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Posts Tagged ‘art process’

It’s been quite a while since my last post. It was an homage to my sister, Kathy, a eulogy of sorts, and since then, I took a breather, a break, to keep hold the thoughts and events since that loss. One year turned into two, and three…

Those years have been rich with adventures and amazing connections. I was reminded then, and everyday, that life is short. I have always been aware of that and feel I live a life that reflects that. Since that last post, I stepped into the artist cave, found inspiration in studio time, in my home in North Carolina, and beyond. The “beyond” includes multiple life-affirming journeys around the world, and Kirah Fine Art, Inc has grown in ways “beyond” belief! Along with short snippets on social media, the blog is revived and I’m excited to share all that is to come…beyond the art, the travels, the classes…beyond the edge of tomorrow. And the next day. And the next.

Join me!

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I have been following one of my favorite artists practicing today, Nicholas Wilton, on Facebook. I discovered his work on a desk calendar I bought several years ago and enjoy his posts on art-making and  him sharing his beautiful work. He seems to get that painting is a process that connects us to each other, our cultural history, to nature and speaks in the visual language of metaphor and symbolism. It resonates with me and my own personal relationship to art.

For several years I have been working on a series of mixed media paintings inspired by liminality, the in-between space that gives rhythm and meaning to being human. It is often a much ignored and oft anxiety-inducing “place” to be. Someone recently described it as stepping off a train in a strange town. I associate it with being adrift, at sea. I believe we have all felt like we were on a precipice of choice and change and unconscious of the fact that it is not only a part of our macro world, our psyche but also working on a micro level, too. It is the moment between inhalation and exhalation, the threshold from the past to the present.

With that in mind, I was delighted to see Wilton’s recent post about the in-between. He discusses the idea of working hard and how working hard all the time may not be the most efficient approach to being. I always wondered….what is the gauge for working hard? As artists, aren’t we working all the time? Observing, being, absorbing, expressing? Our society teaches us that if it doesn’t earn a paycheck, if we aren’t going to an office and producing tangible widgets, we aren’t working. Here’s what Wilton had to say:

“Working hard is something I have forced myself to get good at but now I think that maybe this was not such a good thing to get good at after all. Listening to the poet philosopher David Whyte speaking in San Francisco a couple of years ago I jotted something down in my sketchbook that he said regarding learning. He was talking more metaphorically, probably larger in terms of learning from our life – how to live, rather than art making, but it resonated with me. It was a quick sentence and at the time I didn’t really understand, so I wrote it down so later I would. He said, “…Visitation, absence, visitation, absence, visitation, absence, (this repeated over and over again) is how we learn.” In other words the time BETWEEN the periods of effort, the pauses in-between are fundamentally as important as the periods of work. He believes that this “on, off and on again “ process produces more consistent, more substantial results.” 

I like the words he chose, visitation and absence, as in being present to the work, and then being present to the space. There is rhythm, an ebb and flow that is stepping away, taking a pause. I find it reflected in the concept of positive and negative space in art and design. The space around objects are just as important as the objects themselves. They are both characters in our personal story, and in our art.

How does being in-between affect you? Is it comfortable or make you anxious? Can you ride the wave across the unknown sea?

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Nicholas Wilton’s Symmetry – Mixed Media on 20 x 54″ panel

Stremmel Gallery, Reno, Nevada

www.nicholaswilton.com

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