Sep 21 2007

another new beginning

Published by at 8:25 pm under art,children,creative process,nature,photography,Portland

There was a point earlier this week that it suddenly dawned on me that summer was over. Realizing my tendency to shrink into the indoors during winter months, I’ve been making sure that I get some outdoor activity every day before the rains hit. I just came back from a rather magical walk which reminded me why I made a commitment during the spring to take my camera around with me whenever I take my afternoon walks. Well, I started to amass a collection of hundreds of photographs (mostly flowers, plants and textured walls which, for some reason consumed my attention for the moment)…. But I failed to do much of anything with them and didn’t see any reason to add to my unsystemized files. It just seems like such a load of work to go through them all and figure out what’s useful to me.

This evening I went out and began the habit again. Gotta catch that last golden light. It’s always a revelation to me how much more attention I give things when I look at them through a lens. It focuses my attention on the macro-world which one fails to see when keeping a pace to simply “get somewhere”. Another thing that happened this time around is that children playing in the neighborhood were very interested in seeing what I was doing and wanted to talk to me. Usually it’s the cats that come up to me to accept a little cooing and stroking. This time, on 3 separate occasions, children came out to talk to me (first a couple of sisters, then a boy with his dog, then a group of 4). Each incidence had a bit of magic to offer me.

I don’t spend much time with children, so I am pretty out of touch with the way children think sometimes. Being involved with something I am interested in doing somehow makes me less intrusive to their world, as they become inquisitive and start looking at the flowers with me, or start telling me stories, or simply play with each other in my presence. The child above spontaneously bowed a flower down to smell it as I walked away.

I’ve just begun the process of getting back into the studio. I can’t say I’ve made a LOT of progress… but I’m starting to play. I’m just layering colors and patterns, trying to figure out my next step. I also started a new painting based on the process workshop I took a couple weekends ago. So far, I like the original piece best, though it does create some presentation problems (painted on buckly paper that’s not easy to hang). I wanted to re-create it as a layered glass painting. So far it lacks the intensity of wildness of the first. Maybe it’s not a good idea to try to re-create a painting. But I also don’t feel that I should have to reinvent the wheel every time I begin. I know there’s more I can do with this idea, and it’ll be interesting to see where it goes.

The technique of painting on glass is inherently less spontaneous than tempera on paper. It’s necessary to keep areas of the painting clean, so that the lower layers are revealed. This requires me to adopt a more careful attitude towards the work, and it’s already looking more stiff in its composition. (The “moon” in this photo is actually a reflection of the paper lantern hanging in my studio, but it gives me another idea to add to the painting. 😉

In the meantime I might also dig out some of those photos I’ve been collecting. Might be some food for new imagery among all the botanical studies. Though I am transferring my balcony studio back to the basement and it’s starting to get nippy, it can still be a time for blooming.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “another new beginning”

  1. Hi Robin,
    I don’t know if you remember me- I am the artist who does standing figures,
    mixed media, here in Taos… I bought some of your prints at your garage sale
    and have been enjoying them so much.
    Yesterday morning as I was meditating I began thinking once again of a series of children’s book I want to write and wondering how to find an artist
    to illustrate them… all this as I’m staring at your work! Would you be interested? I think we could work well together, I love the way you blend realism and fantasy, I love your sense of color and texture and vision.
    Possible?
    Let me know – I feel very good about this!
    danielle@taosnet.com
    or feel free to call: 575-751-0164 cell: 575-779-0627
    Blessings to you!
    Danielle

  2. […] of a child some months back, snapped during a walk through my neighborhood (the original photo is this earlier post). In the original photo, the child bends down a large flower in order to smell it, so I exaggerated […]

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