Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Peculiar Right Angles of Resistance

NO PATIENCE. Raw and gritty on the inside. Read blog after blog after blog today about the bliss experienced at the SQUAM Art Workshop in New Hampshire. Same names. Same faces. Same sisterhoods. I'd love to have the instruction without the estrogen surround -- the beautiful locale, the learning, but all those women? -- I've never had the skill set to navigate such a gathering, not baby showers, not clubbing, not office politics, not church associating, not Tupperware or candle or cookware or stamping parties. All the infrastructures feel ready-made to me, and I'm the one having to ping-pong in an attempt at penetration.

I'm sure this is why all my learning takes place in my studio, from books and blogs, tips & techniques practiced, gleaned, adopted, music of my choice, no need to carry on conversation, just FOCUS.

POINT: I 'do' art the same way I do writing and exercise: in my own head, internally, deeply & quietly inside. And I want peace for that, solitude. I had the same challenge in the fabric painting class I took -- felt crowded, hurried. At at the Stampin' Up! class I took -- rush, produce, get out. And at THAT time, I had hoped for some exchange! Good god, my timing really sucks. All this isolation began in me in 4th grade, when we moved from Omaha to Washington, D.C. I've already sourced that. And then in 10th grade, when I moved cities within Maryland and had to change high schools. That got the mortar stirred, mixed, ready. . When we moved from D.C. to rural Nebraska, halfway through my senior year, the mortar locked me in. Fences. A defensive but immediate detachment, a stand-alone posture that is automatic to me now. I had to build a Central Operating System independent of all things external, because the external could NOT be relied upon. Ever.

For the last week, I've had this internal sense that my work is ON PAR, this sort of meeting of latitude & longitude about MY art pieces [ + ] dead center on/in MY center. Then all this blog reading today and with it all the doubt. I want to learn, but not in gaggles and groups. That shuts me down because it triggers every last one of my insecurities and depressive switches. The ART inspires me, followed so many times by, "How did she DO that?"

But ...

I copy too much, still, and don't want more of that. No Misty Mawn or Kelly Rae Roberts or Claudine Hellmuth faces or women or collages. I want to learn the technique then SELF-INTERPRET, or -- extrapolate -- for me, it's STILL all about the journals I'm creating. So it's still all about my internal experience, that Central Operating System I want to comprehend, hone, then effect, but without exposure.

Without exposure..
Can I be a great artist, as defined by that C.O.S., as defined by ME, if I'm a solitary artist? It repeatedly occurs to me to stop ping-ponging, stop the notion I might penetrate the infrastructure "out there", and develop the one I have, my family & friends & associates. A canvas for Dad or Bobfather, cards for Mom and Ciera and others. It's not hollow, to practice intimacy. I know these people's likes and dislikes, the issues in their lives, their faces & voices, the right timing for any art offering. That prevents my art from being GENERIC. Or DISHONEST. [The two things I fear most of all.]

I can't make art/canvases like _________ makes -- I don't experience my world the way ______ does. But those are the ones that collect the comments, the swoons. WHO IS MY AUDIENCE & WHERE THE HELL ARE THEY? And why do I care if I'm an internal artist, an alleged 'isolationista'? Why am I blogging, then? Panting after belonging, I suspect, as I have since I was 9 years old. Hard hard hard hard habit to break, harder still because my art of camouflaging it has become enhanced with every passing year.

The bright colors of the pages I'm writing this on don't suit or soothe my mental positioning right now. Maybe it's to do with the cooling & softening of the air & light, a hint of the Septembers I yearn for from Maryland. It was still over 100 degrees here today. I ask, "Why am I here?" but it's become a rhetorical question, hasn't it? Because my life has sprung up, and rooted, here. All of my family is here, and most of Double BB's. My job & my obligations -- here. And the nesting part of me, so disrupted as a kid and a young adult, has dug in. I don't WANT to pick up and start over, again, at the age of 47. Been there, done that, 80 million times. Ocean or no ocean, somewhere else. Seasons or no seasons, somewhere else. Greener grass or no greener grass, somewhere else. It's just a scenario to launch an entirely new set of displacement variables. I'm frankly NOT up to that. I expended so much of my resilience before I turned 25 -- the REAL stuff, underneath the bravado I sported to keep propelling myself forward every day. NOW, at least, the choice is mine, or so I believe in my own head.

I love to travel, but I surely also want to come home. My routine, my cat, my pens and paper and place and CDs and books and baths. Streets I know, actually, better than any I remember or imagine. My energy has to be parcelled carefully; I know that now. And I'm willing. I'm not reactionary in the old ways -- jump & run, hopefully catch up later. No thank you. These days, I'd rather spend some of my time chomping at the bit then at the end of it, yanking it, or finding myself wholly untethered. I'm much better with some kind of grounding, and tolerate no more illusions about that.

Here's what's strange to me -- having been told the better part of all my adult life how I "light up the room" whenever I enter one -- but privately writing and feeling the reality of how contagious I'm NOT. If I'm 'on', sure, but I've come to hate the artificiality of that. There are certain behaviors I'm expected to manifest whenever in the company of anyone else -- strength, boldness, sensuality, creativity -- oh, and humor. Mustn't forget that ha-ha's. If I'm quiet, EVERYBODY asks me if I'm pissed off, and then I GET pissed off. [The 'who died and left me the Miss Congeniality sash' syndrome'?]
Maybe I'm sleepy.

Maybe I'm contemplative.

Maybe I'm composing a canvas, a journal page, in my mind.

Maybe my husband just lost his job.

Maybe, at the very least, the assumptions could just -- I dunno -- fuck off? I'm not the official hostess, the entertainment director, whenever or wherever I step out my front door.

And besides, who is ever available to listen to ME, when I need it, without immediately, categorically, changing the subject?

So --
I'm waiting for the Squam Art to start being posted, then I can get inspired in lieu of twirling in my inadequacy cape and you-don't-belong stilettos, and then all this bashing into my peculiar right angles of resistance will diminish and I can get some art done. [all photos my own]


Mercedes said...

What can I say after read all this pos with so much feeling? really that pics you chose show how you feel. Don´t worry , just follow your soul. It´s great to share something like artwork with people in similar tastes but most of time , like you , I just listen to me and then my fingers move. Feel happy with the things around us, with things we do it is the important, and how the advertise on TV of a wellknow trade sport mark says......."Just do it "

And remember , although you don´t know there is always somebody who read you.