Below are early stages of the piece I am presently working on.
You are welcome to come to the studio to see where it's at now, far beyond what you see here.
Very early stage.
The earliest stage was basically just the dark and light blues, laid on with brush and plastic baggie. I then started seeing shapes in the lower right dark area. This space developed in a way that informed me what might be going on in the center of the piece, which is where you see the painting here... with just suggestions of activity throughout.
Next in the progression of early stages.
I have been picking up a bit more form and space by adding highlights and shadows in the central area. My main concern is that I want the center to feel active, a bit foreboding, and not ...
...well, fearful. This painting was inspired by a man who said he couldn't look at blue artwork. I have learned that not everyone can look at all colors. There appears to be multiple reasons why. This intrigues me, so I am now painting into all aspects of blue, from dark to light, trying to reveal the beauty within the shadows and highlights of this color.
As with everything I make, I do not expect a certain outcome, but instead am intrigued by what is revealed one day to the next... and sometimes it is just a torrential argument with the paint. Ironically, these difficult areas often provide the depth my painting craves. Such is life, yes?
I am going to be in an art show soon but I didn't have the art finished by publicity time. The curator grumbled, but I felt uncertain about whether the painting would actually be the one I'd submit in the end, so I didn't rush it.
I then sent the painting to get framed and wondered if I should send the curator the image before I received the art all tidy in its new protective shell. Still I held back.
Today I picked up the framed piece. The framer messed with my painting! He removed paint and left a mark where he did so. I should think this is similar to a graphic artist in a newspaper production department crop editing the copy of an editor's article and leaving in an errant punctuation mark.
There is no way to repair the damage, but luckily the damaged area will be invisible to everyone except for me. Since I do miniatures where a magnifying glass is used for viewing, I'm bummed, though, because one of my art premises is that I don't correct my art: I always march forward without erasing anything. This painting now has a clearly erased spot on the clean white paper.
And now I ponder the irony: with a framer making editorial choices, yes, there actually was a distinct chance that the piece of art could have not ended up in the show. "Scalpel! ...oops...."
I'm uncertain right now what to do. This is when I think that if I could control the world I'd frame my own art. (But if I could control the world I wouldn't be concerned about tiny edits to my art, would I.)
Someone recently described my art as "Leigh is in her own world."
Today a visitor said when she looks at my work she sees the past, the present, and feels like she's traveled to many different countries... all in one piece of art.
We can only perceive through our own experiences. It is not a matter of being right or wrong in the way we looking at art, but rather, a matter of intention. To look into art is to see the world of the artist, and that world is only as big as the world of the viewer. It is the fascinated viewer who can look in at the artist's world and feel his/her own world expand.
A stranger asked me recently if my thinking is similar to my painting "Blue Migration", which he was looking at at the time. I said yes. He nodded. I didn't say more. He didn't ask more. He moved on to view other art. Later I realized that his insight into my thinking is still obscured. This piece of art does not generate a consistent reaction in viewers. Some people say the piece is chaotic. Others feel it is a dream. I've heard fear expressed about it. Most commonly expressed is delight and warm comfort. Some people say maybe they see birds and others find the avian forms plus a lot more. Many people just look and say nothing, keeping their thoughts to themselves.
I look at it and see all kinds of birds doing their thing... plus a few other creatures morphing in and out of existence. That's all.
But the way I interpret it is according to my own psyche just as that visitor had his own interpretation. I don't know how close other people get to my view of the piece. So, jumping out on a branch, I'll say what my interpretive mind sees:
The world is full of movement, variety, evolution at any given moment and this painting shows an awareness of this. Our memories fly in and out, our attention to detail shifts according to the focus of our eyes, and in this modern world we view a lot of life through mechanical lenses that might be symbolized as tunneled vision. Shifting reality is a rich and abundant enclosure that encases us as we fly towards the future. This is what I see in the painting. It is a portrait of how the human mind can grasp so much in an instant. It's a portrait of reality. It's as simple as a snapshot of a bush (if you don't want to put meaning on the birds) and as complex as the human mind (if you do).
I made the trip to Big Sur to visit my dear Pa, and he's as inspiringly comical as ever... even while ill. What a miracle it is that his cognitive remainders are so full of humor at this late stage in the mental game. I'm practicing my humor around the house, hoping to steer my own dotage in that direction.
Meanwhile, I came across three live individuals who might be imagined as the walking figure in "The Journey Man" (for different reasons). And today I read a story about a stone angel that kept appearing in a man's dream... making me smile because there is that stone angel that appeared in this same painting.
Since the characters and forms in my paintings come up out of the paper (I see them emerge as I paint along) I think of them as having both conscious and subconscious attributes, sometimes the compositions being so loosely formed as to be in similar construction as lucid dreams. Of course, I do not paint all of the images I see in the paper. That would be anarchy.
I have been reading William Soroyan. He appears to love humanity and feel bored by humanity all at the same time. Since he wrote before a lot of breakthroughs in scientific psychology it's pretty clear that his boredom came from a lack of stimulus from within. He didn't want to know what other people were saying. He felt comfortable in his own visions, his own inner sounds, his own senses of discovery. To look deeply into other ways of thinking that did not support his own style would do what?... Could this be competitiveness that caused his boredom? It's all very ironic because he was so sure of his deep perceptions of humanity, and in a good humanistically philosophical way, and at the same time such a blind fool. And, of course, he was intelligent enough to admit he might be a fool. There in lies his great voice.
I suppose all artists have to be blind in order to see and be seen. If we allow all of those strong and talented personalities out there to have their limelight within our heads the din would be so loud there wouldn't be any room for our own voices to be heard. So in order to be heard we do have to yell, to put in ear plugs, to fine tune our inner pitch so that we can hear the unique tones, notes, words and songs within the symphony that is our life.
A woman walked into my studio two days ago who spoke as she read one of my tiny paintings. She was singing her own song as she sang along with mine, as she introduced images into the painting that I had never known existed. I walked up close to see what she was seeing, and she was right! Her song was playing right there within my painting. By the end of the viewing we were in full duet. I now have Tibet inside my song of that painting and there is nothing boring about that.
Our relationship with the nonspecific aspect of abstract form continues to unfold as we live with a piece of art.
An example, I put on Leonard Cohen, glanced at "pilgrimage" in the last post, and saw a new form I'd never seen before. Since it is a very large form I am especially intrigued. If art duplicates life, then there are some mighty large issues out there I am not seeing.
Painted after an experience of being bullied. Humans have such a capacity to love that it amazes me when they choose instead to hate. I believe a wire gets broken inside their psyches and they have a difficult time crossing the roaring waterfall of egotistical self hate/doubt in order to reach calm ground. It's very exciting at those falls. The thunder of the pounding water causes our blood to rush and we stop hearing the self doubt. We have all met those falls at sometime in our lives.
I am a visual person who draws and paints about life, viewing the world from a variety of perspectives. Since I have one foot in civilization and one foot in nature, and my head isn't afraid of deep caverns or dizzying heights, I end up in some pretty interesting places. ~ ~ ~
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I have two blogs. Toldileigh.blogspot.com muses about the world through the lens of my art mind. The second blog, Maybeperhapsifyouwill.blogspot.com, is a bunch of nonsense I create by harvesting characters from my artwork and giving them dialogues.
All art/writings in blogs copyright Leigh Toldi unless otherwise specified.