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Posts Tagged ‘Dorothea Tanning’

The Loner

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I was a loner, am a loner, good Lord, it’s the only way I can imagine working.

–Dorothea Tanning

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I have things to do this morning and really just wanted to show the Dorothea Tanning painting, La Truite au Bleu, at the top, mainly because it pleases me very much. But I find I have to at least make a comment on the quote attached to this post.

I’ve have always worked alone as a painter and, like Tanning, can’t imagine it any other way. With only a few exceptions, when someone is in my studio, I am a bit on edge and even a little defensive. To have someone in the studio on a regular basis, say like studio assistant, would have me nervous and jerky. It would keep me from drifting off in thought when I felt like doing so or screaming in anger or crying in sad happiness.

And to do what I do, I need to do those things.

But more than that, I would have a hard time painting. At least, painting anything meaningful. There would always be something missing, as though I couldn’t commit everything because I would be distracted in maintaining a facade for the other person in my space. I would always be keenly aware of their presence.

I don’t know if that’s good or bad or if it matters in the least. I do know that Tanning lived to be 101 years old, dying in 2012. And until the end of her life, she painted and wrote , always working alone. So, maybe being a loner has it’s advantages.

I guess I will find out, one way or the other.

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Art has always been the raft onto which we climb to save our sanity. I don’t see a different purpose for it now.

Dorothea Tanning
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Doing research for this blog, I run into so many artists that work well into their nineties and beyond that I begin to get hopeful for my own longevity. I try to see if there is some sort of common denominator among them, something that might be a key to their long careers and lives.
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There seems to be among many, at least to my eye, a constant striving for growth and change in their work. There are often new subjects, new styles, new mediums and new processes. But a constant state of wonder.
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Dorothea Tanning is one such example. Born in 1910, she worked until late in her life and died at the age of 102 in 2012. Her work changed throughout her career, having multiple phases, but always remained her own. I am only showing a few of her pieces here, a few that immediately grabbed me this morning, along with a short video with a bit of an overview. Like many artists I show here, I don’t know a lot about her work but hope to use this as an introduction.
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Hopefully, in forty years or so, I will still be following Ms. Tanning’s example. But most likely only if I try continue to attempt to grow. Because as Dorothea Tanning also said: It’s hard to be always the same person.

Tanning, Dorothea

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