My painting studio and my writing room are not the same. I paint in the small shed/studio set off to the side of the house behind the carport and the large workshop.
I’ve been putting this new place together since December, including new lights, and the numbers above are the specifications for the overhead lights. Painting is not just about paint.
I write at my computer in the extra bedroom of the house, a room that serves many purposes: entertainment center, workout gym, storage space and, of course, writing nook.
Both spaces are for thinking, often overlapping when it comes to solving problems. As both a writer and an artist, my life is everlastingly linked and divided and linked again with things to consider. We put our lives into compartments for the purpose of discussion only, but the truth is everything is part of everything else.
For the last several weeks, sensing quite clearly that The Colors of Jazz collection was complete, I have been puzzling over the new collection. I came up with more than one possibility and thought I had it nailed, but those possibilities turned out to be wrong. I know I’m wrong when I begin to paint, and something just shuts down. I could soldier through it and tell myself it will all come right, but why would I lie to myself about such an important matter?
The jazz collection came easily, and I knew immediately it was right. I knew just as well that shifting to a different musical genre now was wrong. Jazz appealed for a particular reason that matched my painting style. How and what would I paint to reflect folk or country or classical or pop or rock? Nothing at all came to mind even though I enjoy every kind of music.
No, I thought. Jazz will continue to be my personal soundtrack. Wrong again. For whatever reason, the music of the late 60s and early 70s called to me, the Vietnam years, my history. As I worked I found myself drawn to that other soundtrack.
Making important choices about our creative work is a matter of trusting ourselves with our one wild and precious life.
Along with starting a new collection, I knew I wanted to change the palette, and I had already stocked up on some of the colors for that. I also considered a return in some large or small way to my collages, but again, I was not quite in that space. While I considered it, though, I visited a used bookstore – my go-to source for collage material – and picked up several possible picture books as well as a collection of old magazines.
Children and artists need a lot of supplies for creative pursuits…and we are all children at heart. We need to be able to play and experiment. “Trial and Error” are words meant for the creative life.
In the end, I found a subject for the new collection. I was not inspired by a picture or a color or a song but a line of text. My writer’s heart beat in time with my artist’s heart at this knowledge, knowledge that sent me in the new direction. Not a line from poetry but a line from an ordinary magazine article about something completely unrelated to art. Still, the line speaks to me and offers both direction and a lot of leeway for improvisation…I could not ask for more.
For an artist, these intangibles must be discovered, and the discovery comes from inside ourselves. Both of the art books I so frequently consult speak to this, even though one was published in 1923 and the other in 1993. Do we need any more evidence of the universality of art?
From 1923, The Art Spirit, Robert Henri:
“The technique of painting is very difficult, very interesting. There is no end to the study of technique…In fact, technique can only be used properly by those who have definite purpose in what they do, and it is only they who invent technique. Otherwise, it is the work of parrots.”
From 1993, Art & Fear, David Bayles and Ted Orland
“The burden for the artist, as Anne Truitt observes in her Daybook, is that ‘The lawyer and the doctor practice their callings. The plumber and the carpenter know what they will be called upon to do. They do not have to spin the work out of themselves, discover its laws, and then present themselves turned inside out to the public gaze.’ “
It is this process of spinning our work from the inside out, of being required to come up with the ideas and then to put those ideas into practice that is the work of all creative people including painters. No one is there telling us what to put where, which colors to choose, how much paint to apply. And for abstract artists, this goes double.
If there were somebody or something telling us all those things, our work would truly be done by parrots. Or as Bayles and Orland say regarding technical excellence, “The underlying problem with this is not that the pursuit of technical excellence is wrong, exactly, but simply that making it the primary goal puts the cart before the horse. We do not long remember those artists who followed the rules more diligently than anyone else. We remember those who made the art from which the ‘rules’ inevitably follow.”
So onward with the next collection, “It cannot hurt to see everything there is to see…” A new day has begun…And it will be lighted at 5000K, 85-100 CRI.
4 thoughts on “5000K, 85-100 CRI”
I’m not sure how it happened, but I was working and had my phone set to some music and there was James Taylor and a lot came rushing back. Inspiration comes on its own terms and schedule! Thanks for the note!
Molly, while I would always enjoy seeing you continue to focus on Jazz, I know that your “thinking from the inside out” will bring to life the music of an era which means a lot to both of us – and were those great years!!
We are part of the Sisterhood of Creative Women!
Molly, you are such an inspiration. Keep going girl.