Day 82: Philip Guston

“In my experience a painting is not made with colours and paint at all. I don’t know what a painting is; who knows what sets off even the desire to paint? It might be things, thoughts, a memory, sensations, which have nothing to do directly with painting itself. They can come from anything and anywhere, a trifle, some detail observed, wondered about and, naturally from the previous painting. The painting is not on a surface, but on a plane which is imagined. It moves in a mind. It is not there physically at all. It is an illusion, a piece of magic, so what you see is not what you see.” Philip Guston

This was Philip Guston’s opposite point of view to the cliche that a painting is the paint on canvas and what you see on it. I think both are true.

I used to be obsessed with Robert Ryman, a painter who was constantly fielding questions about meaning and spirituality in his very white light paintings on regular and weird surfaces. He said there was nothing in them, that they were just what they were, paint on canvas, sometimes on aluminum screwed into the wall a certain way. He was playing with surfaces and how you put the painitng on the wall. I went to his retrospective at the MoMA – Sep 26, 1993–Jan 4, 1994. Wow! I thought it was later than that. I was just starting out as a painter and had become very enchanted by his marks and materials and ways to put a painting on a wall, also many are not huge. I sat and looked at a really huge one I had never seen. It had hardly any color but white and grey tones. I don’t usually sit a long time with a painting; it felt like a moment on LSD, my mind entered some weird door of perception and I had some kind of bizarre experience in the Twilight Zone. I’ve never had it since though I”ve had weird reactions to paintings.

I was also inspired by Ryman’s story connected to my own accidental collision with art making. Ryman started out trying to make it as a jazz musician and worked at MoMA as a security guard. Talk about dramatic irony. He saw the paintings and bought som art supplies and started painting on a whim and didin’t stop.

Does the painter really know what they are painting when they think they know? I would say no. I have made so many images that just came out or just resulted from a random drawing and continuing the theme. I’ve even arrived at what they are “about” when I’ve had to write the dreaded artist’s statement, which I always hated. I started painting to get away from making sense and using words to explain anything.

Anyway, one joy of making things is seeing what I made by hearing someone else tell me what they see. Even a few years ago, with this very large Flower Painting in my house, mostly there as it’s too heavy to carry to the studio between moves. I was talking about some work I was making and saying it’s 9/11 again, how weird. He said, “Of course. All of them are. That painting up there is about 9/11.” It was the huge flower one. Not such a stretch as I had been fascinated with the life of the flower, especially as it is sort of half dead by the time it’s in your vase and then you can see it slowly die. It’s even an image in the opening of Six Feet Under towards the end of the opening credits, a fast forward of white flowers dying in a vase.

Anyway, other people see things in my work and what they see is really there. Even if I start with a real actual concept like this Burial Mound idea, I’m not sure what people might say if they were up in my studio or a show somewhere or even when I post them. Maybe they don’t see Burial Mounds or see beyond them some other meaning buried in them.

The other day I was putting house shapes in the Burial Mounds, another way to tie in my experience with the front line workers who handle Covid corpses, not to connect to them by experience; in fact it emphasizes how I’m home and safe while they risk their lives every day and are at the nuclear core of the pandemic.

Then the next thing, I put some of my buildings from many of my past and recent series in the burial mound in a drawing and thought, here comes 9/11. Even the house shape in the other ones, it’s my 9/11 apartment an airplane engine’s distance from the towers. There actually was an engine on the corner of Murray and Church streets a few feet East of my place on the same northern side of Murray St.

I was thinking about Philip Guston who used to be a huge painter for me, whom I revered, especially his courage in the heart of abstract expressionism to say, “I’m not making those pretty paintings to make statements about America or the meaning of art or whatever. I’m going to be honest and make paintings of shoes, nails, paint, faces, buildings, piles of legs, sleeping and smoking, cigarettes, drawings of Richard Nixon, including his phlebitis.” (My words)

What other artist of that time made as part of their work so many caricatures of Richard Nixon? The great thing is that they aren’t in caricature style; they are Guston’s drawings, with his kind of line and roughness.

