Crossing the line. Taking a hard line. Follow that line. I am a artist who draws a intense line, so I am told.
When I paint or draw, I am generally obsessed by the lines and texture. I find it necessary to continually define and elaborate on the spaces. To find and develop the positive space and learn to let it be. I think this is somewhat akin to how I think. A thousand moons ago I had a graduate school interview. The o- so- lofty professor said of my art, ” it was tedious at best”…. He also thought I was a “pretty, white suburban girl without challenges who had nothing to say.” An artist is haunted by criticism and he did a number on me that day. My art was open season,sure, but he knew nothing about my experience as a human so far in life or the way that I personally experience things. He looked at me and thought he knew because of how I looked. Many moons later I am so glad that I didn’t somehow clamor trying to impress him or convince him. I was crying and could not speak to do that anyway. I was authentic in my art and being that day;right down to my mother who sat out in a lobby somewhere, unknowingly, in wait to prop me up. He would have had me distort myself and sights to suit his vision. I did not stop making my art because he invalidated me.My art has evolved over the moons and it has patterns thru the years that I find .My abstracts take shape and drift into the world of nature, my surreal thoughts expand across the surface, geometry shows up and creates order. I still define the spaces with lines and textures that erupt from my soul. They are thought, energy, action and indecision, anxiety and purpose… tedious he said but to me are beautiful,coming from a place where I feel most like myself . They are complicated like the lives everyone of us lives. I suppose I’ve lines on my face now too.Would a person like that dismiss me now for my age? It doesn’t matter. It never mattered what he said or what I looked like, it was something inside, that had to be put on paper. Something I was born to report.
The above image,”Letting You Go” is from 2008. My oldest brother passed away, suddenly, in 2007. It was heart wrenching.My mother-in-law followed shortly, then a uncle and life became,despite my faith,like a war zone. In time, I kept getting images in my mind of this energy that moves thru the earth and into the skies…the souls and bits of pieces of us that are not really in our physical bodies. The trees around me hold the invisible nets that keep bouncing these entities and parts of us back down where they feel our pull, where we feel the need to keep reliving them.They struggle back thru the weight of the earth, our emotions, find a channel to rise up looking for release and try and find a way to move on, past the nets. At some point the energy can bust up, take flight and be free into the beautiful stratosphere I suppose we think of as heaven. In the energy space we are forever connected, forever feeling but the universe expands somehow and we breathe again. We let go.I did this drawing several times. I was never quite satisfied that that the beauty and weight in my mind met the paper. Kandinsky said we would, in the future, know artists by their ability to project a image from their mind,like a hologram.I have yet to develop this skill so I will continue making marks on a surface.
Time For School
For a good five years I drove my daughter down our semi-rural street in the early mornings to catch her bus, which came far to early, to Jr. High and High School, until the time she began to drive herself to school in her Jr. year. Things followed suit in my sons world as my daughter left for college…so I would sit at the end of our street those early mornings, in my PJs if possible, in the car, with my child. Hoping to send them off to school with love and support and everything they needed to have a good day. Despite my intense love teenagers don’t always give up up much. But the moment has been precious to me always, taking them to school. I have always been so painfully aware that this time as a parent is fleeting and our job is to set them free. On the good days and the bad days there is a tree on the hill of the bus stop. I thought one morning about how many times in the decade of running to the bus I have studied this tree. It has witnessed my joy and heartache as a parent. It was winter,last January I believe. I wished it was a no school day, to hear my son bumping around the house. The tree was there and seemed to say,”no, its time for school”.
I had my stuff together enough to enter it into a juried show,framed and ready to go last summer. Against a lot of other entries it was accepted and I was elated and nervous.I took my ailing mother one afternoon, who has almost always been excited by my art. The trek into the space was a huge effort for her. She beamed and was full of joy at the site of it. “its full of life!!” she exclaimed.She picked up the gallery guide,like the old days and perused the show. Arrived back at my piece,complemented the show and exclaimed again”but yours,yours is full of life,beautiful life!”
My purple colored pencils, my purple paints, my purple oil pastels always seem to be the smallest…the ones needing refills. They spill over into indigo and pinks to oranges. I have to make a conscious decision in order to select another palette. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I do because I just don’t have enough purple left. I have been a artist since I could hold a crayon,I recall being not yet three years old, making life easy on my mom as I happily colored away for as long as I could.My mom was awesome, as I continued my drawings at bedtime… I was allowed to stay up drawing and coloring as long as I wanted as long as I stayed in bed. So, I would diligently assemble all my materials around me and continue my work til sleep found me. I do believe at that time I believed everything I worked at was beautiful. I am sure it was absolute pure, uncontrived expression that reflected feelings I did not even have words for. I wish I could view some of those works…but I recall well the feeling of satisfaction from them.
This painting is mixed media. I did it sometime during the winter/spring 2015. I don’t believe it is my “best work” as I am forced to look at it critically. I know I did produce it with some confidence of authentic expression,there was joy and I see it and I am content with it.
Untitled Mixed Media, approx 15 X 22 in on watercolor paper image prop. of Jane Callahan
Information on availability email JaneC1965@att.net