Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A Horrible Day in the Studio

I thank my lucky stars to have a studio. It's been a long time coming, but two months ago I finally (FINALLY) secured a small space to work. A basement space with dim two windows that I share with another artist, and a honeycomb of other studios leading off in either direction. I wouldn't say it's a "community," because no one seems to talk to each other, unless it's about the rent. Which is ok I guess; after all, not all communities are a blessing.

But I've been avoiding my studio space because Friday I had a really, really bad day painting. The promising piece just got worse and worse, and now I'm very much stuck. Things snowballed, I felt like I couldn't do anything right, and all my art ideas were stupid. Which makes it difficult to regroup and try something else, no?

Saturday and Sunday rolled by, and I reasoned that since it was the weekend I didn't need to go in and work. Right? Then Monday I tried to gather source material to go in another direction before heading off to the studio, and instead I had a bit of a breakdown. Feeling awful about my art was piled on top of a steady drip horrifying world news, and to top it off I got some pretty bad news about the German tax system-- that is, the amount of money that I could expect to earn with art if I work my butt off is exactly the amount of money you can't make without going into debt to the German government. You have to earn either less than $4000 or more than about $25,000. What is the deal with that, Germany? What are you trying to do? I ended up crying, then spent the evening fixing some old broken CSS on my blog.

Today I'm ready to head to my studio again (after posting this). I'm gearing up to do a big charcoal portrait of the Impressionist painter Berthe Morisot from a photograph (with a few other old photos, for reference). It's almost too basic. I don't usually draw from one photo; drawing from life is best if I can manage, but I usually form a composite from several photos or draw from a video snippet to avoid simply copying someone else's flat image like a human Xerox machine. And there's no particular concept, it's just a portrait, which is What I Do Best. But maybe that's what I need right now.

Berthe Morisot.
When I was a Junior in art school, a Senior got pregnant, which really derailed her thesis work. She got pretty stuck and panicky, so she started knitting a lot just to get her mind back to basics. Her thesis ended up being a massive abstract sculpture made of yards and yards of knit fabric. It was pretty good, too. That has always stuck with me.

So, here I go. Wish me luck!

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