Wednesday, January 27, 2010

familiar territory

On the eve of starting new paintings, I find myself in touch with familiar feelings. To commit to an image is a vulnerable process, just as most commitments are. I see two blank canvases in front of me waiting for me to choose from all the ideas and options. Which ideas are strong enough to give form to? Will the best ones rise to the surface? Which path do I take? Do I express a broader theme or one that is close to my skin, straight from the heart? What are the consequences of this articulation? What are the benefits? Who will see it? Who won't?

I had a conversation not that long ago about my fears and concerns about this very process. I wanted to be honest about the vulnerability it stirred in me. This is the very struggle that I feel right now rising up, the same emotions I have before I embark on my loudest and most passionate work. Unfortunately, that conversation ended up being a pivotal moment in my recent past, it pushed me here. I found myself at one point wishing I could take the truth back. However, it was genuine and more than that, it is what makes art important for me. It is the space that presents me as a whole being. It isn't easy, it isn't comfortable, it asks me to say things I'd rather keep inside, it makes me visible and obvious, appreciation is not guaranteed, it beckons the question "are you strong enough?" Somedays I don't really know, and that is a healthy exploration to make before any commitment. If this process was without fear and doubt what would I learn from it? Would it be worth the time and effort? Would it even interest me?

So here I am asking myself "why does this feel familiar?" and "is it ok?" This is what makes art so beautiful and so terrifying. It not only speaks profoundly but it asks of you, it asks for all of you. I can not escape by hiding behind comforts and security blankets, it strips me to the core. Sometimes it scares me, it's easy to run away. However, I know that although it may not always be pretty, when it is, it's well worth it. So, I am approaching my fears yet again. It seems to be a common occurrence for me lately. I can finally see these fears and vulnerabilities for what they are, just pieces of the whole. I can embrace them and I will move past I have done before. Art is a is love, as is life.

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