What Are My True Feelings? Expressing them in Paint – Calistoga

‘May Feelings’ acrylic on canvas  about 4 x 5 feet   May 2012

click on images to enlarge

A ‘Red Line’ series is falling into place. It started over a year ago with this painting.

I was awake and wanted to paint. It was 2:00 in the morning. This happened during a workshop taught by  Leigh Hyams http://www.artsreal.com/. at Mountain Home Ranch in  Calistoga, California. I put some warm clothes on, took my  flashlight and went down to the studio. Turning on the lights I brought out a large roll of pre-gessoed canvas, cut off a piece and left it on the floor. I looked and looked, sat by it and walked around it. What am I going to paint? What is in you? Who are you? What do you want to paint about? What are your true feelings inside you. What have been your true feelings? What have you been dealing with? Ah ha! with that question I knew it was easy. I had just been diagnosed with throat cancer. How did I feel about that? What was inside me ? Not what had I been looking at in the real world.  So I put some limits on my painting, no familiar shapes or colors. The colors had to all come from within. The painting had to express how I felt about having cancer in me now. What color were my cancer feelings? They sure as hell weren’t pinks, peaches and cream, these colors being my familiar palette. I mixed up a mess of colors and started to paint. I painted with  my brushes, with a palette knife, my hands. I didn’t stop until I was done. The painting needed something. I took a tube of red paint and made a red line. The painting was finished. I tacked it up on the wall and walked back up the road to my room as the morning light filled the outside space.

‘Rolled’ acrylic on canvas  4 x 5 feet      October 2012

The cancer is gone. New feelings come with new experiences.

What I Present to the Public Versus What is Really Going on in my Head – California

‘Rolled’ acrylic on canvas 4 x 5 feet  click on image to see details

After reading my blog on the Blue Angels air show and  America’s Cup races, one of my blogger friends said she was looking forward to the translation of the day in paint. What went through my head was what was on my wall at that moment in my studio. The painting couldn’t be more opposite from my photographs of that lovely day in San Francisco. I remember Nell Sinton, a painter who was my mentor, saying to me, “Carla, we artists are different. When others around us are talking about the state of politics or what is happening in Greece, we are looking at the shape of a doorknob.” The people who are talking around me are saying, “What did you think of the Presidential debates last night?” My mind wanders. I’m thinking How would I paint that half eaten fig? What colors would I choose? Shall I abstract the form or shall I try drawing it just as I see it. The colors are deep – lots of  different colors in that piece of fruit. I could photograph it. Even photography changes the image. Everyone sees an object differently. I should draw every day. But, I don’t. why not?

To answer my new blogger friend you probably won’t see those images in paintings. ‘Rolled’ refers to the days when I was an ocean swimmer  and participated in rough water races. Entering a wave must be precisely timed. If you dive into that wave too late  you get rolled and don’t know which way is up.