I have spent several days in a row working in my sketchbook preparing for the November exhibit at the StutzARTSpace Gallery entitled "Uncovered: Food for Thought". I have been trolling my old sketchbooks where, from time to time, I park my brain 1) to hold that idea, 2) to develop an old idea, 3) to play around with parts of old ideas, 4) to read old lists of things or series I was going to paint. These books are my treasures. Some ideas will never come to fruition, but some remind me that I had some good plans, but got distracted.
What has really caught my attention, though, are old class notes from my Herron days---not that long ago. Remember, I am a 2002 Herron grad, therefor a Young Painter. I poured over old class assignments from one of the best painting and drawing teachers in the universe-Mark Jacobson. The assignments are detailed and thoughtful and totally helpful today. Then there are the comments about many completed series. They remind me of my strengths and weaknesses, which, by the way, are what I regard as my strengths and weaknesses today - (although, I would like to think I have made a little bit of progress). Constantly, Mark was urging me to SEACH. Search for the line, search for the depth, take my time, search for the form, and pursue these things with a passion.
Mark writes, "Your work is strongest when you have gone through a process of wrestling with it and the effort of that struggle comes through in the works which are closer to your art spirit...I generally prefer the works which you fought harder for..."
I have definitely not lost my fighting spirit, but don't we all yearn for that critique from our old instructors and don't we all remember how much we learned from our fellow students? How do you find a substitute for those things? Who will notice whether you are wrestling hard enough or digging deeply enough and resolving some of the problems that your work presents? Who will show up and push you?
It's hard to be a grown-up painter.