Take Your Coat Off and Stay Awhile

I think about process a lot — the way that as artists we build on an idea and move it through multiple stages of whatever it takes to turn it into a fully matured concept. This processing work is fascinating to me because of the ingenuity that is encapsulated. Order, combined with a very personal way of thinking, is what gets us from the beginning to the end of any one single piece of art.

I have been thinking about how artists become who they are, how they develop their own style and combine it with what they really want to say. It may be no more complex than the way any one individual painting is born, but instead happens over a lifetime. The arc of this process might come in smaller increments, and may even be interrupted throughout the course of a career by all the other things of life.

The other night I dreamt that I was taking off one coat or jacket after another for the length of the entire dream. I only had one coat on at a time, but I kept peeling them off, laying them over chairs or on the ground, without stopping.

They were all kinds of coats: a wool camel hair coat, a yellow rain slicker, a blue denim jacket, a sport coat, a ski coat, a leather jacket, a trench coat.

I wondered what such a dream could mean. For now I am going to associate it with this recent curiosity about the course we take during our lives as artists.

As we go in search of our artistic voice, we end up trying on a lot of different jackets and coats so to speak. We explore mediums and techniques, some of those coats are wool and others are polyester. We try different subjects or motifs which might end up being a sporty ski jacket or a fly-fishing vest. Over the years we outgrow our coats so we get new ones. When falling leaves turn to falling snow and we put away one and reacquaint ourselves with more appropriate apparel from the closet.

Then seasons change our palettes, and our current environment shifts our subject matter. When we work through enough of these transitions, we eventually come across something that fits just right and no matter what comes our way we will refuse to change…until it starts snowing again.


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