I am slowly trying to get back into some sort of rhythm in the studio after getting back from what for me was an extended absence while traveling out to California for my show there. It was only a week or so but it was enough to disrupt that fragile balance and set me a bit off kilter. I can sense it in getting back into my painting rhythm as well as writing this blog. Just a bit more of a struggle at the moment. I don’t fret over this as I once might have because I’ve been through this more than a few times. If I put my head down and forge forward, it returns after a bit.
Sometimes it also helps to look at some of my recent work, trying to find the string of continuity that might run forward from it and latch on to that. In doing so, I looked this morning at a piece from the show at the Just Looking Gallery in San Luis Obispo, a 12″ by 36″ painting called Moondancer. It’s a piece that’s built on bold color, one that instantly catches my attention. The central figure of the red tree here definitely has the feel of a performer, either as an entertainer doing an expressionistic dance before the moon or as some sort of shaman doing a ritual dance asking the moon for whatever gifts or powers it might bestow. The moon definitely is in audience to the performance.
It;s that sense of performance that I will probably take from this painting today in the studio, both as the central figure acting as a performer as well as seeing myself as a performer before the easel. I often think of myself as a performing artist, each painting a new performance. Each day is both rehearsal and performance. I think that’s why breaks in my routine disrupt my rhythm so. It’s like a musician not practicing for an extended period. The ability is still there, just a little work away from returning.
Here’s a video of a classic song, Moondance, from Van Morrison, that might be the namesake for this painting. I choose this song today because if you were to watch many of the available videos of it online, you would be hard pressed to find performances that were not unique. Morrison does the song in different tempos and cadences, each time taking the same song and bringing something new to it. Again, that’s echoes what I try to do in painting, trying to bring something new in common forms and images that populate my scenes.
Anyway, it’s a great song from many years back. This version is from a concert in Montreux in 1980. Enjoy!