During my absence from my blog I did continue writing. I’m a fanatical journal writer — so much so that I’ve begun to think of my journals as my “brain,” and I’d be hard pressed to even think if I couldn’t write a lot of my ideas down. Writing seems like the only way of making thoughts become real. Perhaps that’s because I’m otherwise rather badly organized and prone to forgetfulness.
Anyway, writing is so habitual for me that I’ve wondered sometimes if writing isn’t really what I should be doing instead of painting. Then it hit me. One reason I don’t do art when I’m “between places,” as I’ve been for over a month now, is that I always seem to need something to actually look at when I work. I’ve never been one of those artists who doodles, or who dreams things up in imagination. I like to have a subject of some kind sitting right in front of me. I’m an observer. I draw what I see. It might be a combination of things. It might be sometimes a real object, sometimes a photograph, sometimes a drawing that I look at and record. But it’s always something. I want vision to be rich, immediate, a real-time sensation from eye to brain.
So, maybe it’s time I branched out a little. I often advise others to try new skills and get out of the comfort zone. Here’s an instance where maybe I should take some of my own advice.
The image at the top of this post is one of a series of large paintings by American artist Jennifer Bartlett. Given that it’s a painting of little pieces of paper with notes jotted on them, it illustrates my theme of the tug-a-war between words and images. She attacked it pretty directly. She did paintings of writing. It’s from her series 24 Hours Air.