Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Holding Tight and Letting Go

I'm home for just a few days before I head to Raleigh, North Carolina, Traverse City, Michigan and finally Portland, Maine. Regrouping, repacking and rethinking a few details in preparation for my upcoming workshops. Laundry is high on the agenda and so is catching up with friends, dancing and sitting in the sun when I can get it.

It's an opportunity to make some adjustments to what I've planned for my students. It's an opportunity to pause before I enter into an intensive stretch of teaching for about four weeks straight. Having had just a few days at home, I've needed to stay connected with what is ahead of me while relishing the delights of Portland and home. I've a need to go deeper into both spaces.

There is a connect here to painting as for me it's just these kinds of push and pulls that makes the act of painting fascinating and also makes a work of art great. The melding of nuance and aggressive strong strokes, woven together like a dance. Managing the contrasts.

Painting is also setting an intention and then putting the full force of your skills to bear on that intention and then completely letting go of that intention. Ha, ha!! My fellow artist and blogger Loriann Signori posted a quote by Wolf Kahn yesterday and I think it's on spot:

"Aiming is wrong. If you know ahead of time what you are doing it won't be good. You need to surprise yourself. "
He went on to share a story about a pitcher from the Astros baseball team who had bought a painting of his. "We got to talking and he had questions about my painting process. He said it was just like his process. He said that he trains, but can't plan his game ahead of time. He can't aim too much or the batter will know what he is going to do. He just has to have a general idea about where he wants the ball to go. Then he uses his full strength and lets go." 

"Of Pure Intent" Mixed media on canvas SOLD
Painting is letting go. If you plan it, then over-think it, it will be contrived. If you don't plan it at all and don't have a foundation it will be a mess!