Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Something new

I took a few weeks off from making any art and it was a nice break, but I was ready to get back to it last week. I showed you some leaves a couple days ago. This is where they ended up—backdrop for a bowl of apricots. All the fabrics for the bowl, apricots and leaves were patterned by rubbing over textured things and the rubbing plates I have been making. I made rubbing patterned background fabrics too, but they seemed so boring. Not enough pattern for me, so I dug into my stash of commercial batiks. This is a little 12" x 12" piece. I seem to have internalized that size. It just turned out that way.

I finished this and felt like I have gotten into a rut. So many pieces that are so similar and so similarly meaningless. Predictable. Dull. Decorative. I have been thinking about this and wondering where to go next. I felt a little better after I read the Robert Genn email newsletter this week. I'm not the only one who thinks about these things. I liked when he said,

"...there will always be believers in the difficult business of ...delivering life-enhancing objects of beauty and personal passion. Further, popular collectorship will continue to find a need for landscapes, figures, florals and portraits. And while there are plenty of seriously dark concerns out and about these days, there is not much wrong with the sunny side."

I do, pretty much, stay on that sunny side. Maybe that's where I belong. Maybe I just need to give it all some more thought. I am going to be part of a panel discussion later this month about "finding your voice." Ironic, isn't it?


  1. Mr. Genn also said that if one feels the need to get gritty once in a while, there's a good catharsis in that too. Perhaps you need to throw some paint around or rip something up, or take on a touchy subject just to see what it feels like -- knowing that the sunny side is always waiting to welcome you back with open arms.


  2. Is there anything wrong with opting for the sunny side? Right now, when I look outside the window, it is grey, rainy - fall is here . I don't want to reproduce this in my art, honestly ... Therefore, I like your bowl of apricots exactly for what it tells me: to remember fondly the taste and the smell and the touch of - summer. And if I had to make a choice - I would always prefer a "happy" picture in my surroundings. For a darker picture, I just need to turn on the news on TV ;-))

  3. I think of your work as being more contemplative. I look at it and see what it is and then look longer and see what it means; what it says.

    You put a great deal of time into these pieces and you are thinking about things as you do the work and these thoughts are caught up in the paint, thread and rubbings. I hear your voice in every piece.

    There is sadness in this piece as well as happiness.

  4. I love "your voice" no matter what key you are in. This made me sigh with pleasure and using the rubbings to create your own fabric is just perfect.

  5. Anonymous8:46 AM

    I think all artists, in every media, struggle with the idea of their work being predictable and decorative. I certainly do. Sometimes I look at my things and think they are completely ordinary and uninspired. Then I look around and see folks working in outlandish materials with strange concepts and creating absurd things I would never want in my own home. But there is room for all kinds of work, and it always helps to remember that others struggle with the same issues I face. And after looking around at others for a while, I feel ready to tackle my next project with the voice I have had for a long time. Your work is superb, Terry, and we all envy the clarity and precision in your voice. Keep talking!

  6. I agree with Joanne in her view that there is something contemplative in your work. Yes, they are very pretty and pleasing, but there is a simplicity to them, a finding beauty in ordinary things, that I think of as Japanese in style. There is something quiet and humble about this piece that makes it more than just sunny and pretty.

    And I also don't think that there is anything wrong with the piece, for you, being more about the PROCESS of working than the actual result.

  7. So much of what my friend Jackie Gardener said resonates with me. Keep on doing what you're doing, Terry. It's a gift to everyone who comes in contact with it.

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  9. There are lots of things that could be discussed on this subject, but I won't get into it.

    I will say that I think you have definitely found your voice already, which those of us who follow your blog enjoy. If what you made makes you happy, then I think that's all you need to worry about.

    You're pieces are very well designed and well-made. I don't think it would matter if it is decorative or non-objective. There is definitely something zen-like in your pieces and that is part of your style.

    It seems like you tried something new, in this piece, with doing quite a bit of rubbing on different fabrics.

    That's still more than I wanted to say, but I think you do the work you need to do and it will find its place in the world.