New and Frustrating

Today I finally got back to painting. I’m happy about that. It’s been a very long time. And we also installed a brand new air conditioning unit in the little window in my studio over the weekend! Woo hoo!


But I started this new painting and I am not happy with how I began. It didn’t go as planned at all.


This was not what I wanted to do at all. But there it is.

My plan was to totally freehand this image without a sketch and be as loose and abstract as possible:


And that is not what I am doing. Tomorrow I am going to have to attack it from a completely different perspective. This left me frustrated by the end of today, which sucks, but it’s been an ongoing challenge – this “loosening up” thing. Maybe to some of you, this already looks loose. Well, maybe in some ways it is loose, but it’s still not what I am going for. I am after something all together different, and I’ll know it when I get there. It most likely won’t be a painting I can “use,” or sell.

you see, I’m a big proponent of facing ones fears. It’s something I’ve been doing for about 15 years now – since I began suffering from major PTSD and anxiety. It’s been the only way I have been able to live. Everything that absolutely petrifies me, I do. If it scares me, I make a point in doing it because it scares me. I don’t know if it’s cured me necessarily, but it’s made it so I could leave my house and do those the things that previously paralyzed me, and made me stop regretting my life.

With painting, I have been chasing down a particular fear I’ve been wanting to face, but it’s been so elusive. I want to paint without any notions, preliminary sketches, plans, or forethought. Just freehand mark-making (without a net). All I know is that I am able to hit on this place of freedom at times, but then I get caught up in my head and start tightening up again. It’s not that I don’t like the art I have been producing. I do, I just want to experiment without these shackles that I think I am wearing – or at least find out if I’m actually wearing any! Maybe I’m not. I feel like the only way I can do this is to focus, or rather, stop focusing, and just paint freely. Just make gestural marks that imply what it is I see and feel and stop being so literal. Step off the curb and into the abyss.

That doesn’t mean I want to lose my mind like in Catcher in the Rye. Wait, huh? What are you talking about, Carol? I’m talking about near the end of Catcher in the Rye where Holden starts getting the feeling every time he steps off the curb to cross the street, he goes “down, down, down” and disappears before he ever reaches the other side. This was the part in the book where the light bulb went off for me that he was nuts, or having a nervous breakdown all along. I really identified with him then, when I was a kid. I’m sure other kids identified with him for other reasons though. I was kinda nuts too.

But anyway, yeah. I want to just step off the curb and fall freely into space – into an art space – and just paint some loose abstract interpretations of Los Angeles. Is that so much to ask?

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