The reason I started this whole post was that I was thinking of Guston’s disturbing paintings of people in KKK hoods. Apparently at one of his shows, someone from the KKK actually destroyed one of the paintings. However, his answers don’t totally tell the story. He said he wanted to experience how it feels to be purely evil and look in the mirror. He was Jewish and was referring to their anti-semitism as a person growing up with post war looming on him, but I couldn’t find a discussion on racism and they didn’t seem to think of asking a black person what they thought of his paintings. You can find a lot of articles about why he did the paintings but they are strangely void of real discussion of racism and lynching.

Now that we are quite aware of the constant lynchings of black people carried out by the police and others, there is no way to not be part of the picture.

What Guston didn’t say and maybe didn’t see because maybe it’s true that you paint the painting from a personal question or need, but it has its own life and refuses to be just what you and even others of the time say it is. He was admitting that even as a Jewish person, part of the Klan’s vicitims for sure, he was still white and could still be invisibly Jewish.

In 2019, those paintings bring home the fact that if you’re white, you’re priveleged and protected and always part of the problem in some way, some in smaller ways than others; you can still do something about it, contributing to Black Lives Matter, working in your community, electing the people who can effect change, especially people of color who are running for office all the time. Participating in the protest is one way, especilaly if you avoid the violence because once you get violent you mess up the movement, as the violence will always be blamed on black people. Listening to people’s stories and their art too.

If you google and look at those paintings now, they are very powerful and very true in a way that images can convey much louder and more directly than words. It was still an act of courage to paint them and say I dare you to see yourself I. This painting and to hang it on your wall…

Day 81: June 1, 2020

(I’m aiming for a short description of each name on the last post’s poster my kid made for every post, probably separate from the other post.) Here’s the more mundane one:

It’s officially the second half of the year 2020. A time to reflect back on the past six months and how the year has gone as compared to all the pipe dreams I had about it, due to the fact that I will not be alive in 3030, and numbers matter so much to me that I really expected more of you- 2020.

I thought you would bring some absolutely awesome events, from great things for selfish me, to great things to the country and the planet, like the ousting of Trump by any means necessary, slowing of global warming, all student debt forgiven, universal free health care, disappearance of mental health stigma, lowest suicide rate ever….

I thought my big focus on making more money this year, to start with by picking Money as my word for the year. (I had a client who did this and thought it was great. Last year it was Serendipity. I waited patiently all year and then struck it big by getting my parents’ tickets to a luxury awesome cruise ship cruis in the Caribbean not on one of those monstrous awful cruise ships. Thanks to some unfortunate events, my 12 year old and I flew to Puerto Rico and got on the ship. That was my big Serendipity, made even more wild by the fact that it was perfectly timed to avoid the Coronavirus completely!)

So back to you 2020, with the word Money as my word of the year, I was aiming to make more money from selling my art and thus be able to contribute to the family being able to redo the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room. It was a stretch as I would probably need to make at least 50,000$ extra from some huge successes, but all the Abundance people on the internet said aim high. It started trickling in at the end of 2019, and even in mid February I had another sale and made some money from my art. You’re supposed to have a goal that is both ridiculously hard to believe as well as very specific.

(Instead, 2020 played a trick on me: “Now that you’re home for the pandemic, how about instead of redoing this part of the house, I will give you mice, broken washer and dryer, broken water valve, and kitchen floor issues, as well as all the usual problems with your apartment that you now have to spend 24/7 in?)

Then the Coronovirus came a few weeks later. I admit I selfishly thought, “Who the fuck would want a painting during a pandemic? How would it get cleaned and delivered?” This was back in March when it seemed like the apocalypse was nigh. Of course even by the first few days of this Day Count of the pandemic, I had put aside selfish greedy goals around making pots of money, as my health and life and more importantly, health and life of family members, lots of whom are high risk for Covid 19.

