In the studio we have been talking about the artist's "body of work". We have reviewed a selection of Gaugin paintings from the Metropolitan Museum collection. During these talks we have considered that what is important is not that our work gets better, our work is not a problem to be fixed or even a goal to be reached. The real deal is to do our best. The two are not the same, and our best is ever different and changing with circumstances.
So, how can we tell what is our best? When we appreciate everything as much as we can for what it is. To that end we have also recently talked about bringing forward what we gleaned from our experience with previous paintings. For this discourse we are looking to Paul Klee who kept detailed notes about his process and made lots of drawing while working toward the canvas, and afterward, to document how he accomplished his work.
What we seek to 'bring forward' is not related to subject, or even specific to how the painting turns out, but what we remember and learn from it, and are consciously applying (or not) to the next. Our 'best' is being lucid to rather than lost in the process.Though painting definitely has it's opioid effects, being aware of what we're doing under its influence is a much more enjoyable trip than blacking out and not knowing how to get back to where we were. Ram Dass noted this difference between the use of LSD and meditation when he became a yogi. To be lucid is to fully live.
All this brings me to a couple little links I want to share of the work of Joni Mitchell. Visit the first link below to see some of her work since the 1940's (at least), study her use of color, composition, experimenting expressionistically alternating with figurative work. In the second link she discusses her artistic process, being lucid vs. cerebral (starts at 8 minutes in) The entire interview is enjoyable. One artist, many paintings, a body of work.
Interview with Joni Mitchell (listen at the top or scroll down for video)