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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Turning the Corner; Rounding the Block

Painting is an indoor sport, best saved for cold weather. My response to Evelyn's comment yesterday set a light bulb off in my head: I just do not feel like confining myself to the studio.

I don't want to miss a minute of the glorious days of Spring and Summer. Rain or shine, it's time to be OUT in the yard, down by the lake, cycling the neighborhood, pinching back flowers, pulling weeds and on the alert for slugs, black spot, aphids and other junk a rainy Spring might bring into my garden. This is the time to be out-of-doors. And this week, I'm out there planting. Painting is not my whole life, just part of it. I can finally relax and stop whipping myself over a slump I've been having. I'm just not into it these days when:

THE PANSIES LOOK LIKE THEY'VE HAD IT. A cooler spot must be found if I'm going to carry them through till Fall when they'll come back into their own.

THE CLEMATIS ARE COMING INTO THEIR OWN FINALLY I've got my fingers crossed; they're looking better than they have since I've put them in several years ago. I was going to tear them out, but they're too vigorous to destroy.

THE IRIS TOO. This Fall I really will dig them up and divide them; I'm way past due. Painting can be overly distracting.

AND THE ROSES ARE SETTING UP BUDS THAT WILL BLOOM ALL SUMMER LONG. I did put my brush down in early March to brave the cold, cut them back and fertilize--also took care of the Spirea and Hydrangea. I'm counting on the Hydrangea to give me mammoth clusters to dry for winter's floral arrangements. The Yarrow look like a sure thing.

As winter faded, I moved away from painting and just didn't know it. It's not my only love. I have many and I've been neglecting them. I did have the piano tuned, but my fingers have grown weak from lack of practice. I haven't poked around with different recipes in the kitchen for months AND I NEED A NEW CAMERA WITH MANY MORE PIXELS! Summer time is camera time, a time to be gathering material for painting when the temperatures fall in the fall. Such a silly goose I've been thinking slump when I was just turning a corner.

We do whip ourselves over painting slumps and make ourselves feel rotten that we're not producing. How silly we are. A slump says something's going on--most likely a growth period--a time off we need to take to gather new information and refill our souls. We think of a slump as a negative space when, as painters, we know there are no such things. All spaces in a composition are positive. All spaces are connective passages that shape the subject and sharpen our focus. So if any of you are lambasting yourselves as I was over not wanting to draw or paint anything. Give it up. Dig in the dirt. Play Chernzy till those fingers are strong and quick again. Turn the corner. Before you know it, you'll have rounded the block.


  1. Thank you! :-)))))))

    You're absolutely right, painting is for bad weather. So I left my butterflies home and went for a walk because it's a wonderful warm and sunny evening here. I photographed some birds and trees and will finish the painting tomorrow, I think.

  2. My friend is going to put in yarro in my front yard.. I love the flower, it looks like a butterfly. Pansies seem to reseed for me.. yep, move those suckers to a shadier spot.. do u have primroses? I love those.. I am slowly learning to plant a lot of bulb items, that is one thing I can't kill. Also succulents rule!.

  3. I'm so glad you've noticed that too Joe. I sat around for the longest time thinking what is the matter with me that my enthusiasm for paint became a dried up blob on the palette and I didn't care. When painting becomes hard work, it really is time to take a walk in the sunshine.

  4. Yarrow in these parts doesn't look like a butterfly Chrissy. I'll take a picture when they bloom a glorious Cadmium Yellow medium. They make excellent dried flowers with no hanging up side down in a dark basement. Just let the water evaporate from the vase and they will dry out slowly. The drying process turns the yellow to the color of Dijon mustard, the color of my kitchen. Dried, they are good fillers for bouquets of other garden flowers. (Dry or freshly cut, they don't care if they sit in water). I think they're really a weed.

  5. Your blog is truly wonderful, as is this post. What a brave thing to say! I think so many of us feel the truth in your words but never act on them for fear of not being a 'serious' artist if we're not producing regularly, even when we'd much rather be doing anything but painting! Your work is lovely, your words inspiring and I wish you lots of happiness this summer. Glad I found your blog. :)

  6. I'm glad you found my blog too Crystal. I think these things then I write them and I think, "you can't publish that. People will think you're a boob and not at all serious." Well, the minute I get too serious about my art,I'm going to have to quit. My playfulness, the stuff that makes my work art, will be gone. I think that's what happened with the painting that brought on the block. I got too serious. Seriousness kills the inner child, the kid inside who loves to play with paint. Making art should always be a joy.