Friday, March 2, 2012

Musings on What's Next

Towering Sycamore
11 X 14
I haven't had much time in the studio lately and it's starting to make me a little crazy. As a result, I couldn't sleep last night. I started to think about how I haven’t had time to paint and I started getting an anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach. I know—why would I be anxious about that? Not working. Not painting. Not creating and adding to my inventory—many levels of why. I'm hanging some paintings in a local bank on Saturday for a month-long exhibit. As I looked around last night to choose my pieces, I realized how small my framed inventory is these days.

So then, I had the burning urge to go up to the studio. Yep, 1:30 am and I’m thinking maybe I should get up and go paint. Not a good idea. I had plenty to do the next day and I couldn't afford to be fuzzy from lack of sleep. Eventually I drifted off and dreamt of deer with wide racks of sharp-pointed antlers running towards me.

I think some of my anxiety is that I don't know what to do next. I just know I want to do something different. I took a few minutes to look through my photos last night and I'm drawn to images of rusted junk and broken glass from the desert. We went out to Goffs a few weeks ago, a semi-ghost town where there is an old school house, a few rescued buildings, and lots of desert junk (oh and several retirees that zip around in golf carts). 

It was the desert junk that intrigued me most. Shovel blades and rusted frames of car seats, with springs spiraling out every which way. Santa Fe rail cars with ruddy peeling paint; old stamp mills from the mines, sewing machines, giant bolts, military helmets, and tractor seats. Ornate dresser pulls, broken glass in milky purples and cobalt blues—and a spilled bucket of coke-bottle-green marbles cast across the sandy soil, beaming brightly in the sunlight.

But those kinds of subjects are the paintings that people walk past with just a glance, thinking, "What the hell is that? And why on earth would I put that over my sofa?" So you see my dilemma.

I've got some new relief printing ink to try. It's a delicious burnt brown and it might just be the perfect thing for rendering rusty objects. Maybe that's where I'll go next. Even if it's not marketable. I never wanted to be an art whore anyway.

But first, we will head back to the desert for a quick visit. Revisiting the wild places where the horizon is far away, the sky is bluer-than-blue, and the Mud Hills, which despite the drab name will show us their rich color and texture. A rainbow of layers upon layers of ancient sediments and stones pressed and folded and weathered and twisted into soothing stripes of celery, sage, cocoa, cinnamon, cumin, and cream.

We'll explore colorful canyons, sit by the fire, take in the night sky's show of stars, and if the wind Gods favor us, sleep the peaceful sleep the desert brings during its moments of quiet calm.

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