Finding New Words

It’s been a while since I wrote about my work, about my life, about my thoughts. It’s been a while, probably too long. When I had to talk about my work and write about my work in school, these words came easier, and it seemed like I had more to say. It’s funny how that works; the more you talk, the more you have to say.

Maybe I'm just figuring it out? Maybe the past couple of years out of school have been a transitional time, a time where I get to keep making, not really knowing what direction it’s headed, but knowing that I can’t stop or else I won’t be able to start again. It’s the necessity of creating, rather than the need for the finished product. I can’t lose that side of my work! I have been so focused on selling and the post-production aspect of my practice, that it is easy to lose sight of the making itself.

One of my former professor would give us the same challenge with each new semester: make something you have never done before and never seen before. Every time she introduced the assignment, it was usually met with protest and anger. How is that even possible? How are we supposed to do that? But I’m a landscape/portrait/abstract painter! I can’t do something else but that, right?

What I learned to love about this assignment was that it forced me to face my creative fear head-on. I had to face the unknown and make it known. The pieces that I made from this assignment usually did not carry through in theme in the following paintings I made that semester. I specifically remember a time when I made an abstract painting from images off my phone that I’d layered and manipulated. It certainly wasn’t a landscape painting. However, I learned how to layer, to bring parts of the painting forward, to send parts of it back. I learned that I don’t have to work thickly, and I stopped using the palette knife as a primary tool for globbing paint on the surface of the canvas. I could work in thin delicate layers, using unexpected colors on the first layers, so that they would have an impact from underneath once I layered more paint on. The second painting I made from that semester was the first of my landscape paintings. It was the painting where I decided that, yes, I am a landscape painter! That painting currently hangs in my living room, and will never be for sale. It was the cornerstone piece to my artistic practice for the remainder of my college years, and has carried me through my artistic practice today. 

This assignment helped me find new words to my visual language, and reminds me to always be curious about what I can do each time I pick up my paintbrush.