A look at my thoughts, and my paintings (artistically NSFW), from this week

This week I have been distractible beyond anything, though I have made soup and tidied the apartment and read four romance novels (I recommend Delicious). I guess I would call it an off-week, and it is the right time of my cycle for that, except that with my first-ever visual art show tonight even my inner critic can’t berate me too much for not working.

The show is tonight, and so far I have been mostly successful in fending off impostor syndrome, though it is (as ever) extremely close to hand. I don’t think this is because I’ve matured so much but because the show’s curators and all my friends and family have been incredibly supportive; there are so many people openly and enthusiastically believing in my work, I’m forced to acknowledge that at least some of them must know what they’re doing. This is ludicrous, because if I didn’t already believe in my own talent, I would never have applied for the show. But confidence is like the loyalty of a friend of whom you’re never quite sure: I have it and I don’t, often at the same time.

It’s so ridiculous but every time someone expresses their support, it scares me as much as it helps, because if they think I’m so great, then either (a) they are lying/confused, or (b) I really am that great… and since my friends are an astute bunch, it can’t be (a). So then there’s pressure, because I fear, after inviting all these people to come to my show, they might attend and be disappointed in my quite manifest non-greatness. But I’ve been keeping the pressure at bay. I have reminded myself how it feels to go to my friends’ shows: some have been amazing, others not, but when I’ve made the time to attend someone else’s event, it’s because I believe in that person and their talent. They can’t disappoint me — even if this particular work is not their best, or they’ve chosen to collaborate with others who are not at their level — because the faith I have in them is not work-specific; it’s person-specific. Whatever it is that they’re doing, there will be some kernel there that I’m into. And I’m telling myself that this is probably how it is with everyone who has said they will come out tonight. I remind myself that this is not a test in which I must prove myself — that the proof, if ever it was required, has already been given.

Anyway, here are the few other paintings I made this week.

I wanted to experiment more with color mixing, after painting next to Andrea at last week’s figure drawing session, and being stunned by her use of color. All those colors on the top are one particular shade of red paint mixed with one other color on my palette — everything from lemon yellow to indigo to viridian. And all the colors on the bottom have a base of ultramarine.


Then there are this week’s figure drawings. When I walked in I was happy to see the model, whom I have drawn before and always liked. I couldn’t remember her name at first but about six poses into a series of twenty 1-minute gestures, it popped into my head as if by some kind of hand-eye muscle memory: Emily.


At this point we stopped the class and went to see the RAC‘s Diebenkorn show, which includes some fabulous figurative sketches. I’m sure everyone’s drawings got better after that. For me, I was moved to include more of the furniture than I sometimes do, after seeing how well Diebenkorn integrated backdrops into his pictures.