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This week at Pocoapoco contained a month (or a lifetime?) and learning, as she does. Dear Oaxaca, you wise old mountain of a gal. The Language of Making workshop led by Mariana Garibay Raeke is a masters level seven-day series of examining one's art through an evolving toolbox of new creative languages. Questions are asked such as: what do you want from your art right now? Who are you? What is your art in 8 words? I cannot recommend it enough for anyone looking to know their practice more thoroughly, examine their influences and context, and gain perspective on where you and your art are going together. The next workshop in late May will be offered online over a longer time period, for those who are interested in a more reflective, time-lapse version of this process. For me, the close-up examination of my art practice could not have happened the way it did without the generous and talented people I shared the space with. A wildflower media mix of artists from photographer to philosopher (that's you, Inès) to installation to ceramicist. Talking through lofty topics with a wide prism of perspectives enriched the conversation daily. Thank you and please check out the work of Karen Zhou, Dora Somosi, Bri Emery, Alisha Sturino, Meirav Ong, Simone Bodmer-Turner, Ines Placensia, Suri Patel and Colleen Herman. The week could not have left me with more tabs open in my browser, heart and mind. A small list of artists and resources running through my windows right now includes: Peter Bradley Virginia Jaramillo Amy Dury Botanical Colors Morris Louis Jean-Baptiste Besançon Elizabeth Neel Helen Frankenthaler Sol LeWitt Ellsworth Kelly Daniel Arnold John Berger Jenny Odell NOT Gertrude Stein Milford Graves Ruth Asawa Carrie Crawford and on... For me, the question of "What does the work want from you right now?" is fundamentally the "right" question. The feedback from the group was that I am missing out on good potential by not identifying as a photographer & giving that medium space to grow. I realized (duh) that so many of my favorite artists to look at are photographers: Daniel Arnold, Andy Smith, Gregory Crewdson, Julia Gillard and Wolfgang Tillmans. After I got a very blurry roll of film back this week, I have doubts, but as my patient husband taught me: if you get one good shot off a roll, it is a success.

The second wave of understanding I am processing is whether the hands I have been painting for the past year in the way I have been painting them for the past year are... big enough to provide for me what I want my paintings to hold. Meaning that, through the painstaking and thoroughly enjoyable process I use to create the paintings- photograph, digitize, edit, crop, draw, trace, paint- am I adding something more to the hands by painting them? Or are they as perfect, tender, expressive and alive as I want already in their photographed state? And if so, what am I trying to convey by working in paint that is beyond what I can reach in photography? I want to look at them and feel the RADIATING JOY OF BEING ALIVE. I want a deep rush from the heart through the fingertips of PURE BEAMS OF LOVE FOR THE WORLD. Pretty straightforward... But seriously, I had the good fortune of Mariana giving me some straightforward feedback wondering if I am trying to fit into the traditional art canon with this series of paintings, or if I am focusing on what I want to express first, and then asking myself what is the truest way I can manifest that. It's a penetrating way to look at things, and I do feel like there is a beautifully direct communication in my more color-form forward paintings of previous years worth reexamining.

So if you wanted the inside goop on my brain, there it is. I am looking forward to writing more here and for myself in the coming months, to sharing more inspiration, photos and explorations in a more creative way. Everyone go to Mexico!


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