I’m just going to skip that whole part about me being a bad blogger, because I was being a good business woman and putting that first. And tomorrow you will get to read about my relationship with ribbon, but today:
My brother recently moved into a fantastic apartment (I can tell you most certainly that it’s at least in the top ten in Salem). Huge windows, 20 foot ceilings, completely refurbished with original hardware, and big blank walls. My brother thought this would be a good opportunity to get some more freebies from me (that moocher). But seriously he’s had some type of my art work in his room/homes for a long time now, and has always been a great supporter of mine. I don’t think most teenage brothers would appreciate a framed piece of their sister’s artwork as much as my brother did, but he loved it. That art work, incidentally, was one of my first oil colors. A friend brought over some Bob Ross oil paints (yes seriously) my senior year of high school, and showed me how to use them. She didn’t know the finer points then, and neither did I, painting on a 120 lb. paper instead of canvas. I started buying my own paints, and pre-made canvases and basically painted big doodles. I was so enamored with my artwork that I had my senior pictures taken with it. Then it was on to college. I was undecided my first year, but I knew I wanted to be an art major, and soon I made it official.
It’s weird because I think what had been holding me back was what other people would say. I knew I was smart, and I didn’t want to "waste it" I have this vivid memory of a friend of my parent’s whom I baby sat for coming back a little tipsy and me telling her I wanted to go into art. She laid into me, telling me what a waste it was going to be, and how nothing could come of it. How could I take this wonderful opportunity of higher education and do this with it? When I first started taking classes (boring entry level design classes) I kinda thought that maybe I had made a mistake. I couldn’t really draw. And if you can’t draw… It’s weird because people ask me to draw things sometimes, I mean ya, after years of training I can do a little, but that’s not my specialty. So I took the one upper level thing I could, that didn’t have as many prerequisites: the history of design. It did have one pre-requisite, art 101. And when I found out the guy who wrote my book for that class, was teaching this one, I had to get in, no matter that it was upper level synthesis course and I would be the only freshman in it. I ate every word up. I saw everything as art. Then I got to start with the good stuff: the studios.
They were great and critical and I learned to do washes first and layers, and how things worked with each other. I was a medium junkie and a pigment snob. After the initial classes upper level studios included actual studio space that you didn’t have to clean up. For me this meant lots of exploration in big projects. I had just had a lot of "that’s so great" in my previous studio class when I went on to this one, with a different professor. I remember the boys (Brent and Bj) helped me make the frames for these canvases. I went to this out of the way shop that made hospital laundry carts and cut my own canvas, and stayed late night after night painting in my spot by the door next to the train tracks. Nine of these paintings in all, made to line up, and then be module so that you can move them around. Critique day, the only day I ever cried in a critique. My professor looked at mine, I explained, and he said, "Well it looks like you don’t give a shit." I had fire in my eyes. He started to turn away, "Excuse me," I said, "but I DO give a shit." To this the rest of the class laughed and as he walked away I teared up, so exhausted and confused.
But I learned a lot from that moment. I had that professor again, and eventually he gave me an A on one drawing (any one who says art classes are an easy A has no idea what a real art class is). I think what he wanted was for me to see that I really did love it, and to stick up for it. I didn’t fail the class after all. Moving around the nine big canvases on Brent’s floor the other day I saw them in a new light. I still did love them, but some were not as strong, and could use work. And with all the layers on them now, more paint on top would be so awesome. But the last time I’ve painted was years ago, I can’t believe that but it’s true, years, at least three. I brought the three misfits home and put them up on the rack Brent made me in the garage. It has some half finished nudes on it, some blank canvases, some gessoed, a few washed and ready to go. And I felt it, this pull of the paint, the mess, the turpentine. The need to do it. But I can’t. There’s no time, and no space, and it is too messy. I used to have a whole wardrobe devoted to art, but I can’t even fit into my patched up painting pants. And it makes me want to cry. Am I still the same person in side? Is that part of me going to fade away? I love the business woman, but I feel my passion being pulled in so many ways, and I just don’t know how to satisfy it all. But I had to show you the other me, so you can see a glimpse of it.