Maybe, it being June 1, which I have made so significant for no reason, the half year mark could involve changing the 2020 word to something else more realistic, like: Alive, Healthy, Exploding Mice, Flying Poodles, Lucky, Gluten Free Brownie or loftier: Fitness, Muscles, Candy…

I don’t know. 2020 turned to shit. I’m lucky to be alive and still have my day job as well as my artist job which is always there whether I make a fortune or not, and my health. I need to think of something because Money just doesn’t fit the flavor of this crazy year.

“Badass”. I was thinking “Badass Motherfucker” as the two always go so well together, but this word thing works better with one word to sum it all up.

So today I dub the rest of 2020 “Badass”.

Day 1 Yesterday’s 13 Minutes

Friday, March 13: I decided to use my 13 minute daily writings to be a kind of diary of living with new restrictions and a state of emergency during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Remember, life is all around you and there is still nature to appreciate even in NYC: trees, birds, the sky…

I live in NYC a few blocks below World Trade Center. I’ve lived in this apartment since 1998, except for a few years post 9/11.

Anyway, my plan is to focus on positive things in here. Anyone reading this knows you can easily access what’s going on and the news, and I believe focusing on good things that are facts happening alongside bad stuff is a way to keep one’s humanity intact. I saw a Hawking video I posted on Facebook 2 years ago today when he died. It is especially a great message for right now. I think I can find the link from Facebook.

Stephen Hawking Video

Technically it’s Saturday, but I’m writing my 13 minutes for yesterday, Friday the 13th. I will also post art I make daily; I hope to inspire people to use art making as a coping tool and if you’re doing it even 15 minutes, it is your life, not just a distraction tool. I strongly believe in DBT’s Distress Tolerance skills, but I also think that even if you’re doing something to calm yourself and avoid something for a while and then get back to it, that while you’re doing your art or music or crossword puzzle, you aren’t avoiding your life; that’s is you living it.

I was inspired yesterday to get back to my Daily Comic, “The Daily Grind”, which I’ve been only doing sporadically. I want to commit to some daily “self-care” minutes of my life spent doing things I already do but will be more mindful to keep up now.

Daily photo: I just got this t shirt and wore it to work yesterday. Some of my clients quite enjoyed it, even by video session!

 

13 Minutes Wednesday

Habits are tricky. At one point starting in May 2018, I was waking up early, doing yoga, short meditation and then write and draw 15 minutes later in the day, at times also doing a daily comic. Of course I couldn’t sustain that.

I now have a habit tracker for my planner, mostly because it is fun to pick out things to try doing often. So far, as expected, I couldn’t sustain tracking my habits. In December, I tried to track these habits: Meditation/EFT Tapping, Yoga in the morning, eat a healthy meal or snack once per day, draw 15 minutes, write 15 minutes or longer, reading. It all fell off by the 18th, but I did have a vacation so that makes sense. In January, it was 4 habits: Do one thing towards selling art, Write daily, pull Tarot comic and/or do comic strip, yoga in the morning and meditation. I went from 6 daily habits to 4 habits. I fell off each one, ending with the 18th again. Then in February 5 habits: No Refined Sugar/eat healthy, giving myself leeway to not be perfect. I kept that up until the 25th (tracking it and mostly success doing it later in the month, then Journal/Gratitude, which I tracked the first two days, Draw 15 minutes and comic strip. Those did not work in terms of consistency and keeping it up.

This month I’m down to 3: Write 13 minutes/day which I do in the blog to keep track of when I do it and to post often. Eat healthy which has surpisingly been easy, and do one thing towards selling art, which I have to track better or give up on. It can include just a Facebook post or message about a price, just a small thing.

I’ve been tracking yoga for about 5 years, so I’m just continuing with that and not using the planner thing.

I am now following advice I tell my clients, which is, lower your expectations and aim for reasonable goals so that you can track your success and improvement, or not even track it but do it. I developped the 15 minute thing in 2018, timing the drawing and writing and then meditation. It helps to have a timer so the success is based on time spent on a self-care or goal oriented activity, as there is always success in putting in the time, and 15 minutes is actually a very long time.

Test yourself. Put on a stopwatch and then when you think a minute has gone by, look and see if it was only 30 seconds or if you got it, etc. No counting allowed.

