Mind the Gap
Trained in the French academic tradition, I am grateful for the years of rigor and measurement I experienced while drawing, painting and sculpting the human form. I took it all very seriously and it became my bedrock.
Years later, from this foundation, I am trying to step back and remember humor, light-heartedness more often. You can’t learn this in school. Being too close to the work, taking it too seriously doesn’t allow you to see it. There has to be a gap between yourself and the work, some objectivity, a more panoramic view.
A concrete example of this is remembering to step away from the easel often while working. I have an old antique gray chair set about 10 feet away from my work area where I can sit and look. On a good day, I have an instinctive rhythm of moving away and coming back. It feels like a dance or courtship…which this is anyway. What is your relationship to the piece? Moving away, I can see the painting in its entirety and obsession with minutia dissolves into more dynamic questions about cohesion, emphasis and overall movement.
In this space, this breathing room, between my work, and myself there lays a vast playground where process and possibility are the vehicles that can transport the work to a more authentic place. Lately it seems that integration and clarity happen best without excessive effort. Maybe this is a natural evolution of confidence.
The striving for skills and mastery of techniques has a very important place. Always be a student. Ultimately though, approach the work with gentleness and allow it to reveal itself, weaving your growing skills with awareness. Pay Attention. It is the places in between, the incidental moments that catch your eye that will take your breath away.
Until next week…step away and look. Don’t move back in until you feel the spark. CREATE.