Thursday, September 27, 2012

Artist Melinda: Conquering the Monster and Lesser Beasts

Down from the mountain top and back into the studio. Hmm. It was a rough transition, but paint is on the road and the colors are good.

What have I been up to? Well, you can tell from the title of this post that I've been wrestling the Monster (the Grand Canyon painting from so many moons ago). I think it might be done. What do you think? Should I keep slathering paint on it, or is this okay?

Sunrise Grand Canyon (Oil on Canvas, 5 feet by 4 feet, © Melinda Esparza)

This is a bit of a departure from the direction I've been heading. I've often asked myself why I have worked on this painting since 2004. Some of it has been to maintain technical skill. Some of my attachment is all about the land. I wish I could live there. I am still processing the 25 days I spent as a Grand Canyon Artist-in-Residence this summer.

I've had the privilege of talking about art with several women artists lately. Each of them are so full of talent and passion. It reminds me of a discussion on NPR (Are Men Finished). Well, of course, they aren't...They've just gotta scootch over a bit.

Really, though, the battle is within us now. If you get a chance to read, The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield, let me know. We'll have a good laugh together as we nod and cringe at the truth of it. Here's an excerpt written by the author's good friend (the link should go there, too):

"Some years ago I was as blocked as a Calcutta sewer, so what did I do? I decided to try on all my clothes. To show just how anal I can get, I put on every shirt, pair of pants, sweater, jacket, and sock, sorting them into piles: spring, summer, fall, winter, Salvation Army. Then I tried them on all over again, this time parsing them into spring casual, spring formal, summer casual...Two days of this and I thought I was going mad. Want to know how to cure writer's block?" (and painter's block, too--mse) "It's not a trip to your psychiatrist. For as Pressfield wisely points out, seeking "support" is Resistance at its most seductive. No, the cure is found in Book Two: "Turning Pro."--Foreword by Robert McKee

Yes, Resistance. I've been there in the past, and tried on the clothes to prove it. Now, I passionately do believe that some support is incredibly beneficially, especially when it comes from other women who are working through their approaches to art.

So, what the heck have I been doing? I have:

Learned to play a Stevie Ray Vaughn song (Life by the Drop), 'cause playing 'Sparky' is a great way to procrastinate, I mean, ahem, contemplate painterly things.

Started painting a bathroom cabinet for fun.

Spent lots of time training Diego to do fun dog obedience stuff (warning: loud background music). Someday he'll be able to do this, I just know it.

Got new, way cool glasses.

Finished reading, Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. Wow.

Did NOT try on my entire wardrobe. Nope. Not once.

Thank you for being out there. I'll try to get back here more often.