Saturday, February 01, 2014

Finding the thread--

detail, The Big Purple. Yolanda Sharpe, 2011.
26 x 80 inches, watercolor on paper
Cross-posted from Marly Youmans at

I have been feeling quite unlike myself in my work--wayward, disorganized, unsure of what's next--due to an excess of meets and tournaments, ferryings, volunteering, and extended periods of being a single mother while my husband travels. Sometimes life becomes labyrinthine in complexity and just a little too packed with labor that is tiring, no matter how good it is to do. I expect this sort of over-crammed sensation is especially true of women who pursue the arts, and most especially true of those of us who have children because children are, as Bacon wrote, "hostages to fortune" and must come first.

Ashley Norwood Cooper, "Deer in the Headlights"
casein on board, 2012
And so on Thursday, two friends and I started a project of setting goals, roughly following the International Arts Movement's Working Artist Initiative. I'll be meeting weekly with painters Ashley Norwood Cooper and Yolanda Sharpe. Ashley is, like me, the mother of three children, so we have similar problems with organizing time, though her children are younger than mine. Yolanda has a different set of issues as a full-time academic who is both painter and singer. But the three of us know one another well and won't have to become acquainted with one another's work because we know and like it already.

It's good. I can feel our little project working on me already--the need to organize, the expectation of sharing our progress at the upcoming meeting, and the simple but beautiful idea of that somebody else cares whether I make something of worth this week is energizing and helpful.