Monday, March 22, 2010
1. Who did this? from my father when I was 10. then from my 8th grade art teacher Mr. Lillie. terrified I raised my hand. He just looked at me, gave me more paper, and made sure I had plenty of charcoal. This happened again in art school when I presented my slides for a final portfolio. The old terror of George's first critique, always my first response, I prepared myself for the 'slap'. Instead Henry Altmann praised my efficient use of the brush to draw with the light.
2. Where's the edge of the form? Here? or Here? or Here? This from John, an art school boyfriend in response to my figure drawing. My first response, disappointment, fear of loss of love, just because I didn't 'see' as he saw. His critique was later echoed by Peter Hoss, my art school drawing teacher, when he asked me if I was looking at Giacometti's drawings. yes, I was trying to incorporate Giacometti's use of line into my work. Peter kept poking his finger at my drawing: is it here, or here or here? Don't just copy Giacometti, understand his seeing. That's when the lightbulb went off. The 'edge', the 'line' wasn't anywhere out there, it only existed on my page. That's when I fell in love with the line, and came to understand that everything exists in space, infused with light and my drawing 'style', this use of line was simply my experience of 'looking'.
3. Tell us about your work. This from my final portfolio review at The Art Institute of Boston. I critiqued my work with all of the negatives. I had a concentration of still life charcoal drawings that were black and smudgey, and I was trying to combine a strong abstraction with figuration. I was feeling as if I had failed in my attempt. "But that is WHAT YOU ARE DOING!" was the resounding chorus. I cried. My sculpture review was abysmal: everything happens on the surface. Today, almost 40 years later I do 'flat sculptures' through my use of glass and metal leaf, they walk a line between figuration and abstraction.
4. Don't hold your brush in your mouth!
5. Don't point your brush up with your mouth!
6. Why are you starting over? Who said you can't use an eraser?
7. Use a mask when you sand your paintings!
8. Don't wear your good clothes when you paint!
9. You never finish your work. Why don't you finish your paintings? They are finished. They 'don't' look finished. and this is one of the cornerstones of my work: to leave the work as if i have just stepped away and could pick the brush up again to 'finish'. I like this tension, and the introduction of a sense of being 'in the moment' of creating. the most frequent critic of this 'not finishing' was my father George. The last time he saw my work we were looking at a 7 foot standing self portrait that took me a year to do. the first comment by me to him was "I know it looks unfinished, but I like it this way." George said: "I do too." and we stood in silence looking at my work for one of those 'timeless' moments. was it a minute or an hour?