Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Artist Retreats

In 1990 I had a month-long residency at The Vermont Studio Center. This came at a peculiar juncture in my life, about two years sober, and separating from my husband of 22 years. My work was large-scale, fairly confrontational portraiture based on old photos from the 1940s and 1950s. I used oil stick paints which accomplished two things -- heavily layered, painterly surfaces created out of the activity of drawing.

I will admit it: I love a painterly image. I love the texture of oil paint. I love the smell. I also love the way drawing feels. There is something so physical about drawing on a large scale that I love.

Over at Au fil du temps/As Time Goes By", Suzanne had a post about a book, Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn, which addresses the evolution of architecture in New England. After ordering the book, I thought heavily about that month in residency. My work since then has been quite sporadic, but I am suddenly in a place where my need to paint has taken root. It's like I'm awakening from a long hibernation. Painting, and photography, are beginning to rule my life again, and a feeling of anticipation is growing.

What triggers change in you? What are your dreams and what are your compromises?

9 comments:

Yoga Korunta said...

There are many challenges left, Diva Jood. They'll be posted. Don't quit young.

Suzanne said...

I too have an itch to get back into a lot of things I used to do (watercolor, photography, polaroid transfers, and more recently textile arts). But I want these things to be at the center of my life, no on the side, not when everything else has taken the better part of my day, my energy, my creativity. I'm scheming, plotting, etc. to take a sabatical. It would be a huge risk taking move. Because I have built a little business that is going just fine, an established reputation, etc. And after a year or two of sabatical, where I would take a real serious shot at all this, I might have to go back and start from scratch. But somewhere deep inside, I have the feeling, the gut feeling I have to do this. I don't want to die a bitter person who would look back and go : oh, jeez, I should have given it a serious shot, and didn't. Am I just dreaming ? Who can tell. I see so many people wait too long to dive into their dreams, and when they get to that time in their lives, either their health or their finances prevents them from doing any of it. Just rambling here. But it's serious ramblings. LOL

DivaJood said...

Oh, Yoga, too late to quit young! Besides, I've just figured out my digital camera. A whole new world awaits.

Suzanne, I agree that making art is a full time committment. That's one of the struggles I've had since working at a day job full time. Art is the focus of my life, and when I don't actually make any, I become sick at heart. Now the plan is to find some kind of balance, so I can do both -- a job I enjoy and art for art's sake. But I applaud your evolving journey. It feels like you're embarking on somethin amazing.

The Fat Lady Sings said...

I used to draw quite a bit. I plan on re-discovering that particular talent when the world slows down enough to give me time. I mostly write, now; something else that had stood on the backburner till recently. Life can suddenly offer up interesting opportunities for change.

DivaJood said...

TFLS, life does have its share of surprises. On Saturday, I begin a class on Improvisational Comedy. Who knew? It's been a secret dream of mine forever and I never pursued it because I was afraid. But this group performed at one of our industry events, and next thing I knew, I was enrolled in class.

Of course, the Travel business is its own sort of improvisational comedy.

Sigrid Jardin said...

I'd love to see your paintings. I just bought two books by a painter who sounds like she might be your counterpart: Xenia Hausner. her portraits are so confrontational, colorful, and gorgeous. I am captivated by her! Since I'm just taking up painting now, in my retirement, I am fascinated by everything about other artists. There is always time to start fresh, that's for sure!
Oh, and Improv is one of my passions. I've done 2 different solo performances lately, and lots of group stuff. I love it!!

DivaJood said...

Sigrid, my little portrait icon is a detail from a painting I did -- it's oil stick on linen, and the painting itself is quite large, almost six feet high -- three figures, two adults and the baby -- and what I love about the material is that the layering creates both a painterly surface and it sort of bites at other colors.

Helen Wheels said...

I find that boredom is a good motivator for me. I totally jumped ship 6 years ago from the corporate world, where I was making a lot of $$, to become a full-time multimedia artist. I'm poor, but I'm happier. When I get in a rut or bored, I tend to give myself a baptism by fire, so to speak, and put myself in a challenging situation (such as moving to a new city, etc.).

Also, I still think I'm just finding myself. I don't necessarily think this current career will be the end-all. I hope in the future to have more of a scientific aim to what I do, as I am such an animal and plant and nature nut. We'll see! I hope to combine everything I love and do someday. I think I can!

DivaJood said...

Helen Wheels, baptism by fire is an incredible challenge -- did it myself when I moved here from Chicago.

Your goals are certainly attainable. All of our goals are attainable, I believe.