ancient moth

ancient moth (2)

He flew on earth decades ago.  He flies in heaven now, heavenly moth.

I have pictorial plans for this guy.  The wheels are turning.  You see, one finds all manner of strange and curious things during the Big Tidy Campaign of 2017.

the things you tell yourself

seashell drawings in the studio.jpg

Here’s some of the seashell drawings propped in the studio.  Those readers who followed my Big Tidy Campaign of 2017 as it was inspired by Marie Kondo’s delightful book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, are perhaps shaking your heads now wondering where I fell off the rails.

Well, the Big Tidy continues.  But sometimes the studio gets a bit cluttered.  Tis all part of the creative process.  (Or that’s what I tell myself. )

making progress

koi watercolor on table.png

I have been away from my blog while deeply entrenched in a project to reorganize my whole house and studio.  It’s been quite an adventure, has provided a massive physical workout, and I’m still not done.

However, I am so much closer to my goal and that fact makes me feel marvelous.  I was inspired in part by Maria Kondo’s insightful book “the life-changing magic of tidying up.”  Her advice comes in handy as I plow through decades of possessions.

For now though, for today, I’m taking a bit of a breather.  I decided to fiddle faddle around with an old watercolor of koi.  It’s been over a month since I’ve done any painting so I’ve earned a little art time.  Once I get the first phase of my project completed, though, I’ll be able to use my still life table in ways I never before dreamed!

 

the Big Tidy Continues

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The household reorganization continues, and it brings many joys.  Marie Kondo in her book “the life-changing magic of tidying up” recommends that you begin the big toss by starting with the easy things — starting first with clothes.  I did that earlier this week, and it was marvelous to get rid of old items.  I’ve trimmed down to essentials.  Many things are going to the dumpster and many to the thrift store.

But I have also rediscovered many wonderful old things.  Kondo, who is a great appreciator of art, has directed her book toward the non-artist public so she doesn’t address the whole still life question.  Clearly artists face a more than ordinary temptation to hoard stuff.  So I take her basic principles and merely apply them to this other category of things.  But going through the clothes, a few things have now transferred from “clothes” to “still life cloth.”  Some of those transfers are quite just because these are things that truly do “spark joy.”  Now the future joy will no longer be in the wearing but in the spectacle of seeing the colors and patterns behind various still life objects.

Nonetheless, the clutter gradually and steadily recedes.  New spaces and opportunities appear.  These are joyful days.  I reencounter many memories.  I discover new possibilities.

I seem to discard things and get ideas in their stead.  I become rich in ideas.  And I love ideas!  So I am indeed quite rich now.  Isn’t it marvelous?

[At the top of the post, one of the early paintings I encountered again.  I also retrieved the mustard colored cloth (actually a satchel) that appears in it.  The cloth will be making new appearances in the days ahead.]

almost a year ago

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Almost a year ago I began working on this cartoon for a painting.  I don’t recall what prompted it. I carried it with me when my daughter was taking a class somewhere, and I worked on it inside an empty art classroom while I waited. It was my portable project.

I had plans for painting it that I still have not as yet realized.  But the idea has stuck with me.  It’s one of several thoughts I have about future flower paintings.  Now it seems almost fortuitous that I waited since the Frederick Bazille exhibit at the National Gallery of Art includes several large paintings of flowers.

I can begin my picture while I have all these exemplary models near by.  Also, you see, being in the midst of the Big Tidy Campaign of 2017, one becomes nostalgic. In fact I discovered that a year had passed after finding, while I was cleaning, an old notebook from a year ago where I had been recording the ideas.

I blogged about it too.  Somewhere I have a bunch of related drawings.  These reproductions will probably be easier to locate than the originals — even now — even as I sort through stuff.

Shh, I’m thinking

planes of the head guy

In this the Big Tidy Campaign of 2017 one encounters many thorny questions. I have several conundrums that I face.  In those moments work stops, and I must think.

It’s no use just bashing about — one needs a plan.  Actually I have a plan.  But the obstacles (there are obstacles), they slow you down.

