Final Day


Wishing I could fly my kite all the way home from the beach, I’m enjoying the last full day here. There are so many drawings I’ve not been able to share with you…perhaps I can create some sort of video montage for you when I get back home.

But not before I fly a kite one last time at the beach. 🙂

A Day at the Beach…

“A day at the beach is like silk in your hands…” I dunno. Even though there’s sand and salty water, it’s just how it feels to me…silky, blythe days unfurling in color and doodles.

P.S. I’m using my ipad for blogging, including taking the pictures. The color is not nearly so vibrant as the actual page in my sketchbook. Oh well. It’s fun anyways!

Responding to Rutenberg: Limitations


In Brian Rutenberg’s Studio Visit #16, he begins the talk recounting some casual banter between friends over dinner one evening.  The subject was “limitations”, which he says “Every artist has” and that he is continually inventorying his. I nearly fell out of my chair when I heard him say this, wondering what, if any, limitations to being the artist he wants to be, he might have.

It was incredibly encouraging to hear an artist of his stature speak of limitations.  Though his list of limitations has largely to do with ways in which he would like to expand artistically, I nevertheless found it amazing that he often goes through the ways in which he feels limited and yet finds a sense of “spaciousness and comfort” there.

What I find myself listing as limitations in my art is largely in the categories of station in life (ie. motherhood), resources, and opportunities (living in a small town as opposed to an art mecca such as NY).  Nevertheless, I was encouraged and inspired by Brian to think of these boundaries or limitations as places where I actually can find freedom and “permission”.

He says, “Because perhaps it’s the intensification, the concentration of those limits, that give our work its truth and its humanity and its vigor…and content.  It’s that continual longing to break from those inescapable things, those limits, to get better, that I’ll never be good enough, that it’s the longing to get better, the longing to speak more clearly, more directly, with less, that keeps me going.  It’s very comforting, these notions.”


To say that his words were encouraging would fall short of the affirmation I received on hearing that all artists struggle with, or are at least cognizant of, limitations. And then, to be inspired to think of these limitations as places of “spaciousness, comfort, and permission” is something I’m carrying with me every day as I go about all the motherly and household duties, as I go about teaching art to young children, and the myriad of other things that seem to come between me and being the artist I long to be.  He goes on to say:

“So for me it’s not the question, “Are there limitations?” The question for me is, ‘Do I inhabit my limitations?’ And I think that’s the really important point: one must utterly inhabit their work.”

These final words on this subject were incredibly centering for me.  I now have this wonderful call to INHABIT my limitations each and every day.  To embrace them, and to create works in my sketchbook that continue to grow out of those limitations.  I may not be working on huge canvases and exhibiting them in galleries and shows, but I have the same call to create art and I must inhabit the life I have in order to create works which contain even a grain of “truth, humanity, vigor and content”.

Thank you Brian Rutenberg.

Responding to Rutenberg

ID #103

I’ve recently discovered an artist whose work and words I’m eating up these days.  To say that his paintings are delicious would be correct…the color, movement, and draw-you-in composings on canvas are breathtaking.  His words are equally inspiring.

Brian Rutenberg lives and works in New York City.  His work is about as far on the other end of my own artistic offerings as one might be.  He has an art degree while I have a French degree. He was a Fulbright Scholar and has made his living from his art whereas I have raised kids and worked small odd part-time jobs while my art-making has been stashed in-between every-which-way.  He works in oils on HUGE canvases and currently I work in a sketchbook. He works in abstraction, with his drawings in charcoal being representational; I draw representationally with forays into abstraction.

We do have a few things in common though: born in the same year, southern upbringing, family people (he is married with two children; my husband and I are raising three). But the largest common denominator is a love for articulating all-things-art.  And this is what I want to share with you…my reactions and responses to a few of the ideas and thoughts he presents in his marvelous Documentaries.

There are 18 of these 10-minute videos of Brian speaking to us about his work.  I’ve watched them all, eagerly absorbing and mulling over the concepts he espouses and describes so eloquently.  You really must watch these.  I suggest watching only one or two and then spend a few days thinking about them and letting the ideas seep into your way of creating.

ID #105

I have also been making more of these Improvisational Drawings (as I’m calling them:).  I’ve started numbering them with ID (stands for Improvisational Drawing) and then a number.  I’ve also taken to writing about each of them on the back, or on a sheet of paper placed in an envelope I glue on the back.  I enjoy creating the words that speak to how the drawing evolved, any thoughts as to why, and specifics about approach, or underlying ideas.  The drawings themselves are in no way an attempt to replicate Rutenberg.  The thing I’m going for is to consider the elements surrounding the drawings, the making of them, the impetus behind them…like Rutenberg, as he so wonderfully communicates in his Documentaries.

My next post will be responding to one aspect of one of his talks. In the meantime, see if you can watch a few of his documentaries.  It will be time well spent!