Although I made art as a kid and as a student, as an adult I believed I could not paint full time. Cultivation of my gifts, whatever they might be, was only one part of being a daughter, sister, partner, friend, wage earner, and citizen. However, two years ago I had the opportunity to give it a try. I began a program of self-directed study to practice art as a profession. It was not an easy fit. Despite the desire to spend more time painting, for me it is not a job or a hobby but a calling, as quaint as that sounds in the omnipresent marketplace of 2009. Regardless, increased time yielded improvement. As James Thurber said, “There’s no such thing as good art or bad art. There’s only art — and damn little of it.”
This year I continued to paint from direct observation on a personal scale. Casually arranged objects were seen in a particular light and painted all at once. I focused on the basics: color and light, composition, open form, point of view, and the calligraphic and material qualities of paint on paper. I wanted to match in oil the contrast and energy of my drawings. Clay-like paint handling got a little more fluid. I returned to a limited palette of red, yellow, blue and white. Outdoor painting traversed the heat and bugs of Virginia and Vermont, to crisp fall mornings in Wellesley on the Charles River, South Natick, and Charlestown.
I was favored with recognition by receiving a residency and Fellowship, a commendation grant, jury acceptance in group shows, complemented with additional studio space separate from home.
Computers consumed countless hours. Sometimes the last twenty years seem mostly to have been spent crawling through tangled in wires beneath tables dangerously overladen with electronic equipment, that in a parallel universe crashed down and crushed me to death, yet I survived in this one. The habit is hard to shake. Or is it routine?
Imperfect progress. What makes life worth living remains: a bath, a meal, a conversation, a poem; a list that cannot contain everything that is worthwhile yet must include the effort to paint.
ABOVE: Tilly at the Sink, oil on panel, 10 x 12 inches (25 x 30 cm), 1989