A Cold Year

It is really amazing how fear of not being able to create really shuts down the creative process altogether.  For more than a year I have produced so little work, and I had begun to think whatever fire I had in my gut had gone out.  At that time, the studio I had worked in with 4 other artists had to close after 5 years of working together.  I mourned the Ioss of that creative milieu.  The group in the studio worked well together, bouncing ideas, sharing new techniques and really laughing a lot over tea and shelling peanuts.  I know it doesn’t sound as if we could have been very serious about our work, but we were.  We seemed to spur each other on, and really enjoyed each others successes. 

After moving to a new space of my own, I thought I’d get adjusted to working alone.  I began to force the process, and I kidded my self that I wasn’t overworking my paintings.  I found I wasn’t happy with anything I did.  After a few months I  started in a new direction in my painting.  Much looser, freer and I got kind of excited about them.  They weren’t too well received when I showed them to some other artist friends.  That’s when I got REALLY afraid. 

Last year was a cold year.  Coming out of the cold started with a new group to work with.  With enormous talent, and heart to match, they started to help rebuild my confidence.  We have become a critique group, an experimental group and a teaching (each other) group.  We are not able to meet as frequently as we’d like, but when we do it is productive in so many wonderful ways.  For me that means no longer struggling with a new style that wasn’t “accepted,” but incorporating that technique into a new approach that has left me dancing for joy.



“Rivers and Tides”

I have just watched the film “Rivers and Tides” again.  It is an amazing visual journey with Andy Goldsworthy, the sculptor.  You may know about him, but to refresh, he works with the land and environment to create both ephemeral as well as “lasting” works of art.  It can be as simple as floating vivid colored leaves in a chain in a river and the filming of how it moves and and interacts with the current, the barriers and the water itself.  But it is also the incredible amount of work he puts into creating a landscape “pod” out of found stone on the Nova Scotia shore – in the cold, working to finish it before the tide turns – only to have the structure collapse 4 times in the process!

His sense of recognizing what he is creating, as well as his need to do the work he creates, really hit me in the gut.  It is hard to explain to people what an artist’s work is about; harder still for some people to see it as work.

The film is terrific; it is photographed exquisitely. And there are extra short films as well on the DVD.

A Landscape Artist’s Blog

I am an artist who loves to paint the places we pass by on our way to look at the “view.”  Those scenes that are really easy to miss because we are in a hurry.  But it is these unnoticed scenes that capture the essence of a region; for me they are the places I know by heart. 

Please stop by occasionally to see some of those scenes that I love.

Dona Julian Spillane