My studio is stinky. I think I burned all my nose hairs with the amount of fumes from the turpentine I've been laying down the last two days. Looking forward to warmer weather when I can paint with the windows wide open. In the meantime, do I use the respirator hanging less than ten feet away? No, which is stupid. I start each painting thinking I'll just lay down a line or two, sketch in a rough composition, play with layers. Get a feel for it to see if the size and shape of the canvas (or whatever I'm working on) fits with what is beginning to take shape. If it starts to click together, I become completely engrossed and lose all track of time. Next thing I know two, three hours have passed. This is exactly how this past Monday went. After having received feedback to go larger, I spent the previous weekend working on a slightly smaller version of the painting above and pulled from it a few monoprints on Visqueen. One of the large, wet prints was then laid on a primed 4'x8' panelboard. First thing Monday morning it was obvious that the large monoprint wasn't working for me; it felt 'off', didn't have the same visual impact. The print led me down a little rabbit hold about bodily impressions on beds, which then led to the twin-size bed canvas, which led to the idea that I should be creating some conceptual masterpieces about how everybody sleeps. Ha! Good thing I snapped out of that relatively quickly. Whenever - and I mean, truly whenever - I think I have a super hot idea, it ends in disaster. Of course all of these mental gymnastics led to noticing that the twin-size mattress of a canvas with a version of the salty sunbather also felt off. Here's why: in another photo of the same beach scene and off to the left, there's a cluster of people that read (to me) as a dirty old man taking up too much physical space and gawking. Power, toxic masculinity, privilege on display, granted, it may seem like a micro display, but it's still a thing. Do I really want to get into a painting about the female gaze and pervy old guys? You bet I do! Now that's something I can relate to on a whole bunch of levels. Next thing I know, I'm scrapping the abstract monoprint by painting right over it and within a matter of minutes I have the new salty sunbather sketched out. The older tanned lady (with baggage) is looking at the older tanned guy (her husband? Similar tan, empty beach towel and obnoxiously visible baggage) as he postures in front of a younger woman who is obviously new to the beach scene as noted by her pale skin color. Near the center of the painting is a trio of women of various shapes (no body shaming here!) and a young boy, obviously related, getting ready to snorkel. Nature vs. nurture. Growing up looking at Paul Cadmus (Coney Island at LACMA plus others). Falling in love with Eric Fischl's work but can't relate to the male-gaze thing. Feeling breathless looking at Joquin Sorolla for the shear beauty of his work and the blatant pedo vibe. (I'm not the only one who sees this, right?) So I'm creating something that I think all females can relate to: being subjugated and silent about it. The microagressions are real and we let way too damn many of them slide. No more.
...In the performance of my work, meaningful coincidence as a phenomenon of energy and my own archetypal symbolism is at work. All I can do is suit up, respond energetically, and continue the search for my own artistic voice.