I warned you about the portrait angst. It’s not over. Friday is studio day, an all day session of Peet’s coffee, apple and blackberry crumble with whipped cream, laughter, violin music and armchair wandering. There are 6 or 7 of us, a rotating group of women that drops in every Friday to a magical cottage in the railroad district owned by, quite frankly, whether she’s reading this or not, the best art instructor/mentor/fairy godmother one could ever dream of. She has taught me a considerable amount about the art world, artists, contemporary and diseased, and art instruction. She has opened my eyes wider to Bonnard, Matisse, Hockney, Kalman, Gaugin, Picasso, Thiebaud, and more.
But what she has given me, and I’m going to presume gives my fellow Friday painters, is permission and confidence to claim our own voice. The blank canvas is a terrible thing. It’s up there with the blank page. The I have so many great ideas thoughts stories snippets messages colors images and they were racing through my head….yesterday. In the shower. While driving. Walking through the park. On the way out of Safeway. Rarely while you’ve got brush in hand or fingers on the keyboard. And that is what Suzanne (Magical Mentor from this blog post out) provides. A gentle starting place to commit. It doesn’t matter what. Just get paint down, keep going, get messy, make a “mistake”, clean it up, make a u-turn, let it rest, start another, come back, always come back, and most important, stay true to your own voice. That is the invisible magic she spreads. That we all have an individual voice and we can pore over hundreds of images, fall in love with paintings or artists, but it is our voice, interpreting these influences that will shine in the end.
The Rumi quote I put on this painting has been around my neck on a Janine Payer silver pendant necklace for years. It is engraved and tiny, so delicate that whenever someone asks me what it says, I can barely read it anymore. It is well loved and cherished and all these years later, coming full circle to remind me that the voice being held, it’s the wisdom we’ve been given from teachers and experiences along the way, the whispers from those who love us along our creative journeys, and it is us. It is our artistic voice reminding us to keep going. Hold on. xo
“Mountain Echo”, 16×20″