Friday, September 2, 2011

About Making Plans

Life got in my way again last week. My plan was to put a transparent layer of yellow on the painting that is destined to be yellow (third from left in the photo below), to inject some lighter areas into the orange one, and to think through what it will take to make the far right one more red without totally losing the interest it has now. The green piece on the left will have to wait a while. It needs to be made more uniform in color and could use some lights. Working on these was my projected immediate future.

But on Friday I got a request for four paintings to be consigned to a consultant in Boston. This is what brings home the bacon and therefor takes priority. My son came to help on Saturday. One of the paintings was a six footer and hard to handle, plus putting four large canvases into a ten inch diameter, six foot tube designed for concrete tubing made a heavy, clumsy package. I needed assistance of the unpaid variety. Because my studio storage system is far less than ideal, unearthing these paintings and then packing them converted my orderly workspace into a shambles. On Monday, when I finally had the energy and courage to face the mess, I realized that I knew what was in the assorted piles of raw materials, half finished work, and collage components, at least in part, because of where I had them placed them on my tables. (The finished paintings lay flat, covered and protected under these masses of matter.) Two days later I had everything in shape and in far better order then before. Today (Thursday) I write the blog and go to the library, farmer’s market and do the errands of the week. Tomorrow, I will work at the business of marketing art and on the weekend, I will do some of the computer work on the collage material I make, one of my favorite activities. And I’ll take some time off, another favorite pursuit. Good week, not completely as planned. Only a little frustrating.

Still, I go on making plans. Adding the time of anticipation expands, extends and enhances something one looks forward to. Care must be taken not to overdo, for there is always the risk of overestimating the success of the plan. Especially if one is fond of scripting the future. Hard to keep in check though. I buy a lottery ticket now and then which gives me permission to fantasize about the studio I would design — with lots of convenient storage space. But when the day comes to check on the winning number, I put it off. It would upset the plan of the day to have to suddenly deal with all that money. Sound crazy? Then you don’t understand that most fantasies are best as fantasies. Reality, in this case, would mean taking my studio apart and then putting it back together again. Don’t even like to think about that (though I may have to soon). Another downside of a win would be the disruption of the painting projects that I am so much involved in now. I hate when that happens because if the pause is a long one the project loses its appeal and must be set aside. That is the history of most of the unfinished work in my studio. Most of it gets done eventually but there is always a sense of loss that is integral to the experience.

On Monday I will paint.

Andre Maurois: The effectiveness of work increases according to geometric progression if there are no interruptions. 
And Lewis Mumford: Today, the degradation of the inner life is symbolized by the fact that the only place sacred from interruption is the private toilet. 

The image above is an example of the collage material I make: my own painting, scanned and manipulated and then printed to later embed in the paintings.

The image below is the current state of the quartet in progress, 35” x 25” each, mixed media on heavy etching paper. 


  1. Funny, I've been fantasizing about calling you to release frustration about these very things- how much life gets in the way of painting. I love what you have to say each week, so wonderful to hear what we experience so well written- and to know it's shared is so comforting. Mostly, I can't figure how to post comments here, so if you get this one, I'm reading and loving your blog each week. Thank you! Regina

  2. Congratulations on your Boston assignment. You deserve it and it's nice to know someone on the East coast sees you.

    I love the current quartet. You are an AMAZING artist.

  3. Thank you. I'm having a good time with this project and moving slowly and cautiously. I am learning to think every step of the way which is not the same as the way I worked when I was younger. Well, there has to be some benefit to aging and this is one of the best.

  4. To Anonymous: I guess the upside to hating disruption is that we don't get bored.

  5. Congrats--I cross my fingers the consignment turns into a delivery of bacon!

    My daily plans for being productive always seem to go down the toilet these days. I whine. I love the quotes.

  6. Hi Chipmunk, Bacon is much appreciated, as are your comments and encouragement.