Prepare For The Jump [on DR Thursday]

On the upside, an in-studio-waterfall, after the shop-vac-a-go-go, the sodden-carpet-padding-removal, the baking-soda-ballet, amidst the-we-are-still-hunting-for-the-proper-gasket-to-stop-all-leaks-quest, an opportunity arises. It’s been awhile since I sat with my life’s work. It’s been awhile since I made time to stare at my paintings, each and every single one.

I confess that this year has been rife with artistic mourning. I have barely picked up a brush. I have sat in my studio like a visitor at a wake. I feel the emptiness as a loss and have asked myself the fear-question again and again, “Where did it go?”

One of my favorite books is Art & Fear. Recently, I flipped it open and read, “Your reach as a viewer is vastly greater than your reach as a maker. The art you experience may have originated a thousand miles away or a thousand years ago, but 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.”

A second flip brought me to this passage about change: “Yet it’s demonstrably true that all of us do (from time to time) experience such conceptual jumps, and while ours may not affect the orbits of the planets, they markedly affect the way we engage with the world around us.”

The times of our life. The world, for us, stopped when Kerri broke her wrists. She was in casts when the pandemic washed over all of us. Our jobs disappeared. Our community fragmented. Our city burned with civil unrest, a young militia-boy murdered two people a few blocks from our home. My father took rapid steps toward the abyss. Kerri took a second fall, tore ligaments in an already injured wrist. Our BabyCat left us. We talk about 2019 as if it was decades ago. “Doesn’t it seem like years since we…”

I know this death I feel will find its springtime. There was a “me” before this time. There will be another “me” after. Sitting on the stairs, looking at my paintings, I know for the first time in a-year-that-feels-like-a-century, that a conceptual jump is bubbling. I remember the man who painted these paintings. I look forward to meeting the man who will one day pick up his brushes and dance with the muse again.

In the meantime, I sit with my paintings. I stand in the ground of my times. I will find the right gasket so water no longer rains into my studio. I will prepare for my jump by putting all of my pieces back together again.

read Kerri’s blog post about THE WATER STUDIO REVIEW

5 Responses

  1. Don’t burn them this time! Let them live within someone’s space and psyche.

    Miss you —L, BK

  2. Ah, DR…”Art and Fear”…one of my favorite books as well. Now that you’ve mentioned it in relation to your current adventure I think I’ll go back and re-read it.

    For years I’ve kept a copy of the closing paragraph in my shop and at my desk:

    “In the end it all comes down to this: you have choice (or more accurately a rolling tangle of choices) between giving your work your best shot and risking that it will not make you happy, or not giving it your best shot–and thereby guaranteeing that it will not make you happy. It becomes a choice between certainty and uncertainty. And curiously, uncertainty is the comforting choice.”*

    See also: Nothing ventured, nothing gained?….and No. 5, below.

    Tacked right below that is “My 10 Adopted Rules of Thumb” from sculptor Wendall Castle:

    “1. If you are in love with an idea you are no judge of its beauty or value.

    2. It is difficult to see the whole picture when you are inside the frame.

    3. After learning the tricks of the trade, don’t think you know the trade.

    4. We hear and apprehend what we already know.

    5. The dog that stays on the porch will find no bones.

    6. Never state a problem to yourself in the same terms it was brought to you.

    7. If its offbeat or surprising it’s probably useful.

    8. If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it.

    9. Don’t get too serious.

    10. If you hit the bulls-eye every time the target is too near.”

    *This is also a fine antidote for what I’ve heard called in the building trades “paralysis by analysis.”

    • Kerri just said, “He is so wise!” I thought I’d share that just because I know it will make you blush and shudder. This afternoon I’m setting up my drafting table for a new project and both of these quotes are going on the wall in big font and bold type. Good timing, as usual. So, in cap: Wise & good timing. I think you deserve a break!

      • Here’s a link to one of my favorite Wendell Castle pieces…”Ghost Clock” (https://americanart.si.edu/artwork/ghost-clock-31977). Once when I was in Washington, DC it was in a show at the Renwick Gallery. I waited until all the guards were distracted, stepped over the ropes and had a close look at the “fabric” parts. Convincing right down to the very finest details of the weave. I can hardly imagine the patience it took to complete it.

        If I have any wisdom it comes from my readings and from associating with even wiser souls…of course!

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