WORK IN PROGRESS⚠️
Photograph reference of me and my twin sister by the super shooter herself: @somerrunner 🖤
Even though the engagement and constant noise in the world can be distracting, I don’t think there’s ever a time when you’re not mindful. But, certainly you are not always paying attention. It’s impossible not to be mindful, it’s what you’re paying attention to:
Are you daydreaming? Or are you doing not-thinking. Where is the attention? The mind is always there. It’s never not there.
“But all we really want, and I speak for the entire human race here, is contact. Someone to let us know that we aren’t alone. That the world isn’t a dream and that you and I are really happening at the same time, even if it’s not in the same place. That this is real. You’re really there. I’m really here. We’re real. This is real.” Pleasefindthis
Oil on canvas 36x24”
Four oil studies on unstretched canvas and @moleskine 👨🎨: 1.☁️2.🍏3.🥀4.🍋.
“A painter can say all she wants to with fruit, or flowers, or even clouds.”-E.Manet
I have a lot to say. I definitely think there’s a touch of darkness to my work most of the time, and sometimes I wonder if people find this to mean I’m somewhat of a dark person? Truth be told, I’m still learning my own painting language, and I think that’s probably evident in that I haven’t assigned any particular style to my work. I work in acrylic and oils and treat each medium quite differently.
Inventing a style is a great way to come up with an inauthentic body of work. I think it’s better to just work a lot and not think about style. Just work and grow and see what emerges. You won’t see it in 10 or 20 pieces. You’ll start to see the threads of your own work in maybe 50 or hell, 500 pieces.
Talk to any artist and I’m sure they will not be able to tell you how to do it. One will do it one way, another does it this other way.... you need to find your own way.
And some of their elements will become part of your own but in a different order.
Philip Guston says that when he starts a painting he feels the presence of all the painters through history that influenced him and when he starts a painting all of them are kind of looking over his shoulder and one by one they leave the room as he paints, until all that’s left is him.
You’re an amalgamation of your experiences that come together in such a way there’s no one else in the world like you. Be yourself, just do your friggin work, that’s where the authentic painting will come from.
⚠️ Work in progress ⚠️
There’s a Cherokee story where a grandfather teaches his grandson an important lesson:
There is a battle going on inside all of us. It is a battle between two wolves that live inside us.
One is evil: anger, fear, envy, sorrow, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, ego
The other is good: joy, courage, peace, love, hope, stillness, compassion, love.
Which wolf wins?
The one you feed.
Feed the good wolf.
Whatever wolf you choose there will always be someone to tell you that you are wrong. Fear and self doubt will eat you alive. Don’t give your power away. Stay aware of how you allow your thoughts to affect you. You always have a choice.
Feed the good wolf.
Oil on canvas 16”x20”.
For the person who matters most of all.
This painting has been going on for a very long time. For a few years before I even started it, actually. And when I did start it, I didn’t know how to make the marks I needed to in order to complete it.
I finished this last week after it sat on the shelf for several months. Last week, I wasn’t really ready to talk about it and to be honest, I don’t think I will be for some time.
But, you should know this piece has my whole body and energy.
And quite literally, my body as it’s been tattooed on my left forearm for a couple years.
When a piece is this size it takes a different level of physicality than smaller ones, reaching, up to the highest corners, moving it up or down the easel every other layer, running across the room to check perspective. I like to work like this: To feel physically wasted after a days work or after a night’s work on these increasingly restless times.
I’ll continue to bring my monsters to life with paint.
I want to see them as I know them, without any cause in this world.
I’ll be circling around the foxes for awhile yet.
. “…[Celebrate] the victories made each day as we individually pull ourselves up out of our foxholes to see our scars heal, and to remember what the sun looks like.” J. Lawson
Acrylic and gold / nickel / copper on canvas 3’x4’
⚠️Quick study (re: dumpster fire mess) in progress⚠️
I am more wolf
and I am still learning how to stop apologizing
for my wild.” -N.Gill
Oil and acrylic base layers on canvas 16x20”.
Most of my work starts out in this disturbing mess of blocked shapes and values and I’m fairly certain the proper term is this is the “underpainting.” The foundation.
Then, I get to trash it.
And I mean
Really just wreck the thing.
I start applying layer after layer to render the illusion of form. Often, I end up working at such a detail the body almost disappears, it just becomes paint. Paint that is showing off and doing tricks and playing games. And so I rumble with it.
I need control and flow and most importantly, substance.
The substance that appeals to me is these monsters, the personal monsters, and how confronting them shows us who we are and what it is to be human and to be affected by everything in life that ever made you feel anemic and small.
We need art and artists to help us feel and it’s important to remember that it is our job to do so. We need to be careful not to insulate ourselves from feeling because doing so will sterilize our work.
⚠️WORK IN PROGRESS⚠️
It’s still bear season.
I have a firm belief in comfort zones
and I like to operate outside them.
I think comfort zones are dangerous places for artists to work in.
When you get complacent in a certain style or your studio, that’s when interesting things stop happening.
The creative pursuit is a bit like bears. If you want to hunt little bears, you can stay in the familiar: in the forest, on the ice caps, in the alpine. But if you want to catch the big bears, you’ve got to be willing to get scared. Try looking in the sea, but go deeper. Get out of the shallows. Feel the fear of drowning in the deep end. Those bears? The ones far from the safety of the shoreline? Those are more powerful.They’re huge and abstract. And they are beautiful in their own way.
Go hunt the big bears.
Oil on canvas on hope 3’x4’ they are almost ready for layer 2🖤.
⚠️WORK IN PROGRESS⚠️
Chuck close said something in the vein of: “Inspiration is for amateurs. Professionals? We just go to work in the morning.”
[id like to mention right here I am not a professional artist, I am a nurse practitioner by profession].
It’s not about waiting for hours for the moment inspiration or motivation strikes.
I really like this quote. it relieves you of a lot pressure.
It’s just about showing up and getting started and something amazing happens ,or, it doesn’t. .
All that matters is you enabled the chance for something to happen. And for that you have to stand at the easel and paint and make decisions and hope for the best.
Start before you’re ready. Start with uncertainty. Start with fear. This is the biggest secret of creative output: just start. .
After all, no one else is going to do it for you and you’re the closest person around, might as well do. Your. Work.
I’m still processing the one I just finished, truth be told. But I’m not going to sleep on the thought I’ll wake up motivated tomorrow. I usually don’t. But once I get rolling I can’t honestly say I ever regret starting.
Acrylic on canvas on hope 30”x40”. Base layers, stage 1.
Portrait of me in my studio by: @somerrunner.
To continue thoughts from yesterday’s story, let’s talk about beauty. I was not offended by the person who commented “she look old in the face.” I wanted to start a dialogue about subjectivity and the ‘standard’ of beauty.
There’s a flower on the ground, pick it up. Is it beautiful? yes. Yes it is.
Put the flower behind your back.
Is it still beautiful? Yes.
Yes it still is beautiful.
Beauty is not in the flower.
Beauty is in your mind.
She look old in the face. Damn right she do. This face is proof I have survived 100% of my worst days. I’m 31 and I won’t attempt to be anything less than.
How you shine in darkness is more often remembered than anything you looked like before you went through it.
Aliza and Her Monsters