Thursday, January 31, 2013

Inspiration for New Artwork 2013

I'm finishing two projects and getting geared up for this year's oils and editing my next book.  It'll be nice to get into a rhythm of art in the morning light and writing after taking Coco for a walk.  I'm excited about this book too.  Its an art book.  I'm enjoying it because it is a creatively written piece too.  Some writings are essays, poems, a few words, prose and then there's the art work.  I'm going to try to get two or three color pieces on each page.  The book won't be massively long and the color images of the work won't be huge but they'll be a good size.  The idea is to make it as affordable as I can.  Because even though it is about my art work and how it evolved it is just as much about how I found my way back to art after the brain injury. 

I remember when I was still going through rehab and some one asked me if I wanted to be known as an artist or a disabled artist with a Traumatic Brain Injury.   And the question confused me.  Because I had been an artist for a very long time before the accident.  And while my work changed in some ways after the accident, the body of work I had created before the accident was done with the same level of commitment I always had.  Developing some skills and staying true to this free expression thing that I dig so much has always been a part of me.  With or without a brain injury.  And I got to thinking, I am what I am.  An artist and I have a brain injury.  Its no big deal.  It just is what it is.  But how art work helped me get my life back, that may be helpful for some people to know, so there's that too.

When the book is all done and dusted it will be filled with writings about what life has been like and how it managed to find its way into my work.  Other people can think what they want.... but this will be in my own words. 

Usually, something inspires the artwork I'm going to do.  It may be events going on in society or things that took play in history or things that are happening with people I love.  And always, no matter what the subject matter, a trail of what is going on in my heart becomes a part of the medium that disappears in the layers of pigment. 

I'm thinking this is the last year I'm going to paint with oils.  I may change my mind on that.  I thought Unchartered Waters was going to be my last oil.  Its a huge piece and my plan was to use up all of the oils I had and then let it all go.  But that wasn't the case.  This year I am feeling like, I've been painting with oils for over thirty-five years.  Each one takes about a year, these days some take closer to two. 

I've also been doing watercolor/gouaches and loving to paint those too.  Since the average drawing or watercolor/gouache takes days instead of years and since I have the confidence now to get into egg tempera, something I've wanted to do since the sixties... I think now is the time to go for it. 

I'm doing a life story painting which will be the last one of ten oils on canvas life story paintings. And I'm doing a special painting that I'll be giving to a fire department about 911.  And a watercolor/gouache study of it is going to a dear friend and humanitarian.  The rest... we'll see.

Recently, I've written about a painting that moved me to tears in an exhibit I saw many years ago at the Chicago Art Institute.  I called and talked with someone there and found out that the exhibit was in 1991.  I don't remember many details about my life before and since my brain injury in 1994.  So that this particular painting and the depth of feeling I have when I think about it has remained... is intriguing. 

When I talked with someone at the Art Institute they told me about a book called, "Degenerate Art: The Fate of The Avante-Garde in Nazi Germany."  I ordered it from the library and I've been looking through it and while I've discovered some artists that I was familiar with, I've also discovered some that I want to get to know better.  I've written their names and when they were born and when they died and where they died and I've decided to do some research on each of them.  I'll be sharing what I learn here. 

And I'm going to send an old fashioned mailed letter to the Chicago Art Institute with the hope that someone there will be able to look up this painting on a door that I am remembering from that exhibit.  I want to know more about it; see an image of it again and find out who painted it or if the artist is even known.  I want to know as much of the context of this piece as I can.  How these studies will affect my work this year?  I have no idea.  But I'll share the process in this blog.  There may be days when I don't post and then several posts in one day.

For now, I'm going to get busy working on those projects, spoiling my Akita Coco, my dingbat cats and keeping my toesies warm, cuz baby its cold outside.

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