posted in: All, Art Lessons, Work in Progress | 7

Without knowing the outcome, the painting begins.

A general idea is helpful. In this case, I work from a drawing, an image too tall for a single piece of paper, so I used two. Greenery spirals upward amidst blocks of orange, blue gray, and what I’ve dubbed dirty white.

With permission, my brush skates around the arena of canvas, teasing the boundaries, leaving lines and shapes for further consideration. A dark intentional mess appears. Then the light come on.

The empty chair, perfectly content in the original drawing, feels lonely in it’s painted form. So I make something up, or rather someone, as if creating a character in a play or short story. A narrative develops. She looks towards the stairs at first, leaning her head upon her hand, but that’s too passive. I play with her, turn her around so she looks straight out at me. Better.


This sort of blatant storytelling was frowned upon in graduate school, the understanding being that the work needed to be either completely devoid of meaning, or so deep as to be incomprehensible by the common man. We learned all sorts of terminology helpful in not clearly explaining ourselves, except perhaps to others in the club, and often not even then. These grad school ghosts have my permission to withdraw.

Struggling with the building on the upper right, an alternative pops up, literally and figuratively out of the blue. Satellite dishes. Geometry in the sky, breaking up what might otherwise be an all too pleasant scene. The hair curlers show up soon after.


I hereby grant myself permission to be playful, funny, even foolish. I will shut out those voices in the art world using phrases such as “function outside of the epoch of making,” “polemical modes of argument,” “ineffable investigation,” and “simultaneous phenomena.” I went to grad school. I get it.

But we don’t need all that.  It’s curlers. Enjoy.


7 Responses

  1. Jim

    Love the story of the unfolding development. And the two fingers you give to art orthodoxy. And the tall format. And especially the echo of the satellite dishes and the curlers – the making of the picture!

  2. Nancy Filsinger

    And look what comes with freedom! – this is both whimsical and thought provoking. The glasses give her an air of mystery. The composition is chaos and perfection at the same time.

  3. Deborah Cheadle

    Amy – I didn’t go to grad school, but took Hort and Landscape Design courses at Edmonds CC. So I didn’t learn the language of landscape architects. When I hear them present their designs in lectures to the wannabes, I find myself feeling inadequate for not have all that terminology at hand. Perhaps now, I’ll trust my own thoughts, process, and language. Thank you, Deborah Cheadle

  4. Rita Moffitt

    love the journey, the way you write and the way you paint, love the story….you are AWESOME

  5. simonetta

    I love your mix of paint and words, to see how they can intersect, walk side by side, support each other …. letting the story within the story within the story unfold… and how it’s always a story of growth, and movement, and change, both in the writing and the panting. thank you!

  6. Onyx

    Amy, your folks would be so proud.
    Mother always encouraged Arts
    and Daddy did some good stuff.
    Thanks for spreading the family tradition
    all around the world.

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