Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..
Its a very quiet and lazy Sunday afternoon here at the Keo ranch located on the coast of North Carolina. I’ve been getting back into painting since retiring 3 months ago, and even though I’ve been traveling a lot I still made 3 new mixed media paintings since leaving my teaching job. I’m working on a series of mixed media paintings I started a few years back where I synthesize (fuse) religious iconography, photographs, journal excerpts and acrylic paint together on canvas.
I don’t know where this series is taking me – it seems to have developed a life of its own. I’ve learned early on that the act of making art (whatever that art may be) is a journey into the unknown (subconscious) and you have to trust your intuition and let it guide you through the process both technically and conceptually.
For me, making photographs, writing and/or painting is a very personal and cathartic (therapeutic) experience and I’m well aware that most of the art I create is autobiographical and taps into my dreams, fears, hopes, concerns, and deeply held beliefs. My creative journey’s taught me that the act (process) of making art has many levels to it.
There is of course the technical level which can be mastered through training and practice – and then you have many conceptual, emotional and intellectual layers over and above the technical with any artistic medium. These layers can be very elusive and sometimes deceiving and take you places you’d never thought you would explore with your art.
You have to trust in the process and not be afraid to let your art explore ideas, concepts, emotions and feelings you may not have initially thought you would address when initially picking up your brushes. I think it is just a matter of truly “letting go” and let the art take you where it needs to go. I usually begin a mixed media painting with a tiny sliver of an idea (concept) of what I want to do and what I want to say. Then a month later it’s evolved into something very different visually and communicating things I never thought of when I began making the picture.
So that’s where I am with my painting. Just getting back into it…enjoying getting paint on my hands and trying to trust in the process and not edit or censor myself. That can be a scarey thing about art. I am first and foremost a photographer, however painting fills a different void for me – it is much more of a challenge and forces me to face my demons – it forces me to look into the mirror – it forces me to be honest with myself. The beauty of art in my opinion is that it always seems to raise more questions than give me answers.