Friday, November 2, 2012

Surprises


Yesterday I delivered my 30 canvases to the 30 Day Art Challenge.

I entered this event with some misgivings. I don't believe that something is art just because an artist makes it. Especially if it is produced in a rushed panic two days before deadline. (Or else, as Duchamp reminds us, everything is art) I also don't belong to a school of art that champions the overtly expressive "hand of the artist". I like to take care and time with my work. Just as I wish we could take time and care with the world around us. I like to tell a slower story.

But I enjoyed and learned from this experience. Firstly I switched mediums. I have never worked much with pen and ink. It was good. I liked it. I may be the only person in the history of the world to use pen and ink on canvas. The blade of the pen catches on the canvas and spatters. There is a constant struggle and a brittle scratching, stabbing feeling, trying to drag and push the pen over the canvas threads. I have been Lady McBeth this week and the ink still stains my hands.

Apart from discovering that I like the struggle of pen and ink, I also found how hard it is to hide my emotional state while making art. I decided to draw some "cheap and cheerful" (as we used to say in the flower shop) pictures of the food in my weekly CSA farm box. Happy vegetable still lifes. But I confess I have been blue lately. Not cheap and cheerful. And as the rain bucketed down from the roiling sky this week  my pears and onions gave me away. If art is communication then maybe these anguished vegetables are some small form of art after all.