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Friday, November 16, 2007

Shadowlands

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I've had this feeling lately of wandering around like a shadow through life. Do you know what I mean? I go through the motions and do all the things I'm supposed to, even the things I WANT to do, but I'm not sure it's making an impact on me or anyone else. What difference does it make to paint or draw or photograph or write about anything, anyway? It's not like I'm curing brain cancer. Hmm. Where's that perspective I was writing about yesterday?

Here's the thing. I've met a couple of the goals I set at the start of 2007. Here they are, as a reminder...

1. Hang some artwork in a gallery or art space, other than my own home...or the home of my mother.
2. Continue to draw from life, concentrating on the figure.
3. Further refine my "voice". Take stock in the things that inspire me, to which I find myself drawn, and combine them in a way that is distinctly me.
4. Write a coherent and succinct artist statement.

I've been juried into two shows and hung another painting in a member show. I've taken a life drawing class and really made progress rendering the human form in proportion. I wrote a coherent ans succinct artist statement, although I'm not so sure it actually describes my work.

Oh - I've just had an epiphany...it's number 3 on my list - that's the source of my shadowy feelings. The voice thing. Here's what I've noticed about my artwork over the last year. In some ways, I've been coherent - the Contemplation series has been good for that, but I started that over a year ago, and only finished one actually in this calendar year. For me, everything else has been all over the map, and I still haven't found something that moves me enough to delve into it. When I look at the paintings I've completed this year (far fewer than I intended, given how many blank canvases I have piled up in my studio) I realize that so many of them seem forced and stiff. They are colorful and bold, but they are starting to seem garish and a bit ridiculous to me, too.

It's funny. I don't feel that way about the portraits and figures I've drawn this year - the majority of those make me very happy and satisfied with the work. So does the apple I did back in April using the "flemish technique." Maybe the source of my artistic angst is really an impatience with the process of painting, and the realization that those paintings that I walk away from happy and satisfied require the most work from me, both creatively and technically.

I think it's time to begin the goals list for 2008 with a mind toward growth and development rather than just output. Maybe then I'll find my voice and my shadow will step back to where it belongs.