This one was quick. I've been doing my paintings in two layers: the first puts down something, anything; the second is the dialogue, where I work with what's there to turn it into the final composition. But on this one I liked my first layer. Well, I did add the red, and beef up the gold paint (the dark yellow you see is gold). I named it Floe because it reminds me of turbulence in icy waters. (Of course, now I see a white whale in front, but that's the thing that happens with abstracts: people see shapes that remind them of things.)
I'm finding that abstract painting is challenging my internal concepts about life and happiness. I've had an unvoiced belief for years that "If only I could paint more, then I'd be happy." But in the moment, while I'm painting, I don't feel it as happiness, as in grinning like a maniac. Rather, I seem to get kind of vulnerable. It feels like I have to sustain an openness, but also keep my artistic sense tuned so I can build a painting I'm satisfied with. The inner dialogue is kind of instinctive: yes, no, yes, yes, oh no!, maybe, hmm [page pace pace], [get tea], [mix up some new color and apply it], yes, hmm, yes, no... I spend a lot of time dissatisfied, but somehow in tune with myself. I wonder if this will change over time?
So I'll reiterate my favorite quote, said by Martha Graham to Agnes DeMille:
There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at anytime. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than others.