Wednesday, June 2, 2021

10 Feet Tall and Bullet Proof

And a clutter free studio so I can get back to work on this piece.

10 Feet tall is the feeling to strive for – when you finally don’t care a wit what others think about your art you feel 10 feet tall and bullet proof, at least I do.  Travis Tritt’s sings about a fellow who achieves that feeling with drink but that isn’t necessary for most artists.

It isn’t easy to achieve the feeling, but it is what I strive for when I’m painting.  My current work is abstract, both paintings and collages. Every now and then I think I shouldn’t be veering off in that direction, I should stick to the realistic watercolor paintings that I know I’ve had success with. That is especially true when someone tells me they don’t like something about a current painting.  Even if that same person really likes some of my new work – just not that one.  But my studio has become so cluttered it was difficult to work.

It was time to do a serious sort and purge.  I began to pull boxes off the shelf and empty them onto my already cluttered worktable.  As I pull boxes out to go through them I realized that much of the stuff that is just taking up space says perhaps my work is actually going in the right direction. 

I have boxes full of papers and paintings that didn’t work. The blue one shown below is part of a watercolor painting, the only part I liked.  The house is a painting that didn’t work but I love the soft colors that just happened on the back.

The paintings were in there upside down because it was usually the back I was saving.  Many had colors blending in unusual patterns, not necessarily good patterns but something I thought I could do something more with.  But I never did.  The papers got put in a box on a shelf and there they stayed – out of sight, out of mind.

Which also made me realize that I need to see things I’ve been keeping or it just isn’t there. Now any boxes that were randomly covered with colorful bits of paper, probably when my 42-year-old son was still in college, have been replaced by plastic bins that I can see into.

Having started this project I decided I had to set myself a deadline and stick to it.  An exhibit opening at the Gallery Uptown in July is one that I’m hosting and participating in.  I need to get some work done!  June 1st was my deadline and as of the morning of May 31 I did it. 

When I started emptying drawers, shelves and boxes every surface in my studio looked like this


And you couldn’t open this door; good thing there was another way in.

And now the surfaces are clear, our large recycle bin has been filled twice and three large garbage bags have gone to the curb. I posted a video of the clear space over on Instagram if you're interested, here's a linkIt feels so good to go in there, I took a day to just enjoy it.  Now it’s time to make some new art!