“Get in your studio!” You could’ve heard me telling this to my students in Watsonville, California all of the time. Back when we could meet in person, it meant—go to your own headspace, block out the ramblings of others, allow your brain to consume your hands and create-you beautiful creative souls.
Now, as I am preparing to teach virtually-it means the same thing: let your other stuff go, get into your head and let your soul sing.
I need to practice what I teach! I have been in the process of a lot of changes over the past 8 months and the studio, at times, has eluded me. My studio has been a staging ground for the boxes that hold all of the things I can’t seem to let go from an oversized wooden spoon and fork to every pastel known to man. I’ve been packing for 6 months so I could join my husband in Florida.
I JUST MOVED, LIKE RIGHT NOW. But, no-I can’t do anything as simple as just a cross country move. Nope. I also, along with my husband, dropped our 18-year-old son off to live in a dorm apartment, alone in Los Angeles and we took the long way to Orlando seeing Utah (I know its way north, but its UTAH.) We drove through the falling ashes out of California into Nevada, through Utah, into New Mexico and Arizona- through Texas and Louisiana and into our new home state of Florida. The long drive with Ed and our dog Fred was just what I needed. No daily lists to accomplish, no tape to put on boxes and a big change of scenery. I’m in Florida now and it’s taken me a couple of weeks to regroup and breathe. I have to admit, I was in a little bit of a fog. At first, I wanted to call it a “funk”-but that wasn’t it. It was smoke filled fog. I was so “out of my studio” that my brain kicked into project manager/ problem solving mode. I can do that stuff-it comes naturally, but not being in the studio to balance it out made me narrow, and foggy. But now, after a much needed rest, getting ready for my classes to start-online-with my former students in Watsonville, California (I am THRILLED!!!) and getting some much needed rest along with the sauna that is Florida right now, I said to my dog Fred today—"I can’t wait to start painting again!” That felt good. No more fog—just a pilot light that has been lit to spark my next adventures as an empty nester and new girl in town.
I think I’m going to love Orlando.
“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape-the loneliness of it; the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.” -ANDREW WYETH
I've recently reacquainted myself with Andrew Wyeth’s work. I teach an intensive in drawing for 6th-8th graders in Watsonville, CA, and as I prepared their lessons and artists to look at, Mr. Wyeth came to the forefront of my mind. His line quality and composition, his fierce commitment to drawing not only what he sees, but how he sees it- just perfection. His winter work is particularly wonderful. And, his images are good tools for both me and my students to study; a return to the roots; a return to drawing.
Winter to Wyeth was cold and snowy with long shadows and quiet days and nights. I can just imagine that crisp “crunch” as he walked through the snow and that biting cold as he breathed in the air making all of his senses rise up. Like Wyeth, you tend to notice every sound when its quiet, every light when its overcast and every line when the trees are bare. I say “I can imagine…” because, that’s how I grew up in Indiana, but now, living on the central coast of California, winter is (hopefully) green from the rain after a long season of brown. Here, not all deciduous trees commit to losing their leaves and, roses are blooming. It’s not really winter. I’m missing those long shadows and that sense-stimulating crisp to the air. I’m not complaining; it’s beautiful here and I appreciate it, it’s just different.
So, winter, for me, is to clean up, prepare, do the business things, plan, and look…at a lot of work, at how I do my process, at where I am going with all of this. So, I cleaned the studio, updated my website, wrote my first blog (this one) and inventoried my supplies. I am changing how I look at, how I approach and how I talk about my work. It’s not a full change, it’s an evolution. I want to breathe in that clean, crisp winter air; I want my senses open. I want to see those long shadows of my work and look at the lines and light a different way. I want to “winter” like Wyeth- to look at things with awe and renewed wonder, to be bold with my lines and take chances, be quiet with my process and committed to having each line, each drip, each dark next to light really mean something.