An anagram this does not make. Oh well.
In any case, welcome to summer, where people seemed to have forgotten to keep their social distances. What is the deal with people starting to stand so close to me everywhere? Why aren't they wearing their facemasks? And when they do, why are some people wearing them below their noses? Do these people consider themselves mouth-breathers? What good does that do? I'll tell you, it does no good. Might as well not wear one at all. My advice is to stay out of Walmart.
Summer gets hot in Joshua Tree, but the desert smells unbelievably amazing. It's a distinct blend of wildflowers, mesquite, creosote bushes, and whatever else flies through the air at high velocity from the leftover floret of springtime. No good for the allergies though. But I fricken love it anyway. It smells a little like new rain, only better. Some people know what I mean, the rest of you can imagine, I hope.
So, in our last episode, I talked about making decisions. I decided or said I decided that I wanted to write more newsletters. Who knows if I'll follow through with that. I'll definitely try, but I seem to make a lot of declarations that I don't, or won't, necessarily carry out. I have to stop carving these things into stone. Not that I do, literally. Come on.
But sometimes it feels like when I make these "announcements," I'm obligated to do as I say. I stress myself out and feel pressure to do them. However, who's holding me to these statements? The newsletter police?
If you remember, I went into some detail about painting abstracts on paper grocery bags. I even set up a workspace in my garage specifically for spray mounting collage bits in a less toxic environment. It was a good idea and everything. Though, after that I started dragging my feet. I don't know why, because I was so excited about the whole idea in the first place. I collected a bunch of bags, carefully deconstructed them, prepped and glued them, ironed the fronts and the backs. I had already sketched and colored at least twelve compositions over the course of a few weeks prior. Maybe I got burned out? I still think it's a good idea--in theory. But now I just feel blah about it.
Making these investments and putting time, money, and energy into a project comes with the art territory I guess. Well, in any area of life and in any job. Sometimes, people continue to go down a road they hate, or they stay on a path that's not working for them just because they've already invested so much into it. Maybe they've spent a lot of time imagining how it was all going to be, or dedicated their education, research, finances, and have even announced it all over the place--to their parents, friends, and families. If you quit now, you look like an idiotic flaky fool, right? This not only happens with goals, it happens in marriages and relationships too. It can be devastating when those don't work out. You feel like a failure and it's downright embarrassing. You wonder, do I have to give the wedding gifts back?
But I'm just talking about art here. Specifically, paper bags. Seems trivial now, doesn't it? Well, for me, it was sort of important, and it's embarrassing when it doesn't work out, especially when I'm making newsletter announcements about all my grand schemes.
But it doesn't matter (because nothing matters), and no one really cares. I realized I don't want to pursue the paper bags. So what? Big deal. Not right now, anyway. I kept thinking to myself, self, I just want to paint. I know what you might be thinking. Weren't the paper bags paintings? Well, not exactly. They are more like collage paintings. They were also experimental. Honestly, they were something I was doing to solve a problem. Part of that problem had to do with the environment. The other part had to do with storage issues. I felt compelled to make a smaller footprint, if you will.
Anyway, as of now, abandon bag! Sometimes destruction, revolution, or abandonment is necessary in order to make something new happen. You have to tear down a building to make a new one.
So say goodbye to these for a while.
Now, what does it mean when I say I just want to paint?
While recently working on the SEO for my website, I came to the realization that my art, overall, is pretty strange. I mean, it's strange in the way I intend it to be. It's as authentic as it gets, I guess. If I cared about making commercial art that sells, I wouldn't be making such weird stuff. It's not that the bags weren't honest, or commercial, or non-commercial, or not odd enough. It's that I have a little voice inside of me that wants to be free to viscerally express myself and not think so much. Those bags were making my brain sticky like my mind was a head of lettuce covered in honey. Right now, I'd much rather get back to paintings like this:
I suppose I've been missing me. It's not that I'd lost my authentic self, but I think my entire presence hadn't been in the studio. Now it's come back. It's unpacked its suitcase, kicked off its shoes, and has made itself at home.
Now I'm just starting to happily paint again. I have nothing finished to show you yet. However, here is a work in progress on the easel. When it's completed, it will officially be my 1,000th painting--something to be celebrated, no? Better than a 50th birthday or a kick in the eye, I'll say.
It's going to be called, Horse Thoughts, of course. It's oil on linen, 18 x 24 inches, and I'm about halfway done.
As I said before, I've been working on the SEO for my website and have been titling some of my web pages differently so I'll be a little more relevant on Google searches. I've also been trying to finish the monumental task of finishing the painting descriptions in my database of 999 works. If you notice, each page on my site that includes a painting has a short description. I usually create these as I post them, but I had a backlog of over 600 when I invented that feature, so I've been slowly filling them in over time. I have about 80 more to go and it will finally be completed.
Then I can start a brand new database of over 2500 sketches! That's a rough estimate because there might be a lot more. One day, everything will be completely documented, and won't you know it, computers will become obsolete.
As for other news, I do have a little.
My studio was featured on Hyperallergic for "A View From the Easel."
I was interviewed by artist, Ted Meyer for his Art and Med series as part of the Our Heart Speaks resource. (I've lost fifteen pounds since that interview btw.)
And mjp and I set up a new artist's forum called Creative Spark. So far, there's almost 50 members and growing. Won't you register and join the fun conversations? We're building a community where all artists can talk about anything they want. Go to CreativeSpark.art and participate!
I'm still writing. Working on my novel, Queer as Mud. The first true draft is coming along, slowly surely, and I'm making pretty good progress with almost 17,000 words so far. The short story book has been a bit dormant the last couple of months, only because some of them are going to be incorporated into the novel. I'll get back to the book of short stories sooner or later. One thing at a time, right?
So, I should tell you that I'm offering a few sales: FREE US shipping on these custom Á la Dan Kabbalah prints that are only $35! As well as free US shipping on the special limited edition Sharpnel in the San Fernando Valley memoirs.
I'm also slashing my drawing book, Carol Es une Monographie de Lignes in HALF! Now it's a mere $75. No shipping on that one either.
And remember, if you are interested in purchasing any artworks, I will take payment plans.
I think that about covers it for now. Be sure to read my blog if you want to capture the details for the (near) day-to-day, and don't forget to visit my website, esart.com for hours of fun.
Until next time, thanks for reading and sticking with me. I appreciate the support.
Thank You & Stay Safe!
Yours very truly,