“My Funny Valentine”
The Colors of Jazz Collection
© 2020 Molly Larson Cook
28 x 22, Acrylic on Canvas
The waiting game continues. And so do the articles appearing daily about changing the ways to market our art. At the same time, there are the seductive stories and ads that lead us to believe all will be back to normal “very soon.” “Very soon” is code for “We don’t know when the hell life will pick up again.” Of course, it won’t be back to normal even then.
So I stick with the paint and the canvas. I read the articles and browse the art books at hand – several. I’ve inventoried my supplies, cleaned the studio, talked to other artists, and I paint. The old expression about doing something “like there’s no tomorrow,” takes on new meaning, and instead I paint like there IS a tomorrow. Preferably a tomorrow with open galleries and exhibitions and art shows.
I’m becoming reacquainted with my studio and spent time there the last few days. Things begin to feel both more familiar and somehow still not quite right. What’s wrong with this picture?
The circumstances for making art have often been difficult. And yet it was made. The stories abound. Struggling. Starving. Poor Mimi coughing in the freezing garret. One of my first art classes at Maine College of Art was held in a warehouse during a week in January when it snowed a foot and the heat went out. The staff and faculty took pity on us and formed a soup brigade to bring hot soup for lunch every day. And every day we worked.
Despite the disconnect and the uncertainty right now, my painting life goes on. Sometimes a kink in the connection can bring good results. We know about “happy accidents,” and I’m finding new directions with the paintings that I enjoy. I’ve added a couple of new tools – no brushes, I don’t use brushes – which are giving interesting results. Because I wasn’t able to easily restock my paint supply, I’ve found new solutions with what I had on hand. Artists and other creatives are basically problem-solvers. Just like the great mechanic or the carpenter in your town.
We might talk loftily about inspiration and muses, but it all comes down to the work at hand and solving one kind of problem or another. When we look at it that way, well, we just get out the tools and get to work. If you don’t have the exact right gizmo in the toolbox, then you get even busier and figure out something else that will work.
And on that note, I’ve decided to stop whining or wondering about the future, at least for a few hours or days. Writer E.L. Doctorow once said this about writing a novel: ‘Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. ‘
My painting and my life feel about the same during these strange “driving a car at night” days. I may not be able to see beyond the headlights, but I’ll turn the radio on, roll the window down, and wear my high-heeled sneakers. I’ll make the whole trip one painting at a time.
2 thoughts on “One Painting at a Time”
Great! We can talk about that and I hope to have the studio open for visitors one day before long.
I don’t know where I’ll hang it, but one day when we reach that point, I want to buy one of your paintings!