It’s only been a few days since spring invaded my personal frozen tundra. It has been a vast trackless frozen plain of no color this winter as I attended to the business of being an artist instead of the creation of art. Admittedly, it has been very a very absorbing challenge, learning new skills on the computer so that I could build a new website to make my work accessible. It is a huge learning curve at a time of life when I think I ought to be crusing down the hiway of experience, utilizing skills I have aquired over a lifetime. But the wisdom of a lifetime is just a fraction of what you need in these times just to get by.
My spring this year is about finding new growth on old roots. It’s about what needs to be dug up and what new seeds need to be planted. It’s just as true in my garden as it is in my artistic life- equally traumatized by the severity of this past winter.
I’ve been slowly building up my studio time , adding one hour at a time, over the past month. Thawing ever so slowly, I feel a softening, a reaching one day; blocked and stunted the next. My imagination seeks the sunny warmth of spring, and soaks up energy for ideas and images to come. The warming rain is washing away hard crusts of frozen resistance and nourishes slumbering creativity.
Today I gave myself the task of Spring Cleaning my paints, brushes and palette.First I sort the brushes for size and condition. Then line them up on my workstation, newly cleaned, conditioned and ready for duty.
I take every tube of paint and clean the neck and cap, squeeze the tube to extract dried stuff and condense the paint. Then I sort them into color catagories. True, it’s not painting, it’s not creative and not art but it is pleasing. It ‘s like cleaning up your flowerbeds before you turn over the soil or fertilize. It is the step that comes before planting seeds or tender shoots you will nurture all the way to harvest time.
Squeezing out blobs of sunshine yellow and startling sticky scarlet stirs delightful, delirious fragments of images to dance in my minds eye.
Lining up twenty shades of blue from indigo and midnight to sky high cobalt and watery turqoise sends thrilling, chilling and cheery memories of places and moments of spacious peace.
Stack the blacks! did you know there are more than ten shades?There is Cold black and warm, lampblack, ebony, obsidian, jet, coal, ink and intense black, midnight, charcoal, sable, onyx and more. They wait patiently to take their crack at bringing thought into action and idea to image.
Orange, loud and proud, pulsates across the palette, challenges the blues and purples to a muddy fight. Purple tries to hang out near white, longing to become soft lavender, shy and subtle but I wont have it! Purple , you must sit between red and blue- believe me, they are your friends; they always make you look beautiful.
At last I get down to earth, yes, browns, sienna, ochers,clay, and umbers, all the earthy colors needed to host the greens most kindly.
Welcome, Green, in all your infinite shades. I want to eat the the luscious yellow green,it is the color of new lettuce. There is a limit to the number of greens one can capture in a tube. But there is no limit to the shades and hues to be discovered when introducing each of the other colors as a potential mate to green. If colors had a Match.com…ooo la la, what lovely combos would emerge!
Ah, white, I do not forget your gifts- thick and creamy, thin and transparent, bleached bright or flaxen. Glorious white, a steadfast lover of all colors, is a constant friend of light.
So, my task today is a joyous one, for I love big blobs of pure color.They are big blobs of happiness; big blobs of beauty for the making. The bottom line…I love spring cleaning my palette