During this 2016 campaign season, political rants move from one extreme to another, fueled by constant media attention. Like many Americans who want to stay informed, I feel the contagion and the dilemma: to tune in or not!
I’m reminded of a wonderful Ted Talk on creativity, given by novelist Amy Tan. In it she says, “There is no certainty, never complete answers. You become aware of hints from the universe. These become the focus.”
As an artist I explore pulses which resonate, whether from within or from what’s happening around me. Today I hear voices in the universe shouting. So I guess it’s no accident that my current art reflects opposite moods. On one hand, I crave boldness, dramatic color, and random lines. I paint quickly, tapping into an energy that wants to leave the painting completely. Unusual shapes arrive out of nowhere. Rules of composition beg to be broken. It is not a boring process.
“Opening Night” (oil, cold wax, charcoal, marble dust on paper)
On the other hand, my soul yearns for stillness and quiet meditation. I want a respite from the noisy energies around me. I am painting over old work which no longer speaks to me. I may scrape here and there to reveal a bit of the history underneath. But the top layers are mostly quiet and reflective, with pastel colors, lots of negative space, and soft lines.
“Morning Meditation” (oil, cold wax, collage, marble dust on wood panel)
At the moment, I cannot choose between these two creative impulses. Both are triggered daily, and compromise eludes me. Both pulls seem necessary to some forward movement I do not yet understand. But I trust that I am not alone in trying to make sense of our intense political scene as we head toward November’s election. Until then, I’ll tune in and out, breathe deeply, take long walks in a nearby forest, and paint on.