The palette, heavy from years, (no exaggeration, I mean years) of used and unused paint, was unsteady in my hand. The palette was unsteady because my hand was unsteady. And my hand was unsteady because although I was concentrating on the dampened canvas in front of me; I could feel the eyes of strangers watching my brush, stroke by stroke.
Painting with erratic hands is an ambitious challenge. Painting with steady hands is an ambitious challenge… Painting is an ambitious challenge.
… and I was painting in front of people.
You know what the problem is with painting in front of a curious crowd of people? There is no confidentiality of the artist’s true identity. In my home, I can get irritated, soaked in frustration, and so enraged, I chaotically cover my work in thick black paint, hoping for a refreshing and inspiring clean slate. When I’m desperately within my painting, wandering in the colors dyed on my brushes, happening to stain my hair and skin with the pigments on my palette, I’m hidden, comforted by my seclusion.
“Hey, Brie, you gotta little paint on your forehead, and chin, and also thigh.”
This post appears to negatively frame the events of my FIRST EVER incredibly, incredible Live Art Show… But, that is not the case. It is just a sincere discovery of my vulnerabilities whilst
Here’s my confession…
I rolled up to the event in a tightly organized, almost formulaic suitcase full of art supplies. My palette knives were squeaky clean and organized by size. My paint stacked beautifully in a plastic container, and the towel I use for drying brushes folded precisely on top. My hair was even straightened and tucked behind my ears, unusual to the truly massive and curly bun that routinely sits on my head.
That tidy and beautifully organized suitcase may be vital to preparation but has no honestly in my production.
The more I piled paint onto the canvas, the colors mixing hypnotic and melodic, the more I eased myself into the comfort of my of my usual mess. Soon there were crushed water bottles and Sprite cans scattered around my easel and paint tubes falling onto the floor. I was soothed into my true identity: Klutzy girl with manic eyes, unconsciously wiping wet brushes on the thighs of her pants, tripping over the tubes of paint dispersed across the floor, and spending minutes looking for brushes hidden behind her ear.
The suitcase was preparation; the disarray was my brain at work.
As people approached, pulling me in and out of the enchanting focus of my labor, asking me about my work, with a surprising interest, I began to gain confidence.
Their questions were genuinely enthusiastic. And the more questions I was asked, the more I understood what I was painting, and why.
The interest from the audience gave my painting a bigger purpose. It involved their voices and conversations. When I met new people with a handshake, their energy was transferred into me, which was then transferred into the painting. When they talked to me, they changed the pace of my hand. My brush danced with their commentary, begging to respond. The audience became a part of the journey, part of the brush strokes.
I don’t get the privilege of interest in the privacy of my apartment. Painting in seclusion allows me the privilege of overthinking, over-examining, and over criticizing. At the show, there was thinking and examining and criticizing but in a way that made my painting breathe.
What was this painting??
The painting subjects the event’s main attraction Ibra. He’s 19, he’s young. He spends the first part of his day dreaming, and the second part of his day creating. He hasn’t found his power yet, but he knows pride, he trusts his path, even if he doesn’t know here it’s going. And in the darkness of the world, he leads a class of young poets with dreams as big as his, with voices that matter.
Photos at event by :
Marisa Savegnago @sdesign217
Sydney Rinehart @squidfishious