Thursday, December 16, 2010

Inside the Box

I love it when a drawing circles through, back into relevance again. This drawing has been seen here before and most likely will be seen again.

One of the luxuries of aging into the second half-century of life is letting go of those early external judgmental voices that caused thousands of embarrassments for my young self-judgmental self. I have culled the noise down to a musical melody that makes sense to me and no longer give a damn about the rest of it. Because of this my art is much more pointedly honest. It can also be extremely off-putting, even to myself. The rewards in creating this work is immense.

Long ago I knew I would never be a Rembrandt. I don't like to paint from real life, never have, even though I knew I could teach myself to do so. I have a painting of an old cardboard box around here somewhere that I did in Thiebaud's painting class eons ago... The project was to paint a simple empty cardboard box in a way that made the box come alive. The painting was a complete success: mine sings with cardboard box joy and glory.

Nevertheless, it didn't satisfy me. I felt I wanted to work at creating art about what isn't seen, but is always felt: the inside of humanity, not the outside. In cardboard box language I guess I wanted to let go of the physical box and concentrate more on the joy & glory within, and maybe add the other part of empty boxness: weariness, pathos, and perhaps a bit of angst.

My next thirty years on this path have taken me on a marvelous ride of observation about what it means to be alive, from the inside. Much of my artwork has been an exercise in failure when viewed from the judgmental mind that I was schooled to trust 30 years ago.

But there is another judgmental mind in me that is jumping up and down with glee. Good going, girl! You jumped into that empty box and have found more treasure in there than anyone could ever hope to behold in ten lifetimes.

Clearly, embarrassment is a big part of what I found in that box, but, if you click on the drawing, you'll see there's ample humor rattling around there, too, right alongside the warts.

Oh, yes, Rembrandt. He also pointed a flashlight on the soul, didn't he. Hmmm........ ha ha!