|Judith Bernstein, American Abstract Artist, feminist, born 1942,|
and chose Fine Art as her lifelong career, see Note below). A new hero of mine,
and subject for my first daily drawing of 2016. When your
studio is too mess to paint in, draw.
After a crappy last half of 2015, I was bummed out and painting was the last thing I wanted to do. Yet, it was always nagging at me even though I could support my lethargy by the fact that I had indeed run out of linseed oil and couldn't paint without it. I kept talking about linseed oil all the time. Whining really--till it drove my mate mad and he threw on his parka and, for the first time in his life, went to the art store, got the oil, drove home and gave it to me. He told me he didn't want to hear another word. "Paint!" he commanded.
Feeling obliged--he did go out in minus ten Celsius to get it--I trudged down the basement stairs, and entered my painting haven. From the mess I'd left, I saw there was more to painting then linseed oil. My haven was the pits, Tranquility couldn't be found in all the clutter. More than a Swifter was needed.
While it's true that art comes out of chaos, I don't believe the chaos 'they' are referring to is a messy, cluttered studio space. I believe the chaos is in the artist and is released by the art she feels compelled to make. Art is a release, an act of balance--and you cannot achieve balance when you're sitting in schmutzich.
Back in my studio with the means to paint, I began by clearing the space. I struggled for a half hour closing up my plein air easel. (I really give credit to the plein air painters who drag these contraptions out into the wilderness. For me, the patio will be plein air enough).
Then I tackled the lopsided tambour. I had never tightened the bolts when I bought it and the more paint I put in the drawers, the more it leaned like the tower in Pisa. Bolted properly, it now stands solidly upright and out of the way. My floor space is open.
A clear head excels in a clear, uncluttered space. Where once I had three easels erected, I now have one plus ample open space to pace back and forth and side to side, to see what I've accomplished and what still needs doing. Today, the sink and cleanup station need elbow grease; I need uncluttered countertops there too. That done, tranquility will be restored in the most important room in the house.
While you can go to the store for a can of linseed oil, organization and cleanliness is the stuff of tranquility, the stuff of art.
Before I left on holiday, I was researching American Women Artists born in the 1940's. I was curious to see how many woman of that time, my time, chose the very risky career path of Fine Art over the norm: husband, home and children. That's how I came across Judith Bernstein. You can read about her here. She is a feminist on par with Judy Chicago. She calls her work vulgar, but representative of vulgar times.