Friday, November 11, 2011


My life is jam-packed with good ideas and opportunities.
Over the summer it was energizing and thrilling.
Right now it's just overwhelming.

It's been sneaking up on me, stealthy and quiet, but I've chosen to ignore it.
Bad feelings have been circling like turkey vultures and I'm down here in my shiny costume, tap-dancing and spinning my plates in the air.
Tra, la, la.

 Here's the spiral:
1.  try to do everything
2. get overwhelmed by "to do" list
3. berate self for not achieving the impossible
4. become immobilized by bad feelings
5. berate self more for being lazy and doing nothing
6.  take on more responsibilities to prove that you are not lazy and incompetent 
7.  go back to the top of the spiral and do not admit to yourself that you are miserable

I've worked really hard over the years to break old patterns of behavior and re-write old scripts.  Still, there's a perverse comfort to this line of thinking.  It's so familiar!  I know how the story goes!  I can inhabit it so easily and I won't need to challenge myself! Hooray!
 Plus, there's so many ways to feel sorry for myself in this story.  I can walk around with the back of my hand pressed to my forehead and sigh a lot.

 It's been tempting to just close the studio door and crawl away from it.  Get in bed tell myself stories of martyrdom,  helplessness, and victimization.
Instead, I'm painting like a mad woman, because when I'm painting the vultures stop circling.  

Excited by the colors and textures of this piece I made over the weekend, I decided to explore it further and to work on canvas instead of cardboard.

It started like this:
 The blue circles on the left are paint samples, there's a bit of a muslin bag at the top, and another image of a plate spinner in the center.  I squeezed on some blobs of paint and spread them all over the canvas with a brayer.  I kept adding more layers and colors.
I totally regretted that orange as soon as a laid it down, and since I wasn't waiting for each layer to dry, it was quickly becoming thick and muddy.  Rather than waiting for it to dry and covering it with gesso like a sensible person (heaven forbid) I grabbed some plain paper and laid it on top of the painting and rolled the brayer on the back of the paper.
It looked really cool after a bunch of paint had been lifted off because you could see little bits of background showing through:

And I got these really interesting mono-prints too:

I was so entranced by the grungy layers I nearly stopped, but I knew I wasn't done.  I kept adding layers of paint, and got so excited I stopped taking pictures of the stages.  Here's where the frenzy ended in the wee small hours of this morning.

I had fully intended to use beeswax in this project, but now I'm not so sure.  I'm liking it the way it is.  I'm going to sit with it for a few days.

Here's to the start of a 3-day weekend
and Paint Party Friday
and letting the plates crash to the floor if that's what it takes to stop spinning.


  1. Wow! I love your painting! The richness of your colors and layers are so beautiful. The texture is amazing and can only be acquired by adding layer after layer of paint. I think we have all had the vultures circling at one time or another in our lives and I like your answer to the problem! Paint, paint, paint my dear one and worries melt away.

  2. I love the process of this - the finished result is brilliant. I also can totally relate to the whole spinning plates thing - my life is in a similar spin at the moment and I am always left wishing I didn't have to waste so much time at the 9-5 job so I could just get on with art!

  3. I say let those plates fall where they may! Keep on painting....this is fantastic! The texture is amazing and all those layers of paint look beautiful.

  4. Yes, definitely keep painting ~ Lovely colors and very expressive ~ ~ thanks, namaste, Carol (Share the Creative Journey) Happy PPF ^_^

  5. Great color and design. Much better than the orange. Faye

  6. Let those plates fall and keep doing what you enjoy, no matter what's crashing around you. In other words, act like a guy!

    Love how the vulture-ignoring painting turned out.

  7. I hear what you are saying, but sometimes a good hand to the forehead accompanied by a big sigh is just what you need... in the meantime let the paints fall and smash to pieces... think of the lovely mosaics you could make out of them!!! The painting is wonderful and is such an antidote to the horrors of the real world xx

  8. Love love love love love seeing the process. Did I tell you that I loved seeing your process??!!! lol We have very parallel spirals. I can relate. I can also say that right now...I think I am at a stage in my life (maybe age? as in getting old...I mean older.) lol anyway, I am at a spot where I think the overwhelmed part is not as frequent. I am allowing myself more latitude and it helps....I don't beat myself is too short to waste doing that. Right?!! lol You and I also create, layered and open to experimentation and perhaps failure. Cliff dive, girlfriend!!!! Cliff dive. ;)

  9. Love your 1st image of spinning plates...especially since I am a visual person. Your list below it is great (because it's true), too!

    What's most admirable, is that you are letting the plates crash. And you found inspiration in the plate-spinning itself to create a work of art from it!

    Happy PPF!!
    Mixed-Media Map Art

  10. Your painting is magnificent! That spiral is a tough one to ride - let alone tame. Hope the vultures find somewhere else to circle!

  11. So much to look at and enjoy and be inspired!

  12. How fascinating! I find it so hard to do abstracts - you do a fantastic job!

  13. haha! i think we are so alike based from the list you mentioned above. And to avoid feeling guilty of not doing any art I tend to push myself to make one but often time leaving me frustrated. Anyway I realize it's all about time management and doing what is more important first. You have done one great job in your painting. Loving the texture and background experiment! You're getting good at this! :) Chill and take it easy okay? :)

  14. I'm loving the way it is!!!!! Wow what a fun process, I can see how you would be up all night!I love your words about how the vultures stop circling when you paint,lol! Yeah thats the nice thing about painting for me too, my brain stops thinking and I become in the moment finally!Deb

  15. Very expressive and love those colors. Nice.

  16. Oh my do I know about the plate spinning! Let those plates fall and keep painting because that creation is fabulous. I love the texture!! It was really interesting to see it's progression too.

  17. We all have our vultures, unfortunately. . . I like the solution, of using the plates that have fallen and broken, as part of art. The painting is remarkable. Blessings, Janet PPF

  18. I love the finished project. Those layers and layers and layers of color and texture managed to turn into such a delightful finished piece!