Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Let your wild side play!

There's a part of me that's buried deep inside, a non-conformist wild side, a misbehaving child who I'm afraid to let out because god knows what demons she's going to unleash this time. It's a sexual, innocent, wondering creature who wants to dance, to explore, to enjoy her own company. The only time this wild spirit gets let out is while I'm painting. It doesn't matter what I'm painting. What matters is that it's a huge weight off my shoulders to let this hidden shameful part of me off the leash.

This is why when more and more life responsibilities are weighing on me, I find this time in the studio more and more needed. I retreat more and more into my shell.

Even in the process of painting my holding onto recognizable imagery and symbols is a sign of something holding me back. When it's just colors reaching deep into my soul, and textures playing like notes on my subconscious, that's when I truly love the process. Yet, at the end, the more reasonable, calculative, bashful side of me takes over and envelops it all in form, something like a fence to hold in all the raw emotions. When, oh when will they finally become unfenced?

Two of my students accidentally came into my studio and helped me melt wax. The sheer joy in their faces was unbelievable! How I'd love to simply be fulfilled with that joy.

Friday, December 16, 2016

My Favorite Artists on Instagram

As I explore Instagram as an outlet for my art, and as part of #taaigchallenge, I'm seeing some really great work, and I feel it's important to share it as means of inspiration.
I thought once in a while everyone needs some inspiration, so here are some of my favorites:

I love patches of harmonious color like #UweKowski
I love scraped off surfaces a la #Gerhard Richter
I love ghost trees in the style of #WolfKahn
I'd love my line to be as piercing as Hiroshige Fukuhara
I think the saturated scenes of Stevnn Hall are amazing
The color harmonies are simply perfect in Julia Powell's work:
and I'd love my symbols to be as spiritual as #Wassily Kandinsky, whose birthday is today incidentally...

But god damn it, I want it to be my language that combines all those and transforms into something new, blended seamlessly, yet making a contrasting statement. It'll stem from nature but be taken to an imaginary paradise: where borders are barely visible, where sky falls onto earth, and sand can rise to meet crashing waves. It's where trees can spread their curious branches far into the amplified skies, and they can separate the landscape into mini-icons where one's eyes rest while taking a break from the whole spectacle. It's now my color theory and not Quiller's or Kandinsky's. It'll be my melted, scratched, layered world where I can fit in all my hopes and aspirations, my struggles and disappointments.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Do you see recurring symbols?

There're forms that want to come back time and again, symbols that allow me to uncover certain truths, highlight what hides beneath.

An arched stone bridge - what is the significance of its recurring draw for me? Is it the playful texture of the stones, with enigmatic treasures reflecting in the water below? Is it the contrast of manmade patterns, so carefully assembled, against the smooth reflections of the trees, their branches haphazardly yet gorgeously striking the void?

If I am indeed always painting how I feel about myself, then is it that struggle of contrasts that draws me in? To be agreeable, yet enigmatic, and ambitious but understood, daring, provocative but feminine, delicate, beautiful, balanced, in harmony? Yes, quite a few contradictions to stuff into one painting, with the hope that they will all be apparent to the viewer, that they will all be accepted. What if just some of them are apparent? Or what if the onlooker only sees what he/she wants to see, irrelevant of my struggles and intent?

These symbols which might mean one thing to me, and something entirely different to someone else, they're still elements of a pictorial language through which we communicate. And communication is never easy, even if we all speak the same tongue. We always miss nuances, refuse to see what's just below the surface. Do you see a woman hiding in this painting?

Monday, December 12, 2016

Do you ever wish for a Do-over?

This is the first time I painted over one of my old canvases. Typically, it's very tough for me to let go of even my most disliked pieces, but I wanted this challenge of working on top of something already formed. I thought it would be so wonderful to already have a textured work from the get go, so that I wouldn't have to spend the time establishing texture from the ground up. How fundamentally wrong was I!

All the lines and grooves are formed in all the wrong places for this current piece, and every new layer is going against the grain of what's already established. It's like you're trying to change someone whose personality has been formed long ago.

At some point, however, you realize that old scars won't go away. All you can do is simply work with them, bring a new light to them, a brighter life. Yes, it is typically escapism that I'm after in my work, but it doesn't have to erase all notions of my reality. It can bring me to a new place by building on top of what's there.

 It comes out as an antiqued Instagram photo, with patches of seemingly forgotten white space open for interpretation. Some layers are scratched off to the very core of my original marks, with a new mask seemingly hiding all wounds. However, the more you add to an existing patch of texture, the more sophisticated it becomes...