It’s been extremely rewarding to pursue some new palettes this month and attend to several projects. Below are two of four paintings in progress, and I’m beginning another one today… I woke up thinking of rich indigo and filigree-like white lace. I’ll see where the spark takes me.

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Having several concurrent paintings in progress affords me the ability to step back from one when I need to but also keep working on others. It’s important for me, and many other visual artists/writers, I’ve heard, to avoid developing myopia. As well, a kind of block can develop when all one’s hopes are tied to a single project — particularly one that is large and inundating. That happened to me several years ago while doing a large commission. At points, I felt completely overwhelmed; when I got to a puzzling element I would fixate on it and become mired. Time ticked away. I’d paint something that didn’t work, paint it over, then over again. Trickles of self-doubt began to form. Hitting the wall, my efforts became forced, which is anathema to my automatistic, spontaneous flow of creativity I need to create work that is truly alive, surprising and authentic. In frustration I found myself breaking away and taking out a sketchbook. I began drawing unrelated projects and it extinguished my anxiety. What emerged were some of my best drawings AND I returned to the large commission feeling rejuvenated, fueled and having fresh eyes. Time-wise too, it was crucial that I met the deadline, and thankfully I did! It was a learning curve.

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I’ve since utilized this healthy discovery in creative process and I make sure to explore art in several directions at once. Not to an overwhelming degree, but just enough so that the projects are mutually beneficial as a whole. Each venture is informing the other, whether on a conscious or subconscious level. When a piece falls flat, I don’t trouble over it as much as I used to. Instead, I usually set it aside (I will often resurrect it later) and get to painting or drawing or writing something else. One creation is happily percolating while another creation is reaching a satisfying completion. I read along the way that “art feeds art”. It’s true.

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The above painting, Windows Watch Us In, is the focus of my April art column installment, Honey Wove the Marrow, at Arcadia Magazine’s Online Sundries. In it I discuss identity, relating and a bit about fishing with my dad.