Letting go This is social media experiment in making art. As I worked through the process of this painting I wondered whether I could actually describe that process in a series of photos, and tell the story of the piece as it becomes itself. Might be neato. I’ve started this with my cover photos on facebook, but there are lots of them to come, and some FB folks who might get overloaded…. So here goes. It was supposed to be a clamp. One in a series of paintings about legacy and inheritance that were going to take me into the next decade. With this painting, that idea got stopped in it’s tracks – I realized I was finished the series after only two: Shovel and Axe. If you really want to know why, ask me in person, but the why isn’t the point really. The idea was over. Suddenly. Canvas is 4’x4′ square. This is a detail of the first yellow wash over white house paint resist. Then I drew the clamp on the canvas and stared at it. It was a good drawing, but No. Erased the clamp. Stared some more. Then in art class I needed to demonstrate the joys of washes over acrylic gel, which preserves the integrity of the colour and adds depth to the ground. Washed a good red over the whole thing, let it drip…. Then in the next art class I needed to show some things about composition and drawing and courage, so I picked the nearest object to draw and did this: vine charcoal for the drawing, which is what I used to draw the Clamp. It rubs off. In this photo I’ve superimposed a photo of the actual snaffle bit over the drawing to check my lines… I was going to keep this as a demo canvas for art class, but the painting was talking too much – like a river. Can’t stop a river, so… My full attention. This is when I stopped answering my phone, five days ago…. What is it, what is it. It’s a D-ring snaffle bit that I used on my pony when I was a tweener. The bit is not connected to a bridle. It’s not hanging in a barn, or waiting to be used. It’s here because I remember Pippin and I like the shape. The painting is about being unbridled. And it’s about horse – wild horse, old horse, powerful horse, running horse, free. Bronze age white horse of Uffington: And the river of painting chatter gets deeper… Now it’s just watching, layering, washing, dripping, listening, writing, and recording music while the paint is drying. Run up and down the stairs for energy. Write some more. Paint. Don’t ever stop. Green wash for the Uffington hills… white wash to pull it together. I love this part… Pull the bit back in (conte). Now there’s interesting spatial stuff happening…. I’m not done yet, so I can’t take you to the end. I’ll keep shooting while I watch the paint dry, and will update here to tie it all up. In the meantime I need to say this: that if you let it, if you actually surrender your will and just let the river flow, art can take you through all the blocked, backward, toxic stuff of your life and wash it all off. It’s ALWAYS worth it to make something out of nothing but your mind, your heart, and what ever else is to hand. If you have kids, tell them that, over and over again. Tell them that there are no mistakes, ever. Just change. Trust change, and let go. Yesterday when I ventured out for food and batteries I found myself in face-to-face conversation with people. I think I was using words, and I think everything went ok because when I got home I had food and batteries as planned. Oh and an indigo hyacinth. To anyone I spoke with this week who felt that I wasn’t really there – you’re right, I wasn’t, despite my best efforts. I was really in my studio of many rooms eating soul food. Happy Sunday.