Monday, December 8, 2008

The Job Seeker

I wanted to post a new image before going out of town last week and grabbed this watercolor from the early 1990s when I was just beginning to paint and was at it daily and with a child's wonderful abandon. I still enjoy quick drawings of faces, creatures and humans, but do them in my sketchbooks now. This little painting wound up on the cover of a literary review for Georgia State University. It was very exciting. It seemed to me then that I had at last found something that I could do without much consciousness (read: self-consciousness) that would take me where I wanted to go: to the living world where people who manifested their dreams, executed their plans, made things happen lived. Painting little pictures would be the horse before my cart. It would be my vehicle. But this didn't happen. Even doing what you like takes effort.

Is consciousness the enemy of execution? The break in the links of turning process into product and then sustaining the two? Back in the little painting days, I found (was given) a generous framer who matted my work for free for a period of time and that enabled me to participate in some festivals. Because I didn't understand the images I made, I couldn't tell when something was 'good' or not and I didn't want to latch on to one type of image and work off variations of it. That was boring and possibly dishonest, though I might have learned why one composition 'worked' and others did not. Instead, I dashed out paintings quickly and what was good was accidental. What was bad was accidental too. The more thought I put into a painting, the muddier it got. In writing, thought is the enemy of the first draft, but the friend of subsequent passes until proofreading. Then it must go on to other things, while the work is processed, buffed and cleaned but left intact by gentle handmaidens with blue pens and questions that do not masquerade as knives but serve to bring forth what is there.

The"Job Seeker" was accidental but I can see now that it was attached to the very real, prevalent emotion of the temp, which I was: temping at Turner Sports, adjunct teaching at GSU, sporadic gigs with the State's Artists in the Schools programs. I was one or both of those hungry animals.

Now that job life is safer, I don't have that biting ferocity either to find editing work or make paintings that represent my fears or hungers. Now I'm not sure what my images can or should be. A look through my current journal shows body parts. Eyes peeking, shoulders shrugging, the head on one page, the body on the other. Pull yourself together!

That's a funny quip, though dismissive because it stops me from pursuing the idea that to be in parts is a telling thing, worth studying. (I'm trying not to say it's bad because I'm happy this week to practice living the idea that Everything Is As It Should Be).

And now it is time to get up and make the donuts. More as it happens.


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