Friday, December 01, 2006
I woke up at 10 pm, three hours ago. I kept seeing nails, huge nails. I held them firmly in my hand imagining them pressing on my hands and feet and into my heart. In my dreams, I stored the nails in my work apron pocket. I passed them out. I tied burgundy ribbons on them and hung them on a tree.
What does a nail mean? Nails bind objects together like glue or tape or more aggressively staples. Nails bind wood to build homes. Stakes, huge nails, bind tents to the ground. In Roman times, stakes bound criminals to crosses of wood.
Sometimes words just do not say it all. Nails speak to me and for me. They say more than I can manage with words. Pain and beauty in one place. Sorrow and acquainted with grief, those who bear the mark of the nails are bound together by One. Alone and not alone. Hopeless yet not without hope.
Oh, if only I could say thanks for the nails, I would be brave and strong. However, I do not want to think about nails that I carry in my pocket. I want to give them away. I prefer to share my grief that is meant for me to bear. Unresolved and trembling I look for a brighter day. But not for now, not for me.
It is not about me or... my nails. I am part of something bigger than me. Bigger nails. Huge stakes.
Do you have nails? Where did you get them? How do you bear them? What do you do with them? Do you identify with those who carry a hammer or a cross?
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
I had been on a roll this summer painting everyday several hours, completely innumerable paintings. Now as I have been preparing for the fall, registering for a drawing class at the university, preparing to teach my own classes, preparing for the work of exhibition chair, and setting up my son’s half days homeschooling subjects, while I oversee as he scrambles to complete his Biology before summer ends, my head spins and Duh ….I find it hard to focus on painting. I squared away time to work yesterday morning, but all I could do was pace or yawn in my upstairs studio. I was disgusted with myself and my lethargy, when I had looked up and noticed that the clouds and rain had dissipated. The sun is shinning. On the spot I realized I could finish my lagoon painting. Still a bit sluggish, I packed my gear into the back of the van, picked up something to drink and drove off.
The moment I unloaded the car and started walking down to the site, everything changed. I felt alive. This painting spot is a blessing. The world is good. Thank God I am a painter and can be surrounded by this teeming life and beauty. I set up and began painting, for several hours.
Many people walked by, asking the usual, making comments, and giving me the oohs and ahs. It was amazing the number of people yesterday who lived in the area 20 years but had never been in this park until their walk yesterday. They were like kids who had just seen their first fireworks. They were dizzy with exuberance.
As for my painting it is nearly done. I need to watch how far I push the detail. I am working on simplifying and getting the striking essence of the scene, not a photographic image. I want to keep the brush strokes loose and organic to the movement I see in the scene as well as motion record of brushing the paint. I was in a rut in my studio. I think I need to get out of my studio to paint, when I feel like I can’t focus at home. Trying to avoid become too detailed with the site in front of me, this morning I will finish the piece in my studio giving myself a 45min limit. Then I think I will work on anatomy drawing for several hours until lunch.
I am not going to touch my computer today again till after 3pm after I post this reflection.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Whether we listen to the rain or one another it is about time and choice. What do you value and choose?
Friday, August 18, 2006
These following paintings are made in oil, a media I returned to after years sabatical. This Arched Trellis is located on my front yard.
This view of my neighbors patio was a study in light and reflection. As I travel through the series of plein air painting I see my brush stokes loosen and and color explode.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
This is a continuation of the experimenting with oil painting. This view is from my back patio.
This was a challenging morning to paint because the weather alternated between sunny and torential rain and mist. I painted this looking out from inside my garage to our neighbors across the street. I call this Across the Way.
The previous paintings were relatively small all around 10 x12 or 8 x10 inches. This unfinished piece is about three times that size. I have some questions about the buildings and the "veriticals" in this piece. Any critical comments would be appreciated.
This View from the Hammock gives you some idea of the lush greens in my shade garden in the front of the house.
