Sunday Letter September 6th 2020
An extra blanket on the bed, a good night's rest. I have certain books for bedtime. I like books that are about relationships and family for bedtime reading. Domestic fiction I think they call it.
I just finished a novel by Elizabeth Berg, then ordered another from our local bookstore. Right now I am reading a novel by Anne Tyler called A Spool of Blue Thread. I want the books I read late in the evening to lead me to rest.
A few weeks ago we talked about the promise of September and now it is here. I did not actually start a new blank book but I have been studying a lot about the Tiny Landscapes course that I am offering in October.
I have been working on it for months but my plan is to add a little extra something to it every day I am in the studio to make it really special. It has really got me thinking about my process and the process of artists in general. You know it is so layered, and in teaching you how to make tiny landscapes I want you to really see the process so that you can create your own processes. Join me. You can register below and do the course anytime you like. I am excited and working diligently on it. It is good to go back to school. It is September after all.
I took a long walk on the beach this morning. You know I was tempted to take my iPod and listen to an audiobook but I reminded myself that your mind needs space to wonder. Whenever you are reading or learning something you need to give yourself the room in between. I had been working most of the week finishing my butterfly rugs and working on the tiny landscapes course. I did not have another rug in mind. I don't like that feeling of not knowing what to make next. But I know that it is important. It is the "space in between."
On Saturday Cathy and Ceilidh were looking after the studio (Thank you!) so I stayed home. I had brought home an art book about Jasper Johns, an American contemporary artist. I was drawing, listen to an audiobook some, playing with my bicycle trying to get air in the tires, and poking through that artbook a bit with a cup of tea. In truth, I did not accomplish much. I napped. I looked at a really messy closet. considered straightening it out, stared at it a bit, and left it. I walked. I fried two eggs and wandered through an art magazine. Seemingly Nothing. Those days are so important.
By late afternoon I had my next rug. I don't know how or why but it emerged and I was cutting out a stencil. You know it when it comes to you. It is part of the process of art. Leaving space for ideas to emerge. Drinking tea and looking out the window. Reading, learning, staying open so new ideas can come to you.
And this all started two years ago at the Whitney in New York City with my friend Tish. I saw a Jasper Johns painting for the first time in real life. Seeing art in real life makes you love work. It makes you want to make art. That made me buy a book about him.
I think this year ( September is kind of a new year if you are a student and I always plan to be one) I will buy a new art book once a month. It is good to look at other people's work, never to copy but to see how they se so you can see the way you see.
Artists don't have a special secret, they just study and learn and show up, be themselves, and make stuff. Every art book I have ever read has told me this. That artists are just really curious. They love to observe and take things in. They love to learn. They love to make things. When they are really good at being themselves it shows up in their work.
My new rug will have so many influences. From the novel, I am reading as I fall off to sleep, to the art books in my studio, to the stencils I used as a kid. The things I am learning lead me to my art. It won't be one thing. It is never that direct. Those morning walks with no interruptions, those afternoon naps where images swim through your head as you fall off to sleep, they too add up in the count.
Aww gosh, whenever you start a rug you go in with so much promise. Let's hope I can just get the colours to work together. Navy, I am thinking and grey, but no that will be too dark, grey and cream maybe? Perhaps it will come to me this afternoon on my bike ride, or when I am enjoying that homemade ice cream. It all counts.
Enjoy your day, this labour day, when we are meant to appreciate workers everywhere, and the work we do as well.
Thank you for being there.
It is nice to have someone to talk to.
- Deanne Fitzpatrick