Dark Days of Winter are for Deep Progress

I am a thinking being.  When not making art, I spend my time thinking.  As opposed to doing.  Which can be problematic at times. But when one thinks a lot, one tends to want to share their thoughts with others, which is maybe why we have writers. It seems I use this blog as a way to organize my thoughts and also share them.  We all need connection with the outside world. For one who tends to stay "inside" a lot, writing is a way to connect to those who may share some of the same thoughts or at least appreciate them.
 
Winter is a time for introspection-- for going even further inside my desires for making art, and where my art should go, what I want to do, to say, to express.  Art for me is both an intellectual and emotional/expressive act.  If it were purely expressive or emotional, then it would not matter what it looked like. The entire point would be transference of feelings or energy to a surface. I can visualize what my art would look like, if that were the case. Picture the work of abstract expressionists like Joan Mitchell and Helen Frankenthaler. Artwork that I love. Maybe I should just let it go, and do art like that.  But I'm too intellectual. I'm living in my brain too much.  So I want more.  I want both.

 

There is an effect  I want to achieve with color, mainly, which is the effect of light shining on surfaces, and involves the science of color. Problem is, this requires careful mixing of colors according to their relative characteristics of hue, saturation, temperature, and value.  I'm trying to achieve visually tantalizing interactions of color, but at the same time, have the need to express myself kinetically. This involves getting lost in brush strokes, attacks on the canvas, and the like...in effect, getting carried away. The two are difficult to marry.

Acrylic paints and utensils...as I left them.

Acrylic paints and utensils...as I left them.

 "Lady Bug" by Joan Mitchell, 1957  

 "Lady Bug" by Joan Mitchell, 1957
 

Acrylic paints and utensils....as I left them.

Acrylic paints and utensils....as I left them.

I'll approach a painting with at least a vague idea, but sometimes a more concrete one, such as an inspirational photograph I've taken.  I'll have certain colors that seem good to start with, an idea of what I want to achieve.  But from there it often takes turns to the unknown and unplanned.  This is a good thing. Trick is, ending up in a place acceptable to the taskmaster.  And I am very hard to please.  When the physical, expressive act obliterates the intellectual aim, the painting is ruined. Sometimes it is ruined again and again, after being rescued over and over. 
 

But  there is a third element that makes the process even more complicated. You--The Audience. An artist needs an audience because art is communication as well as expression.  (Well, when we express we communicate, so there you have it.)  In order to communicate, people need to receive what you create.  So there is an interaction when paintings are exposed to the world. You hope to get feed back...positive, negative, or just "not interested". As a still-emerging artist, I've experimented with different styles and methods of painting.  Here is what has happened: The more representational paintings are more popular.  But I want to do more abstract paintings. So, despite that it's obvious artists need to do what inspires themselves the most, it's a pull that influences me.  At times I spin my wheels, not fully committed to this path or that path, no matter what path I am on.

Time is short-- there's lots to do, lots to accomplish.  Projects are waiting to get started. For the next several months, I'll be diving deeper into what exactly I want to create.  You can expect, no matter what, expressive, colorful paintings inspired by nature.  I plan to explore one path, then explore another.  I hope some of what I create impacts you.  Art is a gift to the world--can I make you feel the joy of the landscape, can I make you feel the love, this spectacle that is our awesome world?  If I did, it was a good gift.

I hope you have a fruitful end of 2016, experience lots of joy with your loved ones, and come out the other side of this dark, introspective season into a spring full of possibilities, light, and love!

Sally Veach