The hand washing for 20 seconds for the Coronavirus is quite interesting as another topic. Can New Yorkers actually do it? 20 Seconds is a very long time. How do you count your 20 seconds… For tomorrow.

Re-Committing to Writing/Blogging

I haven’t posted since late September, so I am going to post a list of topics and try to get back to regular posting.

-Yoga Practice Book I’m reading and my own thoughts on my Home Yoga Practice

-Mini Double Sided Vision Boards as an Art Therapy activity

-Cut out poems using text threads as an Art Therapy activity

-My Mandala Project in progress and where it is

-My Still Life Revival and Oil Painting

-Paintings and Drawings, Abstraction or “Non-Objective” work and where it is

-Commitment, Focus, Discipline, Persistence with making a body of work, what distractions come up to self redirect

-Burning Bridges and Building Bridges, a DBT skill

-DBT class and what I’m learning so far

-The challenges of focuing on positive energy and reframing “problems” as challenges. The work of turning the mind towards compassion when in the midst of chaos or emotional reaction

-Daily Rituals and Gratitude Practices, Evolution

 

The Fifty Minute Hour, or Thanks for the Clock, Kasa

I just wrote this piece that is mostly not about Kasa’s clock, but maybe all of it kind of is. She brought the clock to my studio when she was seeing some clients there and left it there and forgot to ask for it back.

The 50 Minute hour. That’s what they used to call it. Now most people do 45 minute therapy sessions. When I started private practice, I did hour long sessions; in art therapy often you take time picking out art materials and settling into the rhythm of the session. At some point I switched to 50 minute sessions, where I am now. 45 or 50 minute sessions, time still works like the Twilight Zone, where it gets stretched out like taffy. You can fit a lot of intense stuff into just 15 minutes.

There are many jobs that involve watching the clock. I can speak for mine that it is a strange aspect of the job. On the surface, any therapist will tell you that the built in boundaries of psychotherapy are an important part of the experience, the earthy reality stuff like price, session times and frequency, even the office itself. I had a client years ago who started with specific requests, it has to be every two weeks, and you have to not judge my alternative approach to romantic relationships. I had someone with a strong reaction to the studio space, saying it felt like a garage full of old paintbrushes and if we could meet in a clean space with comfortable chairs, he’d rather work with me there. He had to accept getting his therapy in a dirty garage. This was before the options of Facetime/video sessions were an option.

When I started private practice, I didn’t think too much about the clocks and placement of them until a client told me she needed to see the clock and be the one who announced the end of a session. When you’ve had a traumatic loss as she had, having control of the time is important. I brought in a second clock and placed it where she could see it. It was back when I still used a digital alarm clock with a loud radio alarm to wake me up. When I worked at a day treatment program and was doing an art group, a client pointed out that in all watch ads, the time is set as 10:10. It makes sense. If it was the visual opposite, 8:20, the hands would look like a sad face. Working at that program, I appreciated the stretching of time and the Twilight Zone of serious chronic mental illnesses like schizophrenia, where time is in quicksand. One of my clients spent the whole day in a chair in the big group room. Another one had no complaints sitting in a dentist waiting room for 3 hours not even reading magazines.

Recently my clients and I noticed in the second room of my studio that the clock was not working. It’s an analog on the wall above shelves, meant to be placed for clients to see. I found a new one at Ikea this weekend, that even has Roman numerals. I also had a cool sun ray clock with actual pointy gold rays radiating from it that also stopped working recently.

I have a very small silver clock with the bells on top that I “inherited” from a friend. When she died in 2013, I realized I had her clock. It was so silly and obvious that time had run out for her and I better be enjoying as many minutes as possible myself. It had a loud ticking that one of my clients requested I put it in a drawer. It eventually stopped working, but I have it out on my desk with my stuffed “studio bunny”, a reminder of the well know rabbit with an anxiety disorder where he keeps looking at his pocket watch and freaking out. A little stuffed animal that I had lying around. Years ago a patient brought in her dachshund and the bunny was a great chew toy distraction for him while the client was working on a huge piece on the floor. He got pastel all over the bunny’s white body, and she then really was broken in as a true art studio bunny. As an art therapist I can get away with having a lot of stuffed animals in my office.

