Thursday, March 13, 2014

Luvbugs


I love painting & writing. Wait. Is that really true? Yes and no. I love having written. I love having painted. I'm sure someone famous and chain smoking has said that already but it's the truth. There is a physicality to painting that I love--yes, your arms will be stiff, feet might ache and your back is tight after hours of standing leaning crouching head tilting. But it feels good. You've done it. I've shown up. There are paintings, above, and pieces of writing, let's cross our fingers it will be this blog post, that flow. They dance and move with me with little effort & remind me that I'm supposed to be engaging in this part of life. The universe is doing a round of applause and high-fivin' to the other muses up in the sky. Not that it's "good" or "bad" but it has flow and feels like I'm going with the stream. These are the bright shiny diamond moments that I wish I could bottle. I can't. So I surf Pinterest, Facebook, Amazon, read a ton of books, devour all information on my favourite artists & writers, their work, their words, their habits. I want what they have. Then I realize, when it's time to go back to the page, the canvas, I have what they have minus a whole lot of patience & experience. They did not become overnight successes. They consistently showed up & thanked god when some magic showed up & persevered anyway when the magic felt forced & frustrating.

And I submit "Exhibit B" for examination of forced & frustrating. Same Volkswagen? Maybe a little. But these two Luvbugs couldn't be more different from the inside out. Blue Luvbug was painted quickly and I daresay effortlessly, almost as if by surprise, from a photo. The round form took shape easily & the personality informed me of color & detail as I progressed. Everything about this little painting felt spirited & happy & all the things you want a Friday afternoon art class to include. It reflected my aesthetic, I liked the color & the pesky mechanics, tires, roof rack, rear lights, placed themselves more or less where hardware lives on a Beetle. It took shape & "worked". 

Now Pinky Tuscadero (humor me, "Happy Days" fans!) was another story. Painted minutes after I finished the blue one, this same sweet little car could not find it's shape. And then when it found it's shape, it couldn't find it's pieces to attach symmetrically, or at least in way, that would be drivable. When doors finally met windows met racks met surf boards, the colors competed. Purple and pink. Pink and aqua. Neon pink & aqua. One more like you mean it, neon pink & lime green! Still no. So I did what I have only recently learned to do. I put it aside & let it breathe. I was forcing this one. I was so tickled that a quirkly little VW could materialize out of thin air that I rushed into the second thinking waving my banner of "more is more". Was I rushing? Expecting lightning to strike twice? Maybe both or maybe the first one was just dumb luck that it resembled the feeling I had wanted. Either way, I did what I find very difficult. I let it go. And painted over it. And painted it again. And again. There are probably 20 layers of pink underneath that neon background & I still can't say it's got that "it works" feeling for me, but I didn't leave it in a pile of half painted canvases destined for the most ominous day of the week, "Some Day". 

The moral of the VW story? Wait, this has to have a moral? There are a few lessons & reminders for me here: one, share the agony & the joy. I am so not alone in this roller coaster creative process of "huh, not bad to I should wear a paper bag on my head in public pendulum." It's a process. Second, I'm learning to lean in to the moments when there is that flow & truly appreciate those times for what they are. Magic can not be taken for granted. I am learning. I am learning to be a working artist in all it's modern forms. The act of creating, the business, & sharing with the world when sometimes your world in front of you is only a laptop or an easel in the corner of your living room. xo

"Luvbug", 8x10", framed in barn wood: SOLD (Thank you, Nicole Kowalski!!!)

"Pink Luvbug", 8x10", framed in barn wood: For sale at ElizabethW in Carmel, CA. 

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