October 10, 2012

Week 1 at Constance Saltonstall Art Colony: Headbangers

This robin flew into the studio window. Poor feller, fortunate me. 
(charcoal on paper, 9 x 11 inches, 10.10.12)

A week ago today I arrived at the Constance Saltonstall Art Colony in Ellis Hollow, Ithaca, NY.  Attending artists' retreats can expose one's weaknesses and strengths, change one's perceptions and shift incoming expectations ... among many other quips of being a woodsyflower.

In jest I title this first retreat week, An Extrovert in Captivity. Not really. But it has challenged me to adjust to silence, to freedom, to restraint in materials. 

Concerning "freedom,"  I have nothing to pit what I hope to accomplish against what must be done, if anything at all. Where do these intangible pressures come from—not these woods. Not the bird in beak-meets-glass shock. 

At times, I accomplish things throughout my life by means of a term I coined "productive procrastination." This is when I select to work on something than generally needs to be done instead of diving in to what must be done. Regardless of where they fall into line—or out of, they both get completed on time. I am productively procrastinating here, as well, even with freedom to do/make whatever I choose. So to my incoming ideals—to the compost pile! 

I came to this retreat with a goal—to paint larger. To this end I limited my supplies as a fighting tactic. Alas. So when I feel like banging my head against the quiet walls of blank canvases....what do I do? Draw. And what have I found? Drawing gets me out of the mud. The painterly mud. I will paint but for now...

I plunked down along the gravel road (no traffic up here) and made some palm sketches (larger than thumbnail sketches, about the size of my palm). Today I began the bird drawing (above)...Birds here...they fly into the windows despite the deterring stickers. The sound arrests.

(watersoluble pencil fasties (1-2 minute compositions)

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