To represent these episodes of cogitation, I have pulled out this little drawing of Planes of the Head Guy. I don’t have a Planes of the Head Guy myself.  I drew someone else’s Planes of the Head Guy a while back.

I confess it confused me at first. I was wondering as I was looking at this drawing (clearly after a sculpture) why I hadn’t drawn the other eye.  Then I remembered.  “It’s Planes of the Head Guy.”  Of course.

He is only anatomical on one side.  He’s mostly planes on the other side.  “Ah,” you say, “that explains it.”  Would that the obstacles to the Big Tidy were as clearly discerned.

Anyway, I’m thinking.  We’re thinking.  Me and Planes of the Head Guy.

dark fishes

dark fish

The subterranean aspects of house cleaning take you into the dark waters where sometimes dark fishes swim unseen in the murk.  Okay, I guess that’s a mixed metaphor unless I have a koi pond in the house — oh wait — I do.   I do have a koi pond in the house.  I have many koi ponds in the house.  I should count them sometime. But as I was saying …

House cleaning is like dreaming, and certain images — when you find them behind this or that item dredged up from the general disorder — take on renewed significance.  I know that as I sift through things, I will find used ideas, and some new-to-me ideas — even though they are really my ideas — and yet my old ideas are like hand-me-downs from my past self to Present Tense Me.

Well, anyway suffice it to say that house cleaning is such a creative endeavor that you wonder why you don’t do it more often — except for the realization that it was the separation in time that gives the old ideas their new power.

House cleaning is an amazing experience.  Try it.  Marie Kondo says we will be transformed.

 

transformation comes slowly

butterfly drawing blocked

Cleaning house is a psychological event.  I have already had more than one reunion with a long lost item.  I am discovering while reading Marie Kondo’s book “the life-changing magic of tidying up” that many things that fill my house can easily be tossed.  I haven’t used them in years.  I don’t need them.  I’ll never use them.  Time to release such things back into the wild.

But I am also finding many things that were merely hidden under the crush of stuff.  Retrieving these items is archaeology.  Rediscovering these hidden items gives me access to other parts of my memory.  They are like windows opening onto my past life.

And so cleaning house is a bit like dreaming.

I never know exactly what I will find. I open a door and an image is waiting there.

I am welcoming many long interred ideas back into my life.  And it is changing me.

Memory is a source of invention.

so there you are

dundee-still-life

In the Big Tidy Campaign of 2017 certain paintings that I haven’t seen for a while have come to light again.  The painting of flowers above is one of them.  It measures 30 x 40 inches without the frame.  It was one of the first large flower paintings I did, the one that created the theme.

It has other companions that have been developing over the years.  And now that Frederick Bazille’s paintings are at the National Gallery of Art, an exhibit that includes large flower paintings by Bazille, Renoir, Monet and others, I will have lots of inspiration when I get into full flower mode.

Some of the others include these guys:

 

Thinking about when I’ll be able to get into full flower mode helps keep me on track during the Big Tidy Campaign of 2017.  One needs some motivation!

 

insight comes in waves

calm waves pastel

I’m live blogging my Big Tidy Campaign of 2017 — only live blogging for now.  The drunk blogging may come later.  So far, the work’s exasperating but manageable.

I am essentially moving my studio — or big chunks of it out of my sweet little house.  That’s the plan.  For the present I can only move the stuff to a kind of “staging area” for later transit.  And even the things that I could theoretically move from the house today are mostly staying put because it’s raining.

Meanwhile Miss Dog is whining incessantly because, au fond, dogs are not very patient creatures.  I told her that once all the work is complete, she can be Official Studio Dog, and then we will be inseparable.  Today, however, we are not going to be spending time together because — let’s face it — dogs are not all that helpful to the house tidy routine.

Dogs are too nosey, for one thing.  Every object must be sniffed.  I don’t know why.  But I haven’t got time for it.

Well, I am making physical, mental and spiritual progress. But I let the picture at the top represent these benefits.  I cannot photograph the house itself.  Work has only just begun — and it’s still in that horror movie stage.

Really, it’s just too scary.  Even for the internet.