January in my studio
This seems to be the time of year that I consistently move into painting mode. The sun is wonderful but still angled too much to make effective solar prints, and then there are some new paints I got for Christmas. Most riveting is my immersion into the inspiring book Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel. It chronicles the lives of many of the artists in the New York School, focusing on Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchel and Grace Hartigan. The combination of personal stories and sacrifice, plus insights into the rivalries, connections and community that existed in the Village in New York through the 30s and 40s makes for a lively read. The historical background and rationales for New York becoming the cultural and intellectual centre are laid out and meticulously documented. It brings home to me that in our small local way the artist community has to be nourished with ideas beyond marketing strategy and how-to workshops.
At a practical level my accumulation of painted artworks is mitigated because I have decided to work on sturdy rag paper rather than canvas. It stores in a flat pile under my table. There is no defined theme or intent, which probably connects to the 19C expression "stupid as a painter" and also to my need to check back in on some basics.