Tuesday, July 28, 2009

First in-studio meeting with my mentor, Page Coleman

Last Friday Page came to my house (my studio).

The main thing she notice was that the paintings are screaming for more: more depth, more layering AND more simplifying. She suggested that I think about making marks look far away and closer (smaller to larger?). To think about warm and cool. Could I enhance the dimensional qualities of the brushstrokes (Brice Marden, Richard Hogan, Raymond Jonson). Even the dry brush (think how Lichtenstein actually painted the brushstroke).

She suggested that I might think about how some of the strokes occupy space and whether there could be casting of shadows. Is there a light source? Could you play with distorting the light source.

Color came up. She suggested using my color wheel. Trying out admix colors (maybe start with phthalo blue, red napthol, yellow cad medium -- I'm thinking about the Golden website exercises, which I haven't done yet). How about starting dark to light, using an admix black or gray as the underpainting? How about black and white?

I have got to force myself to keep going back in. Really push myself and not be afraid to mess things up. [She also suggested I relax a little; I've got a bit of performance anxiety (my words)].

Page asked me why I am painting. Could I see myself doing something else? This is a complicated and loaded question for me. For some reason, and I haven't figured out the personal source, it's been ingrained in me that being a painter is not a legitimate occupation. Perhaps for other people, but not for me. My answer was that no, I cannot see myself doing anything else, except perhaps also writing. And teaching. I see myself as a painter who also teaches and writes.

So, from there we talked about my "job". And whether I could cut back my hours. She is concerned that in juggling so much and having so little time to actually paint, let alone read, research, and go look at art, that I am cutting myself short. That the two years will go by quickly, and I might not be positioned where I want to be to take the next step. She also expressed concern if I keep up this schedule that I might get sick and the whole thing will fall apart.

But, the money...for my daughter, for school, for travel, for supplies...

Dave said something on Sunday that I've been chewing on. He said that when he chose to be a chiropractor, he didn't say he'd try it out and if it didn't work, he'd be an electrician. That if you are a doctor, you're not a doctor because of your training. The core of who you are is oriented toward healing, diagnostics, everything that is a "doctor". You gain knowledge and training and skills in school -- but it's not the training that compels you.

Page and I are meeting again on Friday, Sept. 11. My goal is to have a minimum of 4 paintings to show her, including more work on both of the paintings are started last month. [oh, and no titanium white].


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  2. I struggle with the work/school issue all the time. I find that it is really hard to find balance, but for me I finally made a visual chart(google calendar) of what my week looks like. I established a routine and map my time. I am very visual so it helps. I also had to make school a priority and the kids have to understand that. I feel that they are also learning a valuable lesson in life by watching/experiencing a parent doing this. In the long run it is ONLY two years and they do go by fast.

    For myself, I know that I want to get the most out of my time and money invested and what I get out of it is up to me. So, GO FOR IT!! It will all be fine and you will be glad you did. We'll chat soon!