I feel like I am growing in my use of paint and structuring form with color. I really feel a need to explore my "imagery." I have ideas about the power of the figure set in various settings. I would like to include the figure more in my painting. however, my neighborhood is very suburban and empty during the day. Studying the figure in various ways, anatomically, through gesture drawing and finally developing figure work from my imagination is one way I conceive of developing my work further. One of the reasons I took the CIVA workshop session Figure in the Environment was to get my visual mind immersed in the figure. I still feel a need to work with the figure. My sketchbook is developing into a place where I experiment with inventing figures in various postions and settings.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Sometimes being alright with being alone is the beginning of getting to know yourself. Painting is often called a lonely task, but I don’t sense that when I paint. For me a painting or drawing seems to almost take on a life of its own. It is more like a dance. Sometimes it is like a pleasant Viennese waltz or a steamy Flamenco of Andalusia. I am never really alone when I paint. Sometimes working with a painting is like entering a sparing match or better, mortal combat. I ask my self why I am doing this. It is thrilling, terrifying, yet dreadfully separate from my humanity that breathes.
If I truly want to be alone, without the struggle, the dance, the sparing match, I must be outside digging my toes in the sand or feeling the breeze on my cheek. I must be in God’s garden for me. There I can rest, think and re-navigate my path. There I find that I am never really alone. The weariness of the fight fades away into oblivion.
This draw to the field, the trees, reaching into the sky has been true for me since I was a young girl. Such solace! Perhaps that is why I have naturally fallen into being a landscape painter; it is a meditation on His loveliness flowing out of His creative power.
This I know about what is important to me. I am at my best when I am able to experience the sounds and smells and caress of the air of nature. Even the crispiest day of winter rails of power and glory that sweeps away the boredom of central heating and air conditioning. So ultimately I am least alone when I am most alone in raw creation.
In my new life this reality about who I am must be recognized. It is central to who I am. It is a non-verbal prayer and a communication that is received and returned a thousand fold. It stills all controversy.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Family and Friends,
I would like to share with you some thoughts. As an artist I have felt for a long time that my work does not sufficiently reflect the essence of my calling as a human being on the earth. My life is bifurcated, or rather too compartmentalized: consequently, my artwork is truncated. Having been encouraged (not only by you from the CIVA workshop, but several other sources) to journal as a means of identifying my true goals and personal purpose, I think a blog journal might form an integration point for my artwork in my life.
Why Re-invent Life?
In life the pressing need seems to catch up to us. Life itself presents changes. Some changes are so disorienting that they require one to re-invent life. Major changes have occurred and will continue to occur in the future. Now my life is being re-invented. How does one go about re-inventing life? For a while that is going to be the subject of my personal blog: Art Thoughts with Judith Reidy .
Change comes in many forms: a move, a loss, restlessness due to pointless tedium, age, or a whole host of conditions. We all experience change whether we welcome it, it is thrust upon us, or we ourselves initiate it.
Because in some way you have touched me, I would very much like to invite you to comment, add your own thoughts and in general share in this search.
This inquiry from Alyson B. Standfield got me thinking about my life and how would I answer these questions.
1. If we were meeting three years from today, what has to have happened for you to feel happy about your progress?
2. What are the biggest obstacles you’ll face in order to achieve that progress?
3. What are the biggest opportunities you have that you would need to focus on to achieve those things?
4. What strengths do you have that you’ll call upon?
5. What skills or resources will you need to develop that you don’t currently have?
This following quote is what prompted me to initiate “writing my thoughts” in order to find out what I think.
“Write to find out what you think. Unless you know what you think you will always be subject to the will of others, including the media that so pervasively shape contemporary culture. Try to understand and state your motivations and reasons for believing and acting in particular ways. This is one reason to write. Draw to give your thinking visual form.” Deborah J. Haynes
I know many of you have experienced change in the form of loss or through some other situation. Others of you, artists, are concerned with developing an imagery that reflects that golden nugget placed within you as a human being. We are all engaged in the process of re-inventing.
Welcome on the journey.
In His world,