It’s Okay to Change Your Mind

Raoul Dufy painted maritime and racing scenes.
Vincent Van Gogh painted starry nights and irises.

Leonardo painted the Mona Lisa.

Remembering the Rain
24 x 18

I paint jazz.

I’ve turned to my old friends Bayles and Orland, Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, for guidance as I try to understand the quick change from a switch to painting maps back to jazz:

“Most artists keep a well-rehearsed speech close at hand for fielding the familiar request to explain a finished piece. But if asked to describe how it felt during the artmaking – well, that often comes out a bit like Dorothy trying to describe the Land of Oz to Auntie Em.”

All I can say is that it did not feel good trying to paint anything related to the maps.  The jazz paintings have always been a source of joy for me, and the joy was missing.  Jazz is alive in my heart, and maps are inanimate in a way that music is not.  They can be beautiful and helpful, nice enough to frame and hang on the wall or for lovely calendars, but for me, they are not living things.  I’m sure professional cartographers would argue that point.  But this is not about map making. It’s about art.

Music is a living thing for me.  It took a conversation with a jazz guitarist friend to remind me of that and of what it is that I love most.  And what my paintings will continue to be about.

So, I am back to painting the colors of jazz again – happily and confidently, no apologies offered and none needed.

“When things go haywire, your best opening strategy might be to return – very carefully and consciously – to the habits and practices in play the last time you felt good about the work.  Return to the space you drifted away from and (sometimes at least) the work will return as well.”

And it has.  After a long break for the holidays and a general malaise after the show in October and the continuing strange season of the pandemic, I’m back in the studio with the energy of jazz as inspiration.

This is where I’ve lived such a long time, my sweet spot.

“…the art you can make is irrevocably bound to the times and places of your life.  Limited by the very ground on which you stand.”

It’s good to be home…

4 thoughts on “It’s Okay to Change Your Mind

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