As I look back at my time at Arts Letters & Numbers, I needed this week away from normal life to expand my horizons both literally and figuratively. Feeling a bit cooped up in NYC, but being totally unaware of the fact, it was lovely to get into the space of Upstate New York countryside and meet new people and discuss new ideas.
While it took me a while to find a groove with the outcomes of my paintings, the Arts Letters & Numbers residency allowed me the room to follow my circling trains of thought, explore painting processes and stretch my expectations for myself.
I've come away a bit calmer and assured that if I follow my instinct, it doesn't really matter what the outcome is because the larger connection between seemingly dissonant ideas is me.
On Sunday, I revealed my paintings for my fellow residents for their feedback and critique. And here's what I learned:
1. It's scary to put yourself out there to be judged. I was shaky trying to express my thoughts.
2. What people see in my work is how it makes them feel first and my messaging second. This was good news because it's what I'm going for!
3. They helped me to crystalize the words to say that this collection is about my emotions as they relate to the changing world as modeled through landscape. They are introspective, but not serene.
4. I've finalized the idea that this collection is "Nature, Muted" not the other way around. Because it's more than just neutral abstract landscapes. These paintings encapsulate my anxiety around not being able to fully see the landscape as societal trends are indifferent to its destruction. In this way, nature is itself muted, in that we can't hear it; and some don't want to hear it and are't interested in its preservation.
But while all of that seems heavy, the paintings themselves can be seen as sending that emotional message, or they can be something benign to behold. As always, I invite others' interpretations and emotions to surface about my work.
"Nature, Muted" paintings will be for sale on Wednesday June 14th (Flag Day!)