June 24, 2009

Responding in Kind

Chris, this is for you.

The summer solstice snuck up on me this year. I remember feeling just a few weeks ago that I was finally clear of the holiday hubbub--the feeling that there was some place to be or some function to attend from week to week. But the solstice was kind. With it came a rare Saturday at home, visiting dads on Sunday, eating out in celebration of another school year's close, and much sun.

That first paragraph of yours really got me thinking about this whole business of busyness. I think that adulthood really is a rush. It feels sometimes as though you have to attack it with full force or it will attack you. There's no room for stasis. Stasis = regression. But I also think that this thing called life is navigable. I think that you can slow things down just as easily as it all speeds up. The hard part about that is saying no when you really want to do and experience everything. Ironically, though, when you try to do it all, you end up doing nothing of consequence. I say all of that to acknowledge that there is virtue in living simply, cherishing family, and being selective with one's appointments.

I've been thrilled to see you showing at so many really interesting and awesome venues! I was really inspired by the 'Clipped' show you did way back in December. It made me get up and paint again. I had been exploring the relationship between fine art painting and the evolution of photography as an art form. I really could (should) write a paper about it or something because there are so many facets of that whole love-hate dance between the two mediums worth exploring. I painted a series of small works on the topic. I had the opportunity to show them at a cafe a few blocks away from our apartment as well as a few still lifes I forced myself to finish. I don't know if it's this way for you, but I find that when I start a painting--even with the best of planning--I eventually reach a point where I'm convinced that the project is just completely wrong. I end up letting it sit for a while. The unluckiest of them get gessoed over and recovered with another failure. And then when I finally force myself to finish the thing it somehow turns around and becomes a decent piece. Maybe I'm just finally over that freshman phase of not admitting when your 'art' is trash!

Work has been unusually busy but good. Working as an in-house designer is nice in some ways. The work is steady and somewhat predictable. Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of firing my clients when they try to put their hands too deep into the project or play the art director when, really, they shouldn't (Just today someone wanted the medium-value background behind REVERSED text to be lighter!). But there are those projects that just lend themselves to really enjoyable plays on type and imagery and I wouldn't trade anything for them. I took a risk two years ago with a book cover and interior design for a science storybook. I wasn't sure if the publisher would be willing to take the risk with me since the science-minded are a typically literal-thinking folk. But they went with it! And when it came time to make it a series they were more than willing to take their hands off the reins and let me do whatever I wanted. And that second design ended up winning an award! I'm super excited about a third book in the series that I'll start working on in a few months. I'm thinking about taking it in a more arabesque direction.

I really can't wait to see photos of your studio space. Even some process video blog posts would be cool! I really enjoyed the podcast interview you and Annie participated in last year. Your switch to acrylic as opposed to oil really got me thinking about how life affects art. I think that those sorts of decisions really add value to the body of your work. I especially enjoy the botanical/beasties themes that you've been exploring. Oh, please let me know when you're looking for someone to put together a large-format retrospective book of your work!

Roussel is doing very well indeed! We've hung him in the guest bedroom/gallery space/reading room. Consequently, we painted the room a darkish grey-blue to really make the aqua and orange pop. It suits Roussel quite well.

Thanks for your update! I know that it steals precious time away from other things to sit down and write like that. I truly appreciate your sacrifice!



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