My Dad has been into clocks, watches and their workings since childhood. As a kid, really wanted his dad’s clock and got it, nothing fancy and had it a long time. My grandfather knew how to fix clocks. When I was growing up there were antique clocks all over the house that went off on the hour and my dad would take one of those old clock keys and wind them. They are still there. Last I counted there were at least ten antique clocks in their apartment. One’s entirely covered in gold, and has a cupid figure with a bow standing next to the square of the clock part on a pedestal. He has gold wings and is holding fruit over a bowl of fruit on top of the clock. Another one has marble columns and the pendulum is a gold sun. In the library there is a clock with a rooster on top. My favorite is a clock in the dining room, It’s a harp but symmetrical with a gold sun at the top and the clock part is the body of the guitar shaped harp. A few years ago, my Dad gave me his gold Omega watch and a pocket watch. He was giving his watches to his kids, not waiting for death. He used to wear suits with vests where the pocket watch would go, complete with bowtie and hangkerchief. I took the Omega to the guy below my studio who fixes shoes and watches; it’s a shoe repair, barber and make your own nailpolish shop all in one. It turned out the watch did not need a battery and is the kind you actually wind. Growing up I loved watches and my Dad would bring Seiko watches from Japan. I went through a phase as an adult where I stopped wearing watches and just wore watch rings. I collected a whole bunch of different watch rings and found it easy to look at the time without clients realizing because you see your hands more easily than having to move your wrist to check the time. At some point I went back to watches and started collecting watches again. I have a very large square one with a silver band that was the first fancy one that I got. It has Roman numerals on it.

In my own therapy which is five minutes less than the 50 minutes my clients get, I look at the time often. This is the first time I have a therapist like the white rabbit except he is not anxious about arriving late. When he is late, I set my timer to get my exact 45 minutes. One time I was on the way into the subway and he texted that he had to cancel as he wasn’t going to get to his office on time. As some other therapists, I tend to enjoy hearing about other therapists messing up as it makes me feel better about my own mess ups.

Time is also weird for me as an artist. People ask, how long did it take to make that drawing/painting. I now write the date on the back of my work as soon as I start it or restart it to know what date I did it, and I set 15 minute timers for drawing, but I never know exactly how long anything takes to make.

Projects

I tried wirting a post about my unfinished projects yesterday for 15 minutes but it got too complicated. I’ll try the more organized approach. THis is a list of projects I’ve started in no particular order.

  • Graphic Novel, I(3) (meant to read as “I Cubed”), memoir. Started in 2000. Stopped finally in 2017.
  • Children’s Book: The Flying Poodle, done in late 90’s, abandoned and lost
  • Art Therapist Made Activity Book for People with Airplane Flying Anxiety/Phobias, including: “Facts About Flying”, Word Searches, Coloring pages, Doodle and writing prompts, maybe crossword puzzles. Could be made like a journal format. Got to the idea point.
  • Memoir in form of Picture Book for adults, inspired by “Depression, A Picture Book” and another one. Got to point of using Word Search cutouts to make limbs on characters, did 2 pages, recent idea
  • Books: Using Altered Books in Art Therapy. Plan to edit the book. Got to the point of inviting some other art therapists to author chapters and emailed with Jessica Kingsley Publishers. They reached out to me last August about possibly writing some kind of book.
  • Poetry and art therapy with/as case study: book with a client’s poems written in session and between sessions and my response poetry. Tried to start with categories of poems and with client going through her poems and picking out ones she likes.
  • Possibility of trying to incorporate pages from abandoned graphic novel into some sort of other book with multiple media
  • The Art Box, a book also personal narrative, about my creative process and using pieces about work as an art therapist, artist and personal life to do with creativity. Memoir of Creativity
  • Some kind of compilation of my comic strips from my art therapy Instagram account, comic strip, “The Daily Grind
  • Website for my art, with newest work and prices to sell directly from website
  • Spreesy an app to use to sell art from social media, getting organized and trying to sell through it.
  • making this current website more organized, going through the “Pages” to make it more coherent and look better

It’s interesting that I almost “forgot” about “The Art Box” project, as it is supposed to be something I’m working on now. That was the idea in spring of 2018, to use some time weekly to work on it.

