Friday, September 2, 2011

Day 1 Color Impressions

So I don't consider myself a painter at all, and I don't often draw or sketch much of anything, but during my last week in San Diego I was introduced to a liberating expressive art studio, where people gather to collectively create with color.  Otto and Raquel and I attended an 'Art Lunch', for which people bring their lunch and set themselves free with paint collectively on a huge shared piece of paper taped to the wall.  I enjoyed it enough that I went back for an individual expressive art therapy session, focussed on my decision whether or not to come to this residency.  I made a large, colorful, chaotic painting, half relating to my feelings about coming to Colorado and half about the possibility of not coming, and what that might mean.
Obviously I decided to come, and I further decided I wanted to use this tool of uninhibited color application as part of my process for dealing with my complicated emotions, and for getting to know the ranch and coming into relationship with the physical environment.  This is what I made on my first full day here:

This is my impression of my internal feelings:  intense anxiety and fear, yet making a heroic effort to contain myself and begin to look beyond my inner turmoil to the excitement and possibilities of being here.
A detail of the same drawing.  I am using chalk pastels as an initial layer and then adding details with oil pastels.
Another detail - my father asked me what color my anxiety might be, so here it came out orange with purple chaotic energetic impulses, against a ground of black.

This is the second color impression for the day, a simple observation of the view outside the window of the studio: grasses, a fence, and a sky hung with some heavy clouds.  It doesn't look like much, but that's not the point.  The point is that drawing it brought me into closer relationship with the ranch environment, and forced me to make some more detailed observations than I would have otherwise.  I also found the process of spreading the color on the page helped distract from and calm my raging anxiety.
A detail of the road, grasses, and the wooden post fence.  I really enjoyed smearing the chalk pastels with my fingers and then attacking the paper with the oil pastels.
A detail of the sky.  This morning the sky was almost completely blue, but by the time I was studying it in the early afternoon some clouds heavy with rain were gathering in different spots.  It still looked mostly fair, and I was surprised to get caught in a shower when I took a walk.  Drawing these clouds and taking that walk both taught me something about the variability and unpredictability of the skies here.  Pay attention to the darkness in the corners!


Joanna said...

In your first impression on your first day, I immediately thought of the drawing as a carbon footprint, quite different from the interpretation you give. I see an outline like a boot, clomping down on the earth...I like the ways you perceive your environment and look forward to more.

Tom Hirst said...

Excellent entry!! You are so articulate!! I loved the discussion of how art is an action, a verb as Tish says ---- you show it as a process of discovery. Terrific!

Tom Hirst