Saturday, September 22, 2007

What's next?

I have a table full of tulip collage paintings. I've been painting these tulips for about a year and a half now. I did a whole rash of these paintings a few weeks ago. I seem to work in spurts- for a few days watercolors happen all over the place, then tulips, then scrapbook pages, then I hang some new stuff around the house, then a random acrylic painting happens, then an idea for a new class.

What is up with this??? I wish sometimes I could just "settle", just decide what I "do" and then "do" it. Wouldn't that be nice, wouldn't that be tidy. I could sum it up and say "This is MY art. This is what I 'am known for'. This is my 'style'." How easy to be able to clearly define exactly who I am and what it is that I do. I am a painter of tulips. I am a teacher. I am a scrapbooker. I am a photographer. Well-I AM all of those. If I think about this too much, it could drive me to distraction.

But, when I study the life and art of other artists, I start to realize I'm not the only one. Grant Wood, known for his paintings, but when I visited the exhibit of the vastness of his life work I saw wood working, metal work, carpentry, a scrapbook, murals, charcoal sketches and...paintings. I am reminded of my high school guidance counselor who told me "Melynda you would die working on a factory assembly line. The repetition of the same thing day in and day out would be the end of you." Maybe it is that way with art making as well. If I do the same sort of art day in and day out, I might still be in danger of dying a slow creative death. I can tell...I'm needing a break from tulips. Needing to do something new. Needing a breath of fresh air. Will I do tulips quite like this again? I'm not really sure right now. Maybe I'm being called to something new-being led to new discoveries in paint and surface and thought.

I've got this new art journal right now... actually it is a bit of old, melded with the new. Old painted scrapbook papers-discarded for their imperfection but a perfect backdrop for something new. I've gathered them together and started adding words-words based on the new thoughts I'm being confronted with in my new leadership class. Old/new, fresh/tired, tradition/change, past/future, production/creation, conflict/resolution, invitation/response, problem/solution-the backbone of art.

I don't think I want to live any other way...

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