September 8, 2004



These times have been about a slow regeneration in the studio and the life that surrounds and supports it. My friend Marcus Adams used to say that to get anything done in the studio, you have to let the rest of your life fray (laundry, fast food, the stuff you have to knit together daily for survival). And while I do not believe in this literally and therefore I believe in applying tension to the equation of life and art. If not, one can become a monster or somehow distorted from the lack of temper... and surely there are many practices in art (studio and otherwise) that reconfigure the equation... but when I get into it in the studio- and by this I mean the heat of painting, not the prelimiinary motions of the beinning and not the final clean up -life takes a holiday. It has to be this way.

And maybe it is because painting (for me) is like an ascent on Everest*, it is best that it is hard lest I linger at the top too long as life frays and disintegrates intolerably. Here I am after the Z?rich show, setting up the first base camp for my next technical climb: the show in K?ln early next year.

I am also knitting:

Spanish (Castelleno) class. I remember a story about a teacher who was becoming bitter about "teaching alone". You need active participants or else a teacher becomes a babysitter. A charade. Right now, our language instruction is at a tipping point, and we've got to push into it with some homework. It was so easy to prioritize the show in the past few months, and even though there are terrific obligations I have arranged recently (one must accomodate fortune)... but now the tide has to lap back onshore. That means doing some old fashion rote memorization and habla-ization (talkin') conjuntos (together). We still speak too much English together at home, within the home. That'll change with practice and a little more vocabulary.

The floors. Ther's been a light cement (mortar) film over the floors, first and third (top) and we had to take a day and a half in an semi elaborate procedure involving acid baths to wash them clean. That's done. The top floor is looking good: a small timber framed room with three sides of white plastered stone and the fourth wall is glass and wood and doors that open out onto a big terrace, a view that frames the hill and the lighthouse on top of it all. We bought a light at a local store (the owner dropped heavy hints that we should learn Catalan) and the room is dellightful.

I was going to go on, and write about the big root I've just pulled out of the well and how I soiled it and how I made ammendsn with the neighbor and how we've imporved the computing and whatever. Better not to. I'm not a Llileks type, you know.

This blog is about the studio after all.

*Do I accept this simile entirely? Is painting like belly surfing in a muddy river delta? Is paintig like an afternoon paseo? Is painting like washing a car? Is painting like snorkeling into underwater tunnels that you have no idea how long they run as the tidal surge thrusts you against the sharp and encrusted rock and maybe you might not make it as you trail the flash of Kiko's light?

Yea. All that.

It's not easy but you've got to have the chops to make the difficult look like a lark. And chops can erode in days, thus a little anxiety.

The image? M51, through, I think to a site called "Astronomy picture of the day". Good stuff.

Posted by Dennis at September 8, 2004 9:55 AM

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