Phillip Guston and the Yuban Coffee Can

I bought pint cans of oil based paint from City Paints. I made my stretcher bars, stretched my own raw canvas, even used rabbit skin glue.  My brushes or hands were loaded with oil paint. The  five or six foot canvas would be on the floor. I’d tear into it putting down how I felt.  Phillip Guston was my hero. Elizabeth Murray and Jennifer Bartlett were my classmates. We painted and talked about Mark Rothko and Roy Lichtenstein while we listened to classical music and jazz. And then, we painted and we talked some more. When I was up in front of the graduate review board they asked me to talk about Andy Warhol and his Brillo soap pads. I think I  was into Matisse and Joan Mitchell at the time,

That’s what I wanted to do today. I wanted that big canvas on the floor. I wanted to let it all out. Instead, I looked around, found some old scrolls I was working on about Bhutan. They weren’t precious anymore. I took them apart, reassembled them, tore them, just played around with them for awhile.  What am I going to do?  Just show up. Just go to the studio.

I don’t know where anything is in my studio. I got sick, the ceiling needed to be restored big time. Friends moved everything out of the way. The ceiling got done. I had the old broken linoleum floor tiles taken up while we were at it. During radiation I kept drawing, then transformed my studio into a gallery where I exhibited my 80 Drawings in 80 Days. Now that’s over. Still, I haven’t put everything back. I can’t find anything.

Something is brewing. I don’t know what. I think painting is trying to come back. The Yuban coffee can held my brushes in college. It still holds some of my brushes. The other day my daughter said, “In your will I want you to leave the Yuban coffee can to me. When I was a little girl I thought the picture on the can was you, mom.”

10 thoughts on “Phillip Guston and the Yuban Coffee Can

  1. Oh my heavens! Carla – such talent, such energy I have never known about you. Thank you for revealing and sharing your life, your talents with all of us!

    Keep going! We’re all watching! Love, your cousin, Sarah T.


  2. I need that encouragement. I was just wondering why am I doing this? Can I keep it up? Is it interesting to anyone? Creating the blog takes a lot of time.but I am meeting people from all over the world and seeing what others are doing which is thought provoking.


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