Reflections on the Autobiography Series
Here it is, the middle of January and I am still in hot pursuit
of my "Autobiography" series. Having just finished
my fifth one, excitement is running as high as the first day
I decided to pull my Zentangles out of their album and integrate
them into new work (Judy's Journals 2010-July, August, October).
It seems like a good time for reflection, which is what this
blog is about, isn't it? There are four things I can say about
First, I travel near and far to look at art for pleasure and
instruction. I read about art. I make art. I can honestly say
that I have never seen anything like this "Autobiography"
series before. The surprising combination of Zentangle patterns
and image (a transfer of one of my own paintings) is new to
me. Have any of you seen anything like this before?
That being said, the other day, I was looking through a clothing
catalog and saw a dress described as having "ikat"
patterns. They kind of looked like Zentangles, only in color.
I searched the term "ikat" and learned about the Indonesian
Second, like my "Pulse" series (2006 August), "Autobiography"
pieces may not be as marketable as my "Sun Effect"
series. My pleasure was equally intense when I made both of
these series, but something about the latter series seemed to
appeal to more people than the "Pulse" series. Perhaps
it was simply a feature of having shown "Sun Effect"
paintings more often. Making the "Autobiography" series
feels as intense. But saleable? Who knows? As Scarlett O'Hara
said, "I can't think about that today. I'll think about
that tomorrow." This is what I know: I have purchased twelve
clayboards that may end up as "Autobiographies" and
what will happen to them is anyone's guess.
Third, the learning never seems to stop, which is why I stay
excited. Each piece in the series will be unlike the previous
one because new ideas occur to me as new designs emerge. The
other day, I put all five of them together in my studio to see
what happened when they are physically next to each other. I
examine their likenesses and differences. They share dramatic
black/white patterns and a color image of one of my paintings.
They differ as the amount of new drawing has grown in the later
ones. I seem to want to draw more, so I am transferring fewer
Zentangles and riffing off of them. The placement of the color
image varies from piece to piece. In the second one, I cut my
painting image into strips and worked with those. A little painting
has been added to serve as an organizing principle in all but
the first one.
Four, there are moments when I am making an "Autobiography"
that I miss painting. I am in love with color, the more intense,
the better. Granted, I am adding a little paint toward the end
of the process, after transfers, after more ink drawing, after
pencil. But this process is not the oozy, mushy, slappable texture
and movement of painting. Perhaps, I need to interrupt my focus
and make a painting every once in a while. But what does that
mean? Is this series too thought-out, too full of planning,
too full of design problems? And what if the answer is yes?
To date, I have purchased twelve clayboards that
may all end up as "Autobiographies." Or not. It will
be a journey well worth taking.