Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sketchbooks and journals

Slowly, slowly, we are settling into the new home. It feels good to think that this should be the end of moving. Both Matthias and I are hoping this will remain "home" for a LONG WHILE. We've moved too much in the past decade, and have grown weary of it. Of course, one never knows what life will throw at you next, but here's to hoping we can remain in this one place for a while.

I am thoroughly enjoying the desert landscape. This may surprise some of you. I am not, and will probably never be, much of a landscape painter. I love the outdoors, and there is nothing that makes me happier than being out in nature, but when it comes to art, my passion is with humans. I love the study of human beings, both the inner and outer aspects. One might think, looking at my art, that only one aspect of my work indicates this love. However, the abstract work really is an exploration of the inner workings of what it is to be a human being. Priya recently asked me about my sketchbooks and journals, and where I work out problems in my art. In response, I will tell you that my abstract paintings are like a sketchbook, in and of themselves. I don't have a preconception of what a painting will look like when I begin. I simply begin to make marks. It is a risky way to paint, without this clear direction. Many paintings have such rawness, such ugliness of emotion and state of being that they cannot be signed as the kind of painting I want to show anyone or sell. That used to bother me, but now I recognize that this is just how I paint. I want to see the jarring edges, I like to leave a trace of where the painting started, just so that the journey is revealed. The times when a painting can be taken from the most naked initial feeling to a place of serenity and grace are the times that are the most deeply satisfying.

My sketchbook is more of a place to rest with drawing. I love to draw, any old thing, really, but I do tend to focus on creatures, hands, flowers, leaves, and small things that are right in front of me. Once again, the landscape is rarely ever the thing that I will sketch. I really don't know why this is. I am sure I could force myself to draw the landscape. But really, if I have to force myself to do it, what's the point? I have plenty of other areas of my life where I do things I don't want to do (laundry, scrubbing toilets, paying bills, working to make money, etc.) I guess I have always wanted my art to be the one area that is sacred, and just for ME. For whatever it is I want to draw, paint, or sculpt. I must have that, in order for my art to be mine, and to be the truth.

My journal is a place where I write, write and write. As I have mentioned before, I read Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way, about a year ago, and went through nearly all of the excercises she outlines. I found the journalling (daily pages) to be one of the best things for me, in my recovery and discovery. It helps me turn off that mean little critic, who sits in the back of my mind and tells me my work is awful. She is no good for me, and caused me to judge every little mark I made. It really gave me a place to put her, where she can stay happily (or unhappily, more likely) while I continue to be an artist. If any of you haven't read The Artist's Way, I will once again recommend it highly. It changed so many things for me with my art and how art fits into my life. Even though I have kept a journal since college, I had gotten away from it somewhat, and I am happy that Cameron's book brought it back to me.

On that note, I must get back to the unpacking of my studio, so that I can once again put paint on things.
P.S. I am happy to have my high speed internet back once again!


priya said...

dear karine,
thank you for your reply to my question. it seems that for you, the process of abstract painting is a journey into the unknown where the truth is revealed in the process and the picture.
it is so interesting how artists use their sketchbooks in different ways. it gives a private glimpse into the influences, evolution and the mechanics that goes on within the mind of each artist.
i too find journaling wonderfully helpful, especially in facing the truth about myself, which is not always easy to do for me.
we seem to have some reading in common - atwood, julia cameron...which reminds me to go look at 'the artist's way'once more. it's been a long time since i removed it from the bookshelf.
i am so glad to be able to discuss thoughts about art and painting with you like this and i hope there will be more such moments in the future.

Abby Creek Art said...

I'm the same as you, Karine...I like to just dive in to the painting and see what reveals itself. With my abstracts, I usually paint about 3 paintings on top of each other before I'm happy with it.

Have fun getting settled this weekend. Kissies to Pono!

Rebecca Bogan said...

Thanks for sharing a little of your life! I can relate to the "moving". It feels good to stay in a home-base... but soon it needs renovating as the years take a toll (Nothing like a do-it-yourself project... that's what I am doing now...painting of a different sort) ! I will get that book. Sounds like a good one.


Carla Sonheim said...

The Artist's Way, yes. It changed my life.

Love the abstracts you showed here!