I stopped painting years ago. When the boys were young, we decided that my typical subject matter was probably not going to be helpful since the oldest boy had been sexually molested. At the same time I had transitioned from the MFA program to the MPA program and I had more bookwork to do. That was followed by the doc program that overlapped starting a new career. There was no time to paint when I was trying to master programming and counting and all the reading and study requirements. So painting got lost along the way.
Over the course of the three years I spent studying art as an undergraduate I became something of a credible artist as a technical matter, particularly as a painter. I was a fair designer and maker of silver jewelry and decent as a potter. Generally though, my painting and drawing evoked only minimal interest. It didn’t really reach people. I look back on that work now and I understand why. It was shallow.
Worse, it was all interior monologue. Subject matter tired to references that I carried around with me but no one else did. In other words, inside baseball, but fantasy baseball. It wasn’t easily reachable. Like many of my jokes. It worked for me at the time because are became therapy to get through a nasty divorce and find a new starting place.
Even worse though than being shallow, the treatment of of the subjects in the paintings tended so far towards the superficial they were almost symbolic. Symbolic can work, but only with a much stronger sense of design and language of the design. Something that carries from work to work.
I know why this was. I didn’t really connect with people and so it was too much to expect my paintings to connect with people. And it is not that I really noticed. I too often had other things on my mind. I was impatient.
Now I am painting again. There have been other starts over the years, but this feels different. I have four canvases underway. I have given up all pretext of believing I should follow certain rules and ideas I was taught. I don’t care any more. I’m going to follow my muse, however short and chaotic he or she seems to be, and paint what I feel. And right now that is portraits from selfies. My skills and techniques are rusty. I am occasionally unsure. But there is something there that was missing before.
There are strong connections at play in these pieces. The subjects and I have connected. I am seeing more deeply who they are and what I want to show, and I am able to show that. At least to them. Their reactions have stunned me. They have stunned me into believing that I have got this. These paintings are connecting. Apparently, my muse is all about connections.
I am looking forward to showing these pieces when finished, because I am an artist.