Hope Sprouts

"Sprout" oil on canvas 10x8
“Sprout” oil on canvas 10×8

Resolution-makers are flocking to the local fitness centers
with hopeful expressions, flushed cheeks, new workout clothes, and perhaps personal trainers for an extra dose of motivation….

Getting out of a rut- whether physical, personal, or artistic – is challenging.  Maybe you just finished a large body of work, and are stuck wondering what’s next? Maybe family or health issues have pulled you away.  The time thieves are everywhere.
There’s nothing like the calendar revealing a new year to prompt list-making, plan-concocting and reflecting. And creating hope for what’s to come.

Around here, I’ve been paying sales tax, sending out work, cleaning and rearranging the studio, using lino cuts from leftover calendars and turning them into greeting cards.  Now on to the paintings that have been patiently hanging, waiting for my more undivided attention.

There are good reasons to step away from your work for a time: just to look at it objectively, make mental notes, to conjure up new ideas about it, sometimes very fleeting thoughts that you had better write down or they vaporize.

Working on your own in a studio with just your work and little else to keep you company implies a sense of hope. That if you keep showing up it will yield something. Hope that you will continue to be challenged, to see the work deepen and grow, hope that you will have the opportunity to show it to others, or that some of it will find a forever home and enrich someone else’s daily life.

Something that also engenders hope is the arrival of a seed catalog.
With another fresh inch of snow on the ground, imagining veggies and flowers in the yard is indeed an act of optimism.
Plus the descriptions make you believe anything is possible!
“if you want a radish the size of a watermelon…” “produces 5 different kinds of peaches on one tree!”… ”astounding foot-long flowers”… “one of the greatest roses ever introduced” “you can’t believe how sweet this plant is”…”blooms from June until frost”…”virtually thornless, incredibly fragrant, shade tolerant, disease resistant……”

The color pictures show you the end result, not the years it may take to get there in some cases. The descriptions don’t describe the accumulation of time and of patience it will take to get that final result.

Kind of like paintings.
You see the digital image, but how can you possibly see the layers of possibilities and fumbling and insights that took place over time? The scraping and repainting? The false starts and then the soaring momentum when things are finally falling into place…

Perhaps I will begin to think of my sprouting paintings in the glowing, optimistic terms that bring such hope is the gardening realm –  “An astounding environment” …”the best grass ever painted”…”color that sings”… “incredibly rich and thought provoking”- then make myself work towards making those things happen.

Hope is a good framework on which to hang motivation.

(p.s. some of my discounted 2015 linocut calendars are still available, HERE  if you go for the luddite approach to managing your daily events)

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