Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Do you still paint?

"Sieve" 2006,  Satin, silk thread, ink, paper.
We had family visit over the long President's Day weekend so I took a break from writing.

Just yesterday, I was asked a question that caused me to lie in bed awake at night.  And the question was, "Do you still paint?"

The answer I gave was, "Not anymore."  Which was the truth.

I have an extensive collection of brushes that have stayed dry.  Bottles and tubes of beautiful pigments that haven't been mixed for four whole years.  That's how long its been since I was first pregnant with Eden.  And I haven't held a brush since she was born.

I reasoned that its difficult to paint, well, particularly with water-based media, because the medium is so time sensitive.  A cry from the baby, a crash in the kitchen, any form of interruption can destroy a painting if you're mid-stroke or pouring a wet on wet.  

Then there's the effort to set up.  Prepping the floor, the painting surface, laying out the colors, making sure everything is at hand so that intuition can lead without inhibition.  Knowing that I will have to stop, clean up and wait till the next opportunity when I'm child-free kills that free-spirited exploration that is so critical to really good work.

This same person then asked, "Do you really like crafts?"  

Which made me stop what I was doing, look down at my work and think, "Is this what I've done?  Moved from Art to Craft?"  I used to make unique one-of-a-kind work and now I'm making pillows and onesies?  I felt a sadness in my soul.  

I crawled out of bed the next morning and looked up old images of my work

"Firebird" 2006,  Satin, silk thread, ink, paper.

I looked at the circles and strings - which I was fascinated and obsessed with for one long season in my art career.  It occurred to me that my latter work, just before I stopped, was all about printing, sewing, image transfer, and experimenting with fabric.  Granted, nothing I made was wearable, and certainly none of it was functional.  But the forms and the techniques aren't that alien to what interests me now.

I don't quite know how to end this post, except to say that I'm going to take some part of what I had, my circles and my strings and bring it back into my current life.  I'm going to keep going....



  1. Stephanie- I love your painting! Beautiful- light- airy - whimsical! <3

  2. My how family-hood changes things. One day our chance to be our former selves will resurface... and I wonder, will I grasp for the things I once loved or will I start a new path altogether. I'm interested to see how it plays out.

  3. Tristin, agreed. It is hard to let go, even if for a season, isn't it? You are right in that we can never really go back, and there will be new things to embrace.


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