Sunday, April 18, 2021

Moving on by writing it down - the potential healing power of telling your story

Normally, I am a painter and writer of fiction. I also write nonfiction blog posts about art and literature. 

Lately, however, I've been stuck in the writing. It's as if the task of writing will open up floodgates, but I don't have the key right now. I'm having a hard time moving forward with that.

For creative and healing reasons, I wonder if it might help to write parts of my story in long form, however informally. 

I've recently come out of a divorce, aka death of a two decade relationship. That was after a long struggle to find employment (substitute teaching filled the gap, until I found a better fit with art teaching), and a sense of impossibility for my life as an artist, leading to an emotional inability even to pick up a paint brush. 

The divorce was immediately preceded by a second bout of cancer, major surgery to remove my womb (read creativity and feeling valued as a woman) during a pandemic year. 

Thank goodness for teaching – without that, I would not have started painting again. I'd be as stuck in the visual arts as I currently am in my writing. 

When that first student wanted oil painting lessons, I felt a bit like a fraud. It had been so long, and my soul felt too ravaged. My creativity felt beaten down, a lifeless animal. I owe my students all my gratitude. 

Writing is a different story... hah. I don't know where the person who wrote to THE END on five first drafts went. I mean, I didn't polish and publish, but still. 

Maybe I'm too stuck in my own story. Would it help to write a memoir, clear the decks? If I wrestled through my own story, could I move forward with characters and perspectives outside my own again? Would it help me move on to write nonfiction books related to my own story, focusing on how to teach painting? 

I'd like to write a book, or several, that offers art teachers a few ways to teach painting. Teach others to teach color, pattern, and design non dominance – this is both political and aesthetic in the visual world – in a way that another artist could pass on to their students. 

Something is holding me back. I wish I could figure out what it is.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Tension between subject and background in painting creates visual democracy - Patterns

Supposedly, the placement occurrence of motifs in Penrose tilings are impossible to predict in 2, 3, or 4 dimensions. One looks a bit like a joker, another motif like a snowflake, etc. We can assume they will reoccur, much like we can assume that there are no end to prime numbers, but both of those assumptions require fancy mathematical proofs.

Whatever. My point is that some people think you can predict Penrose tiles in a higher (5th) dimension – planes upon planes colliding and multiplying, in a sense, but ironing out to something comprehensible.

Here is an earlier post on the subject: 

Caspar David Friedrich, Romanticism, Penrose, and the 5th Dimension

And then Yayoi Kusama puts a dot on it. Multiple dots. And psychedelic mushrooms in neon colors on black light. Fun. Why? Tension? Democracy of subject? That's my favorite explanation - visual democracy.

I wanted to work with students to create this competition between subject and background. We chose a lovely spotted frog as our subject, and a not especially aggressive play on the spots and patterns in the background. 

Frog in Frogland, by Julia Gandrud, copyright 2021, all rights reserved

I'll add a student's work when they are finished with it.