Altered Attic: two heads are better than one

Sunday, November 3, 2013

two heads are better than one




















After living with the feeling that I'd gone as far as I could with faces, I discovered the next challenge - color. And texture. Incorporating some of my texturing techniques and creating layers - with varying degrees of visibility - opened a whole new channel in this process. 

I felt a little bored, maybe frustrated when I finished the series of 45 faces (ha, for me that's a huge series), and it worried me. I fretted, during an illness-flare week I stewed, trying to reason my way through the Big R (resistance, thanks Steven Pressfield). I caught phrases running through my head like, "I'm not a real artist, I can only get to point X," and "why am I doing this anyway, there are so many more experienced, far more talented face makers out there..." Not quite fast enough to silence them - yet - but I'll bet anyone reading this knows just what I'm talking about - monkey mind!

Then I saw a post on a friend's Facebook page and read it. Three times. Words by Kurt Vonnegut, who says that creating art makes life more bearable. Hmm, hadn't quite thought of it that way, but by golly, he's right. (Who am I to question Vonnegut after all:).

I quickly decided that the next step would be to incorporate mixed media techniques I so love into this painting venture and, well, see what happens. The above watercolor sheet looks quite a lot like the faces I've been painting but if you look a bit closer, you'll notice mesh in girl #1's face and a bird in girl #2's forehead, along with old book pages and texture/patterned papers (wholey paper, of course, Jane!), and bits from paper napkins for good measure. And I didn't bump the saturation or saturation before posting. I still have to deal with hair and variations on the expression/face but mixing it up a bit released the joy I've become accustomed to when working in the studio, and had been lacking (thankfully not for too long).

Having a chronic illness is so wildly unpredictable - imagine my surprise at finding that I need to spend the better part of 8 days lying down. Surprise doesn't begin to describe the disappointment, resentment and frustration, the sense of being on hold. Again. But, the flip side is having long stretches of time to read, to feed my brain. The web is packed with fabulous articles about creative energy and its sources, the creative process, science, psychology studies, literary book reviews, poetry and there's always a cruise through my favorite social media sites and blogs. Then, when I do have a good day, it's off to the studio I go!

Here are Vonnegut's words, hope they generate positive energy, open creative channels and call to the muse. I am eternally grateful that I am a crazy creative!


6 comments:

Laura said...

I love your faces and I am so glad that you are able to be creative. I get so down from my illness that I just don't create,even when I feel okay. I definitely have monkey mind, probably enough for 5 or 10 other people too. grrr...
I spent a lot of time last week thinking about last year and the RTR and all the lovely wonderful women I met there. I miss you all and hope someday we can get meet up again and create together!
love & blessings
~*~

alteredbits said...

i love your faces! they are so colorful and fun! i just read a blog post (wish i remember who it was from!) and when she felt she couldn't progress she started doing them with her non-dominant hand. i'm going to try that (though they already look like i do). yours are sooooo fun!

i love the vonnegut quote, too. :)

xx

Caterina Giglio said...

love where this is taking you and love, love, love the Vonnegut quote... cxox

pauline said...

i love your two faces and especially love the interlocking arms!! Great colors too. Oh, and the Kurt Vonnegut quote - YES!! So much truth to this. Love, love. xox

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Stunning faces. I had NO idea you were playing in AEDM, so it was good to see you there. I know how hard it is to keep any decent schedule with your illness, but I always love visiting you. Keep that art and those good words, like Vonnegut's quote, coming.

Jez said...

Great way to illustrate the saying of Two Heads ... and I love your bright colours and texture.
Very interesting post, glad I found you through AEDM, and I don't think we ever get past that feeling of the 'other side of the brain' managing to pop out now and then and say we are not as good as others. I've just had a day or two of that myself, and then earlier today got lost and involved in drawing and was happy again.
Enjoyed the Kurt Vonnegut quote.

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