Lately I’ve been cognitively challenged in respect to painting. I am turning 67 in August so I am wondering if my mind is more confused now. However, artists should always be welcoming the ups and downs in their creative process if they want to be good.
I decided to challenge my challenge by enrolling in a painting class at Lehman College in the Bronx. Now I’m out of my comfort zone and doing a reset as a beginner. My theory is when I’m stuck revert back to being a beginner. Now every Thursday morning I take the crowded BX10 bus and show up at 9:30 am even when my mind says “I don’t wanna”. Even when there isn’t an inspirational thought in my head. I get to the studio and work on a painting project that is dictated by the professor. This gets me out of doing it my way. Humility. Now I stare at a blank canvas with a blank mind. God what can I paint??? I have to paint my first self portrait. Ugh. Just do it Jean. Whatever comes out comes out. So here is my first self portrait in acrylic.
So again I have been in a creative block. I was reminded of the quote by artist Chuck Close regarding artistic inspiration.
“AMATEURS LOOK FOR INSPIRATION, THE REST OF US JUST GET UP AND GO TO WORK “
Can’t argue with that!!! So I called upon my formula for breaking paralysis… START WITH A DOODLE!
I have a wonderful portable watercolor kit created to take anywhere. A pouch filled with portable brushes and an assortment of wonderful pots of special paints. An inexpensive set of watercolors. Tiny tubes of gouache. Paper towels. And a 9″ x 12″ pad of cold pressed watercolor paper. Easy travel and easy clean up.
Here is the doodle and I really got into working and playing the colors and the liquid flow of the medium. And from the doodle two exciting and free expressive paintings.
In the past few weeks my painting has morphed into an abstract landscape that is a new style from my impressionist one.
The truth is that in the last 4 months I’ve been withdrawing from a very powerful antidepressant after being on it for 16 years. Last year I realized how it was making me worse and I am not depressed anymore. So powerful is this drug that my brain has zapping which feels like electrical shocks are piercing the cells. I’m dizzy, have brain fog and my legs cramped so badly I couldn’t walk for 3 weeks. But now the real me is emerging. I can finally feel myself coming out.
So I actually did this painting in withdrawal. And I also did the previous painting in withdrawal. And the experience was a struggle to focus my vision (blurred vision was a part of withdrawal). But here it is. I believe the real me is finally emerging.
THIS IS THE FINISHED PAINTING!!!
My emergence into art.
1954 – I’m 3 years old – lying in bed
Fever rising pencil in my hand staring at the blank white night table
In a semiconscious slo-mo movement of hand/pencil reaching to the target night table
My hazy inspired moment- A SCRIBBLE!! WOW!!
More visions follow – circles, flowers, suns, moons and stars
People- cats and dogs
Each stroke is more and more exciting
101 fever – oh look the night table is growing bigger more to do…YES
My world created…so special…so mine
I have discovered my life long friend the pencil but need new white dresser
Eyes heavy now must sleep
Next morning on the dresser covered in my imagination there’s paper and crayons
I have been blessed to live in a very special area of the Bronx. It’s two years of an amazing community that grows around me every day. I lost my home in 2014 and lost my job. I was broke with no idea how I would find an apartment in NYC. But here I am living in a fairy land Riverdale. An artist dream on the Hudson River.
I am exploring Riverdale history. I found a pond called Indian Pond on Indian Road. Filled with large turtles. The history of this pond is in the 19th century it actually was an Indian Settlement granted to them by the government. The Indian group used to perform shows on the pond for the people who had homes there. A big crowd would attend and watch as Hiawatha was performed. Other acting groups would perform shows as well. The Indian Settlement was moved further up North in the early 20th century. No surprise there.
Here’s Indian Pond today.