Roving ideas, and statements of process keep repeating themselves with insistence like a bad pop song. To clear my head, I sit to write. Today Janice James’s class comes to see the studio. They have come to see the best part. My Judy Pfaff process shot. The brain spread out, someone once said. And yet, my years as a house wife insisted on tiding it up just enough. I sit to write. I need to know where I am going before I rant and ramble in my public persona way, and say things I wont remember, to these unknowing and willing. To make sense. To explain the need for the moments that I decided to preserve. The William Clift way, with his dowsing for photographs. It is my job as an artist to choose an image, is that not always, an act of divining? The vision sought and found is my empirical truth, for the moment.
Today is about my process. Is that not why people come to see a studio? I think of the many rules I follow, ones made while I was young to bring me into the stern human that I wanted to be. Rules both found in my social and art practice. Discipline. Discipline. Discipline. This was hung on my wall, after I learned to not ask permission. The king asked his court artisan to paint him a rooster. A year went by and no roster was produced, the king was frustrated and called for his court artisan. “Where is my rooster?” The artisan reached into his robes and pulled out a scroll, a brush, and a vessel of Sumi ink. He laid them on the table and with few short strokes, produced the most beautiful roster ever seen. “I do not understand” spoke to the king, “I've waited a year and that took only a moment. Why make me wait?” I can only imagine what the court artisan said, “Dear Sir, I have spent every day, all day making roosters….” Practice. Practice. Practice. Follow the line all the way through. Be truthful, lies will always be known. Amy Bruner asks, it that the truth? Own the choice to be raw, it is the response and record of movement. Move with the body and not the fingers. Know where you are, and where your body is. Stand whenever possible. Line has power, as much as the eyebrow whisker. Know the importance of leaving the line alone and what it means to take it out. Keep your marking habits throughout the image. Color can be the gushing water from the spout, turn on and off. Practice the use of color. Make it a decision, not just an emotive discourse. Balance the work. Ground the work. Arthur Gibbons says, know how it is to be presented, know it before you make it. Everyone says, You will always be responding to what has been done- done by the self, done by the others, and this neither matters and absolutely does. If I keep on working, it will resolve itself. The dimensions of the work must be something I can handle by myself. Picking up the art, carrying the art, moving the art, it must be do-able, alone. This is an absolute. Otherwise the work will wait and wait and wait for help, and stop. Reinvention is a place of creativity, repetition is a place that refines the idea. Give yourself to those who know more. Respond. Look. See. Walk. My father, Bill Anderson says walk. He is correct. And walk when I need to think. Think it through before acting. There is often another answer. It is the 89th try out of 100 that the answer comes, says that designer, in that Rolling stone, in that bathroom, in that house, in that town. Trust. Know when to stop thinking. Stop thinking. When help is offered, allow for that help to be self directed, other people’s opinion is a collaboration. Respond. Know what is not part of the job. Know that a multitude of life experiences can simultaneously build a stronger path. It is here where I get hung up on that children's book, Frederick the Mouse, the poet who watched without getting his paws dirty. William Cliff taught it was equally important to practice physical labor, visual labor, and mental labor. Without work, and history there is no empathy towards relationship. Look. Consider shapes, colors, botanicals, humans relating to each other, move, reflect light. Elliot Porter's thrown rocks will always be far more beautiful then placed rocks. Establish structure to give balance. Respond. Keep it simple. Too many elements make a mess. Sonia Schmitt suggests starting with 3 elements. Look at the edges. Question the focal point. Consider the struggle: object versus the periphery. Periphery is the dream. Object is the narrowed concentration.
Everything changes, within this spring I have made three ideas of work to present as one and yet my drawings today are the same as my photographs 20 years ago. Stephen Shore says we only have one or two ideas, if we are brilliant we have three ideas. Paul McCarthy says we have millions. Lynda Benglis says keep working, and it is time for my work to get crazy. My mother, Katharine Bell, says gold makes it automatically decorative. Paul Mogensen says decorative does not have to be a bad word. Amy Baumann says to practice and my drawing does looks better. Others, so many others, just look.
I stack all of these up and my husband stands guard against them. I am the person I was at five, drawing on the wall, in my closet, in my room. Following the example of my forebears, record what you see, know, smell. My hair is the same mishmash, now I wear a big bow made of plastic to pull my bangs up, to see clearly. No distractions.
Except, yesterday. I find my self exhausted and pushing against the wall. I moved through what I was working on, multiple times already this spring, I've moved through. I’m ready to cycle back through, and I only have seven days left. I have a whole new chapter to work on this week. No time. No time to look. No time to be truthful. I sit here working, I can no longer stand. I see Klimt in one corner and Jim dine in the other. I am only doing the same thing again, and yet I think it's different, it is a mess, it is okay, it is decidedly mine.