These projects are all in category of “Other”. The main projects are my art projects that I need to finish to sell the work on the website mentioned above. Current art projects:

  • Mandala collage paintings
  • Cityscapes
  • Abstract square drawings, made bigger on wood boards

 

Art Homicide: Is it Common?

We rolled it to the point where it was a 7 foot paper taco and carried it down the street home like that. It was too thick from collage to roll up completely. Once home we put it on top of the wood bed posts on the frame around the posts. Every time I lay on the bed I could see the underside of my masterpiece slowly crumbling from the weight in the middle that wasn’t supported.

Having it there along with another big round mandala piece was not a great idea psychologically. If we had stashed it somewhere it may never have met its gruesome end and the other piece wouldn’t have been collateral damage.

Most people don’t get angry at their apartments to the point of feeling like destroying stuff, but I never was” most people”. One day or week I got so frustrated with the chaotic state of my house, that the feeling kept building more like a fire when it catches on to something and the next minute the whole building burns down. As I couldn’t burn down the building, I decided it was time to destroy the mandala. I’d been eyeing it for weeks wondering how and if I wanted to fix it as it was getting damaged.

Suddenly it was clear how to solve the problem. This huge piece used to hang in my old studio on one wall and took up all the wall space. It was up there so many years I remember looking at it and thinking, “What will I do if someone buys it or if I have to move it? Maybe it will be here until I die.” It felt that permanent. Fast forward to me ripping the whole thing apart and destroying it. I don’t remember it well even though it was probably only 4 years ago. After that, I took on the piece that was my height in diameter, like a lion after a kill who finds an extra dead animal baby and eats it just because it’s there.

Do I regret doing it? Do I miss the piece that I still consider one of the best or at least most ambitious things I have ever made? I don’t know because I had forgotten about it until I recently destroyed something else that I liked. I guess if I could have it back I would and it might be in my studio now or  I would have sold it and been happy it had a place. It did serve a purpose in its short life of being on that studio wall because my clidnts faced that wall when they sat in the chair across from me. I remember one client seeing a person in a wheelchair in the middle of it. It was a completely abstract collage. I can probably find a photo of it to post with this. So when it was alive on the wall, it was serving a purpose and beign seen by lots of people. Back then the Tribeca Open Artist Studio Tour still existed, so for those few days in April annually, I had crowds of people come through my studio and see it as well as the smaller piece.

I know a lot of big deal artists have destroyed their work, but in a very calculated way, not in a sudden fit and not something they thought was one of their best work. Part of the delight I took in murdering my big mandala was that it was really one of my greatest achievements, so it was a really crazy meaningful kill.

I have destroyed many peices before and since which I will write about in another post…

15 Minutes: 2019 Sketchbook Project

Just as I finished my 2019 Sketchbook and have a Tiny Sketchbook to work on, thinking both were due on Feb. 15, they extended the deadline for 2019 Sketchbook but not the Tiny one.

I am currently working on the Tiny Sketchbook. This is the first time the Digital Arts Library has sent out Tiny Sketchbooks. I love making tiny work; I wanted to find a theme that was visually simple and consistent, and finally figured it out, so I’m almost done. Of course this post is abot the regular size Sketchbook 2019 and finishing it.

I’ve been doing these Sketchbook Projects for years. It’s always a black hole of ADHD. Several years ago I had two sketchbooks to fill and ended up filling one and then completely destroying it.

The 2019 Sketchbook was an arduous process and time consumer. My problem usually is that I love sketchbooks, so I spend too much time on it in relation to my “real” art, and it makes no rational sense but it’s a compulsion.

