Friday, September 30, 2005

half full or half empty?

Now it comes down to it. This is where the innate and almost primitive drive to create comes full on. This painting is going to be the end of me (Pam tells me that I say that about every painting). I am at a sticking point and have been trying to hammer it out all week to no avail. All the elements of newness, the new painting easel, applying oil pastel to huge canvas, a new sitting and arm position, have all arrived at once and it has been a challenge, not to mention that the painting itself IS NOT WORKING. I have scraped off twice and may have to do it again, though the thought of it makes me wince. But I will keep moving forward because I have to. I may walk away for a day or two, but I have to come back to it…sit down face to face in front of that monster of a problem. This is that drive I was mentioning up top and sometimes I don’t like it. At all, my friends.

Technique is important depending on what an artist is trying to achieve. And it is important in this particular painting, which I do not enjoy. It is curious to me now why I chose this idea. I do not prize technique over creativity and find technique to be quite a drain. I once thought it to be the end all be all, but now that I am more mature I place creativity on the top rung. Technique is nothing but a tool and anyone can learn it, yet this painting requires traditional realist techniques, something I don’t use a lot in my work and do not prefer to. I feel like I am back in college when I deal with traditional techniques. I left college because it permeated every class. I suppose this is why the modernist went in the direction they did, God bless ‘em.Maybe it isn’t as bad as I think (I am not normally a glass is half empty person, but a glass IS empty person, so this is a positive statement for me). Vincent looks marvelous. The work has been half sucessful at least…..or maybe I should look at the job section.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Frida Kahlo and the blessing of public tv

We decided to rid ourselves of the cable television last month. It’s purely a menas of avoiding what is important and a robber of time. So, that leaves us with a few channels of which only public television is of any interest. There are plenty of documentaries in between ‘Antiques Roadshow’ and the handful of cooking shows. Last week I came across an AE biography of Frida Kahlo.

I knew a few bits about her and always have been intrigued by her work. I do remember the first time I saw one of her paintings and recall that I had to turn the page. It didn’t make a lot of sense to me without knowing about her. This was before I knew of her lifetime of physical sufferings which was the basis for her work. Her paintings are about her and that makes them quite powerful. A lot of the art snobs like to point out her supposed lack of technique (like there is only ONE technique)…I think they are secretly jealous of someone who was self taught whose work has the depth of content they only hope for.

Monday, September 12, 2005

D.C. at twilight

I am totally wiped out. Apparently, poor sleeping ability runs in my family and in the last ten years I have found myself less and less able to get a good nights sleep. Sure, I have really bad bed mate (tosses/turns/snores) and I have had a handful of health issues that have certainly stolen my winks, but I think it’s just us. The Lantrip family….or at least the women. So, at certain points it catches up with me, like after a week or so, and by 2 pm I am dragging. If I keep moving, I am ok, but sitting down to read or paint or whatever and it’s all over, man.
We have been to D.C. many times in the (almost) one year we have been here and have walked many miles and seen all the stuff to see, but Craig convinced me that "No, we need to see it all at TWILIGHT. It’s more interesting and beautiful!" And off we went to D.C. at 5pm saturday evening stopping to have a quick pizza in Springfield. By the time we got there and all the pizza and wine and stuff I felt like I could curl up in the backseat of the car and let the D.C. fanatic go on his own. But off we went.
Craig has this lovely child-like excitement about him especially when it comes to historical or sports related things. Lots of fast talking, lots of fast walking, lots of eyeballs going crazy looking all around. That’s my husband. It’s great. I sure as heck don’t get excited about anything. I make sure I am well composed in any and all situations. One of the problems is that he wants me to get in all the pictures. Now, we have lots, and lots of pictures of the monuments, many with me in them looking stiff and sort of mad. I don’t think we need any more. He took 36 pictures of monuments and landmarks. It was a great time except for my exhaustion. And he was right that everything looked different and more interesting in the evening. And there were a lot of folks there just hanging out sitting and talking on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial or walking around the tidal basin. We weren’t the only ones. Someone elses husband or whatever said, "Hey! Let’s go to D.C. at TWILIGHT!" and there they all were, someone tagging along looking wiped out…..I have the most amazing husband……

Sunday, September 11, 2005


At another anniversary of September 11th I watched again the Frontline documentary "Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero", a very fascinating film made a year after the event interviewing people either at the scene and/or who lost friends or family members in the tragedy. As someone who believes in God it strikes me how this film captures the ebb and flow of ‘faith’ and how that ‘faith’ either grows, reforms or perishes in the face of 9/11. Western christianity has the market on a self focused belief in and idea of God. Almost every person interviewed approaches the camera with a "how could God do this to me", in a sort of standing in the place of God as God and judging God. The phrases "America is a blessed country…how can God do this to America? ‘God bless America’ were spoken throughout. Certainly these are hurting folks and disillusioned folks. For them there isn’t only the tragic loss of life, but the complete loss of entire belief systems and ideologies, whole structures that lives were built upon. That happened to me when I went from athiest to true believer and it is tremendously stressful. But this attitude, and quite frankly the attitude dispised by much of the rest of the world, is very telling about our tendancy to form God in our own image. I do it myself. It is a product of a society raised from birth on entitlement. We feel entitled to have everything go swell, we live to avoid pain, discomfort, difficulty…and are offended when we encounter it. These are the things that most of the rest of the planet faces on a daily basis and because we have the means or drive to mostly avoid them our faith, our character, our growth has been gravely injured. And I talk to myself. I get pissy when I have a runny nose. Every time.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Livin' life, man

An aspect of my personality type according to the Myers Briggs test is a drive to be authentic and to figure out who I really am. Apparently, I also need to find meaning in everything, which could really mean that I need to RELAX. After weeks of soul searching and struggle (see last post) Craig and I were on our one hundreth deep discussion about the whole art thing. He has readily participated and bantered with me about it all, but I think he was over it by week three. I once again presented my arguments and concerns, my deep feelings and fears about myself and my work. There was a pause as I waited for his much needed response. He then says, "You are just livin’ life, man. That’s all it is…just livin’ life." Part of me feels I needed to hear that all along.