thought artists were "just born that way."  I said I thought they might be.  "How?" she asked.  I said I didn't know, but that there was rarely a time when I wasn't half-consciously translating what was around me into terms of art, that as I stood at the door--for I was on my way out when this exchange took place--I had been absorbing her brown body against the white tub, the yellow top of the nail brush, the dark green shampoo bottle, Sam's blue towel, her orange towel, and could make a sculpture called Mary in the Tub if I ever chose to.  These elements arranged themselves into proportions of color, the weights of which gave me the meaning of what I was seeing.  Mary and I laughed, partly out of the pleasure of talking to one another and partly out of the wry recognition of everyone's oddness.

Summer collages

A couple of the collages I made at Hambidge....

Friday, May 20, 2011


It is 8:15 as I write.
I am still in my walking clothes.  Chris is making an omelette for us both--with broccoli from the garden.  Just-cut broccoli is a revelation; I didn't know it tasted that much better than broccoli in any other state of being!  We have no place to go but our studios today.
It is our summer--finally.  Grades are posted, classes are ended, so the business of full-time studio work can really begin.  Last week I returned from my third residency at the Hambidge Center for the Arts, a fitting beginning for summer.  I focused on small collages, and so I spent a lot of time sitting at the desk pictured above.  From my perch in Hambidge's light-filled Garden Cottage, I made a slew of collages which have helped me think through how to approach some bigger paintings I think, some bigger collages too--we'll see of course.   For now I can breathe deeply and relish this season's beginning.