Hello and welcome to my second Roots To Resistance blog posting!
Although this blog will be used to report on the news of the Women and Partners of Roots To Resistance, it has been suggested to me that sharing some personal thoughts and experiences about my Art should also make frequent appearances in my posts. So here is a brief collection of thoughts about my process of making Art.
Hmmmmm this is not as easy as it may seem. I don’t usually talk much about this part of the work, which is kind of ridiculous because in essence it is the work. So here it goes…..
The 3 important steps to staying sane and creating Art that makes me happy:
1. Go out in the World and get inspired, curious, angry, sad, reverent, awed and of course filled with joy. I guess this an obvious one but I can’t work well if my fuel tank is empty so I have to constantly remind myself to separate from the Art which is always calling me to it. I have to go out in the World and remember what life is, since that is what I am ultimately painting. To do that I always start with the woods and find a way to get in to them every day. This is where I find the awe, the curiosity, the reverence, joy and sometimes of course there are painful things to see out there too. Little creatures suffering like we do when things go wrong or perhaps when things simply take a difficult course. I do not have an idealists love of nature, there is pain out there but there is a profound grace which calms and feeds me. This is where I remember how life works at its core and where I am reminded about the deep and necessary partnerships inside of nature.This nature holds a small place in it for us all. It is always there every day, it is waiting. So when I work I am always tying us and the 12 Women I am painting to those partnerships and to the creatures and plants inside of it because I feel that they are the spirits and the spirituality that we so desperately need and seek.
Of course I do not spend all of my time in the woods and find so much of what I need in the company of those I love. I am blessed with a lot of close connection and deep rooted companionship. Simply leaving the Art for the day and laughing in the company of such friends fills the tank. No laughing=bad Art 🙂
2. Look at as much Art as is humanely possibly. Art can be so much like cooking for me. If you stay lost in your own World for long enough you are just making the same stir fry every day, it is a really yummy stir fry but it is beginning to become a very unexciting meal. For me Art is about mixing my old and well established ideas and imagery with brand new ideas, the ones that I am not sure work just yet. Those moments are the relished ones, the risky ones and the ones I am working for every day. Art is everywhere. In the obvious places like galleries, studios and on the streets, but my preferred avenue for doses of brilliant Art when I can’t find it in person is from books. I am in love with books and in love with what they offer me. They offer an intimate and endless supply of beautiful, unexpected, unique and awe inspiring images and ideas, they offer a seat on a huge round the World Art expedition that I can jump into anytime, day or night. So again this is about refueling and keeping the intimate balance between what I am putting out and putting forth in the work and what I am taking back in. When I forget about the balance, when I forget about being full of the big beauties, curiosities and intensities then my Art suffers and I suffer. So I try not to forget.
3. The last part of the process is transforming all of this intake into Art that is uniquely part of my language, my voice and my imagery. I think that is what we all want as Artists, to make Art that is new, to invent a new language about something that we have all been trying to speak about and to paint about but in ways that are uniquely ours. For my part I am trying to speak the language of intuition, connection and deep, deep feelings. So I am often taking ideas, pictures and emotions from the woods, books and loves and putting them through the Denise filter where they pop out on the other side as mini explosions of snakes, plants, fists, bones, bats cocoons, open mouths and hearts exploding with weeds and forks. The ideas and feelings fly out of eyes, ears, mouths, hands, ribcages, beaks and sacrums and they are meant to represent things in an intuitive manner. So it is ok for you to ask me to explain them in a language made up of words, but the description will not even come close to what is happening in the language of Art and intuition.They are meant to be moving, connecting, calming, turbulent, heartbreaking and joyful. I hope that they provide some of this for you.
This is a small window into the more personal Artistic process that I am trying to bring to the Women I am painting in the Roots To Resistance project. I hope it has been helpful and a bit interesting. There are so many other pieces that enter into the process of painting these Women> The narrations of their experiences, their Activism, their feelings, their struggles and my reactions to all of this. I hope to weave more of this personal story along side of my reporting on the 12 Women, our Partner Organizations and the progress and directions of the Roots Project.
The next post will be a spotlight on one of our Partner Organizations and some updates about the amazing Activist Natalia Estemirova. Thank You so much for your time and please consider subscribing to this blog!