Dealing With Angst

Acrylic on stretched canvas 48 inches x 48 inches

Last weekend, I held Open Studio in my home and studio. There was plenty of work to display. So much, in fact, that much of it had to be on the floor of the studio leaning against the walls and the furniture. After the weekend, we were ‘treated’ to an early rainstorm . . . .two of them, actually. The last one dumped quite a bit of water by our standards here. Enough so that it flooded my studio!! Mind you, it wasn’t deep. but enough to thoroughly soak the carpets and everything else that was on the floor . . . . . . .including some of my work.

One would think I would have picked up all that stuff before the storm. In fact, I had worked much of one day outdoors to prep for the oncoming drenching, but thought nothing of the studio getting wet. After all, we have sump pumps, french drains and all manner of devices to keep it from happening. NO SUCH LUCK! All that artwork had to remain where it was for the next weekend of Open Studio on October 15, 16.
On Friday morning, I went to the studio to enjoy my day of freedom and to be able to paint. As I walked from the bottom of the stairs toward the work area, I heard the “squish” sound at my feet. GAAAARRRRRRRR !!!! Nooooooo!!
So, instead of painting, I ended up mopping and moping. And Schlogging heavy, soaked carpets to an outdoor location to drain and dry them (only if more rain didn’t come!) By Friday night, the mess was cleaned up, the dehumidifier was busy evaporating the entire place and all the artwork was up off the floor . . . . .and the studio had been turned up side down!
Saturday morning I was beginning to twitch from lack of easel time. So, I went to my local art store, bought three large tubes of acrylic paint and a four foot square canvas (122 cm x 122 cm). I couldn’t wait to get it home, mount it on the easel and attack it with abandon! I needed to vent!
In a matter of two short hours I had covered the canvas without a preliminary plan. I was slinging paint and hoping for some sort of non representational outcome. (If you have been reading my blog over time, you know that is NOT how I do my art. I plan!) So, there I was painting straight from my emotions letting my mind assist here and there for a few design decisions, but I had no outcome in mind. It had the effect of standing and screaming my head off for two hours. I was emotionally drained and satisfied at the same time. The next day, I returned to the studio, and looked hard at what I had done. Believe me, it is very difficult to separate emotional intelligence from mental intelligence. I was in a completely different state of mind when I stepped up to the easel. So, I spent a few more hours tweaking here and there . . . . . . and up popped this figure in the painting . . . . . .All that was in that space before was a hot colored shape. This day, the shape became a figure. Who knew he would show up? Then, this morning, I sleepily realized I had not imposed enough color variation or tied a few things together to unify the piece and create a balance. So, back to the studio I went.
This is the state I left it in this morning. Is it finished? I don’t know, really. But I do know my angst is gone. I feel better now.

9 thoughts on “Dealing With Angst”

  1. I am so sorry to hear about the drenching and soaking and hope the art works can be salvaged without losing any at all. This piece did what it was intended to do and I'd leave it as is for a long time – wait and see if it needs more. I don't feel angst or anger but the hot sizzly color against the greys and whites works well to start a fire of some kind!

  2. But aren't watercolours far tougher than people like to believe?

    I've scrubbed then under running water in days gone by, to achieve a lovely washed out look not possible otherwise.

    I wish you'd posted the untweaked version too… goooooo venting!!!

    Glad you are feeling better now; hope the creativity bounces back better and bolder than ever before 🙂

    I get the feeling that there was a message other than housekeeping in that experience, somehow.

  3. Mike, first, let me say, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE this painting! Maybe I can relate because I went through a flood in my gallery (Taylor Gallery) in Slidell LA. It was amazing to learn what damage water can do. Funny that we still love watercolor. LOL! The human spirit is resilient. Your's is amazing.

  4. Ahhh, the healing power of art! Great piece, Mike.

    Sorry to hear of your mishaps, but I really appreciate your willingness to share your experiences – especially the time in front of the easel.


  5. Mike, so sorry to hear about the drenching, especially the wet work. Hope you could salvage them. Angst produces great art — here is proof positive — and has been for centuries. Love this piece and it has a Mike feel to it.

  6. This painting is no masterpiece, while I sympathize with your flooding, for all this praise, I ask how many want to pay $1K for this and live with it every day? Some of the blog-groupies seem to be blinded by what is good or not, it isn't doing Mike any good to praise this crap.

  7. I am delighted there are opposing views out there. I know a chap, who loves to denigrate every painter, artist, juror that doesn't agree with him or his style of painting. I wonder if it is he who writes. At least, those who praise leave their name.

    Not that I disagree one way or the other, but anonymous criticism is simply cowardly.

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