Juxtaposition, 24 x 36, mixed media
Elizabeth W. Seaver
I began this piece four years ago and never quite thought it was finished. I've been looking at it ever since, every time I am in my basement where it hangs on the paneled walls.
I like to do that. Watch an unfinished painting. It evokes a kind of patience that I bring to almost nothing else in my life.
Within the last couple of weeks, I took it down off of the wall and began renovations. Here it is. And I'm much happier with it.
It is on the wall of my studio now, for our First Friday opening. And, I know, it will engender much comment, the upshot of which will be, "This is different for you." It will be said with raised eyebrows, inviting me to speak on the subject. Each time I hear those words, I have to take a deep breath and endeavor not to bite.
Why do I bristle? I've given it lots of thought. I think it is because that is what I do every day in my studio--making sure that what I do is different. Unlike anyone else's and as originally me as possible--me, the artist I work to become all the time. Must I make everything look the same, even if it is my sameness? It is my great joy to get to spend hours making stuff and rearranging my arsenal of skills and techniques in ways I've never seen before (I'm not arrogant enough to think that no one has actually ever done it before.) That's my job, as I see it.
Now, do I really think that people are meaning to be anything but conversational when they say, "This is different for you?" No, I really don't. Despite being an artist myself, I do understand. I am completely intimidated to begin a conversation with an artistic stranger. My words stick in my throat, and I stutter....
"Have you always worked with these materials, or is this series different for you?" ACK! I've done it. I've said the unthinkable!
So, I do know why it gets said. And it is said by the best kind of people--those who are actually paying attention to my work. Bless 'em.
So, I'm steeling myself to hear the phrase that shall not be named often tonight. And I'll remind myself that it's nice that the sayer is paying attention and bite back a cranky retort.
(After all, how can I quibble....there is nary a bird in it!)