Showing posts with label pandemic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pandemic. Show all posts

November 14, 2020


Since the pandemic I’ve been seeing a therapist. I’m not completely sure how these things connect, but, something about the extra uncertainty of the future, mixed in with the extra delving into my past, has got me listening to a lot of music I grew up with, like The Go-Go’s, and Cyndi Lauper. I just submitted a grant application and titled the proposed exhibition True Colors. I’ve now decided to do a whole series of new works based around the titles of the songs:

Girls Just Want To Have Fun

She Bop

Time After Time

I Drove All Night

All Through The Night

True Colors

I thought Cyndi Lauper was like a prime example of eighties cheesy pop, but now that I listen again, I don’t think there’s anything cheesy about her music at all. Some of the lyrics are quite beautiful actually. 

I’ve been uncertain about my work lately, and am having a hard time figuring out what I want, and why I’m making the things I’m making. The pandemic is still a driving concern. I live alone in a live-work space, so essentially I’m living in my studio. I’m unemployed until further notice, and both the exhibition and residency I was supposed to have are also postponed until further notice. 

So, that is to say, ..… nobody’s watching, I can do whatever I like!

However, that is proving way more difficult than it might seem.

I already wrote about all the stripes I’ve been drawing to curb my anxiety, but I want to take it even further. I’ve been disgruntled about certain shows I didn’t get into, and have been spending way too much time on social media comparing myself to every single artist out there. I want to be able to focus on making work that pleases me, without so much concern for fitting into someone else’s theme or category. Who am I making the work for after all?

detail of 3 drawings:
My Neighbor's Blinds, art marker on paper, each 11x14"

I just got feedback from a 2018 grant proposal I submitted, and the comments were totally split in half. Four of the eight judges thought the work was evocative, and four of the eight judges thought it didn't have enough depth.

I feel stuck in the middle of, not deep enough and not superficial enough. I’m neither overtly controversial nor overtly commercial. Why does that feel like a problem? I used to think that not being easily defined was a good thing in art.

Anyway, back to Cyndi Lauper. True Colors seems the most appropriate title for an artist trying to be true to herself. And that’s all I can possibly do at the moment. 

Well, besides get off of freakin’ Instagram.

October 23, 2020


Prismacolor markers on Tyvek, 24 x 24"
Everything counts. And everything's connected.

It's almost exactly a year ago that I started making these striped drawings. I was having a lot of anxiety at the time, and the only thing I could think of to calm my nerves was to color long straight vertical lines over and over. 

So much has happened in one year. I have gone back and forth, repeatedly, working on the stripes, then putting them away, working on more stripes, then putting them away, in different mediums, materials, and sizes. All along, I struggled to see their relevance within the context of my painting practice. I knew they were worthwhile to make, but I didn't know what to do with them. 

Four 5 x 7" drawings, prismacolor markers on card stock, the backs of old gallery postcards

As you can imagine, with the pandemic and quarantine, the need for anxiety reducing activity became paramount, and the stripes suddenly were brought to the forefront of my studio practice. Working on these scraps (literally, since some of the drawings are on scraps of cardboard, and the knitted pieces are mostly made with leftover scraps of yarn), has been a great source of reassurance and consistency for me. And, as with most things, the more you do, the more you discover. The work has grown in scope and importance. The stripes seem to have taken on a life of their own, infiltrating even the large paintings now.

detail of knitted piece

I still don't know exactly how it all fits together, but my color choices, and the energy behind them, the organic nature of so much of it, which includes the imperfections of the handmade and hand drawn object, all of that speaks to what interests me in my work. I can't say I'm pleased with the 'extra bout of anxiety' that first led me to the stripes, but I'm pleased I made something out of it, and that I keep making, in spite of not knowing why or where it's going.

I keep reminding myself, everything counts, and everything's connected. 

Grasping, prismacolor markers on fluorescent cardstock, with collaged elements

See more drawings on my website.

October 3, 2020

Lean Into It

I spent the full day yesterday taking pictures of new work and updating my website. Check it here:

This pandemic has me feeling frayed and unfocused. I've started five different projects in the past six months, adding quite a bit to the growing pile of bits and pieces on my studio floor. Yes I've been working, but I've also been pacing, biding my time, and letting the dirty dishes pile up. 

I'm a visual person. I need to see things in front of my face. So getting all these pieces photographed and uploaded and organized seriously feels like a little miracle! I even came up with titles for the new work, most of it at least, which is often a daunting task. 

Lean Into It is one of those titles. I thought of it for this painting below, because I see it as images literally leaning on and into one another. But I didn't want that to be obvious, so I saved the title for a different piece. 

I had a vague notion of what made me think of the expression to begin with, but when I looked up the meaning, I was so pleasantly surprised and thrilled. It perfectly describes this entire body of work, and my state of mind during this strange time, and I chalk that up to the power of serendipity and the subconscious.

Fake It Till You Make It,
the inevitable final title of this piece: oil, oil stick, and oil pastel on canvas, 64x58 inches

Lean into it-

To embrace; to experience fully or respond to wholeheartedly. To take on or embrace something difficult or unpleasant, usually through determination or perseverance; to find a way to benefit from, or alleviate the harm of, risk, uncertainty and difficult situations.  

Cheers to leaning into it! Hopefully we'll all be able to clink our glasses together, in person, real soon...