This time round, I think I already wrote about how I filled the entire sketchbook, about 30 pages if you fill both sides. I had already covered several layers of ideas. Finally I looked at it one day and thought, the whole point of this sketchbook was to use it for drawing and keep it simple. It was at the point where I couldn’t really draw a fresh drawing, so I pulled out all the pages and put in my own pages from a drawing pad that has very thick paper. The Pentalic Nature Sketch 7 x 5 inch 130 lb paper. I highly recommend it as a great surface for drawing. I was able to draw on both sides of the paper without it being see through.

So I started almost from scratch besides the cover, back cover, and inside cover. This sketchbook was finally useful in a bigger way to connect to my current work and drawings outside the sketchbook. I used to have a process where I would carry my journal sketchbook everywhere and draw or make collage in it and then eventually force myself to get the work to be made outside the journal on bigger different surfaces. It was a way to find my “series” and then have a launching pad! This year the Sketchbook did launch me into my latest series of work, entitled, “My Cabinet of Unnatural Curiosities.”

Last year I liked my sketchbook while making it but didn’t love it after it got digitized. This year, I already scanned the sketchbook so I know how it will look digitized and I really like it and feel good about it. I also like how the process, as painful as it was time consuming, spat me out at the other end of the creativity tunnel into  my current bigger work.

I am posting some of the images of the sketchbook.  Once it’s digitized, I will post a link to the sketchbook.

Links to see my 2014-2018 Sketkchbook:

This is the one from 2018: Sketchbook Project 2018

Everything Old is New Again…

15 Minutes: Everything Old is New Again

I’m doing very different drawings from when I started “Drawriting” with 15 minutes of drawing and 15 minutes of writing on the back of the drawing. These pieces below do not have writing on the back; I’m not sure if I will write on the back or not. perhaps this post is the writing part for now.

A client of mine once explored a concept she said was summed up as : “Everything old is new again.” Her words. I’ve been thinking about that idea, as I reflect on 2018, and now, in terms of my personal art making as a visual artist, about 30 years into making drawings and paintings, collage, etc. Even last May as I started a daily drawing practice, I noticed I was reprising my 2006 – ? work and had revisited that stuff in my sketchbook last year, coming from the “Inner Landscapes” series. I have the old sketchbook journal where the images emerged that later became buildings and Inner Landscapes, which I have now embraced as “Cityscapes.” Before, when I did these, I thought of them as buildings, but as expressing some kind of inside landscape of the psyche. Recently I’ve returned to seeing that it is my relationship with New York City and how the city is part of who I am…

More recently in the past few weeks, I have been revisiting my drawings of faces and leaves. It started with my redoing my Sketchbook Project, in December 2018, drawing faces and leaves. These faces started many years ago; I can’t even remember when. Then I reused them in my Scribble Drawings Collage series in 2007 and 2008.

A while back I drew two bees in my sketchbook project. For some reason I’ve been drawn to drawing bees, no pun intended. Yesterday, I started drawing hexagon hive shapes, due to thinking about bees and because it’s a great kind of drawing connector. I’ve got faces, bees, and mushrooms, so now I have the hive shapes in and out. I haven’t gotten far with it as you can see in the pictures of these works in progress.

Drawing on smaller paper is very rewarding because I can really do a drawing in one sitting and feel like it’s done. It’s hard to be patient with doing drawing/painting on wood and canvas because it takes a lot more time and the discipline to revisit the work and continue it.

I took some of the wood drawings I did in November, which were moving towards being city scapes, and tried to sort of add in the new imagery with limited success, still using fountain pens to draw with.

For some reason it is harder to add in this imagery. I will paint over the wood with white paint and start drawing on top, like the painting in the photo below. That painting has endured a lot, like an archeological site. I don’t know what the first concept was, but there was collage I pulled off years ago, and then drawings of buildings and white again. That was March 2018. Then I went into it more. Anyway, today I turned it “upside down” so I woulnd’t see buildings in the marks underneath the white paint.

The above wood drawing with oil paint is the only one I saved. The rest I painted on top of.