Where I left off

24_Nov_13-72
14 x 20 inches
Not quite finished… The color is off as you can see by grey areas of white background. Too big to scan. Too late to photograph properly outside. Why do I feel compelled to discuss the technicalities of image? You get the idea!

On my to-do list today was “set up studio.”

After a revelation last night while really seeing a Raoul Dufy painting I was walking by several times a day, and unpacking my big watercolor palette early this afternoon, my personal floodgate opened.

I have been driven to make marks but, for the most part, so dissatisfied with recent results and, no wonder. I’ve had no forethought, no order, no sense of context or continuity.

A little over 17 months ago, I sold and packed up my studio. Until today, I’ve had no creative work space. In the meantime, I’ve made a few paintings, one big drawing and otherwise, demos for workshop students. Over the last 23 days, I’ve climbed the ladder and walked the plank. God, it feels good to dive back in again.

I must add that, after a lifetime of creating one thing or another, my experience has taught me that time away from any particular form of expression or use of a particular medium is always deeply instructive. Rest periods allow for deep integration and reflection and time to break out of ruts and old habits.

We’re in a culture that encourages relentless production and marketable branding. Allowing authentic new expression to arise often requires that we step away from the herd and conventional dictates, taking time out to center and listen to our inner voice. It’s rarely a conscious thing. I’m referring to the deep, to the subconscious, to the place where archetypes dwell.

The big moment for me was when I unwound the bubble wrap from my big porcelain palette and discovered the paint I’d decided to leave from my last work. Oh, my god. I almost couldn’t wait to grab the water glasses, brushes and put some music on.

I set the easel right against the glass door, put on some Fado music and, with the sun shining straight into my eyes, picked up my Rosemary & Company brush and started right in.

I am so deeply grateful to be back to work.

Here are a few photos of my new studio.

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4 thoughts on “Where I left off

  1. Heidi K

    Great painting! Curious about what size brush(es) you used for the 14×20″ page. Your new studio looks super; lots of light and I love french doors. I also like that big palette you’re using; there’s lots of space to mix!

    Your day outside looks lovely. We’re getting a bit of sun too this weekend, which is gorgeous for this time of year. We get fun contrasts here by Seattle; wet winters with chillly sunbreaks mostly, or just cloudy, or even better, very misty or foggy – quite mysterious especially when it hangs around for hours of the day. I like having four seasons. Thanks again for the watercolour with its nature focus!

  2. Zanna

    Nice bright space. It makes me feel calm looking at it. Not a lot of clutter. Nice and sparse which for me seems soothing. Enjoy your new
    studio and your enthusiasm. I like the painting. Will you post it when you’re done? I ordered some paint from Daniel Smith. Can’t wait to try it!

  3. Margaret W

    This painting makes me want to keep looking at it. I am not sure what you meant by “grey areas of white background” but the background appears to be a light blue-ish gray to me. Lovely! Was this a “wet-on-wet” painting? Did you sketch first or just paint?

  4. suzannemcdermott Post author

    Aloha, all. As i just wrote on this week’s (next week’s) post, I’m not reverse engineering my new paintings. I really need to just do them and let them evolve without going back over them trying to explain what transpired in public. 🙂

    To paraphrase Pablo Neruda’s character in Il Postino, when the postman asks how he wrote a poem or what a particular passage means, Neruda replies something to the effect that if he could explain it in conversation, he wouldn’t have written the poem. If you catch my (his) drift.

    This blog is for my own discipline and development. It’s not really a teaching service except as by setting an example for daily practice. That being said, I am including the materials used, at least for now, in case that helps!

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