I’ve spent some days in the studio, painting. And just today, I gathered hardware supplies to learn the process of constructing my own stretcher bars for these unique sized canvases I want to paint on (34″ x 44″), basically four times the size of a standard piece of paper.
Painting really is this solitary thing. Previously I’ve been able to make progress on conceptually based work whether or not activity is swirling around me. This time, as I’ve really tried to let the paint lead me somewhere, I can’t handle intrusions, even the self-made ones. And when I’m painting, the conceptual aspect of this project goes into hiding.
The more I work the surface of the paintings, the more I lose what I’m doing. It’s this engrossing experience, but one that can feel rather shallow, too. Because, is something of substance really happening in these small 2-dimensional fields of 8″ x 10″ color? It’s hard to believe. I don’t trust myself. Even if something is happening there for me, what really carries over once someone else is looking at it? It seems so trivial because right now I know it won’t carry over. Not yet. So, even though I’m enjoying what I’m doing, it’s hard to picture myself just hanging paintings in a space at the end of this project and leaving it at that. I enjoy those spaces just fine; I love to lose myself in other people’s work, but it’s hard to believe that I will really be using all the language of art that I speak if I limit myself to hanging pieces on a wall.
Why am I doing this? I just want to sell work, or what? I just want to show work? I just want someone to see my work, hear me, pay attention, be relevant, have permanence, something to show for myself, after those years of doing those things that I didn’t document? That no one
cares knows about? All those things… By saying this out loud writing this here am I admitting something I should pretend has nothing to do with this creative process? Should I claim some higher purity?
I want to work. I want a reason to make what I love, and love what I make. I need to spend some time staring into a wall. Or at the sky.