Friday, April 9, 2010

Painting and Writing

I had my second Alternative Painting Processes class tonight. I had to miss last week's lesson because of Sweet Charity (I hate Thursday shows!) so I'm a bit behind. But still having fun, even if I'm a very awkward painter. I can't get the hang of using a palette knife and am struggling with mixing colors. I seriously spent SEVERAL hours tonight during and after class back at home just trying to mix the shades of gray I needed. Who knew that gray would be so hard to make?! I got the hang of lighter grays, but am currently stuck on dark gray. My dark gray attempts keep turning out too green. Aghh. 

Anyway. Our teacher, Ryan, does some cuh-razy shit with acrylic paint! A running theme throughout his work is making silicone casts, filling them with acrylic paint, and incorporating the result into his paintings. It's like he literally makes 3D objects out of PAINT. I never would've thought that was possible. See an example HERE. All those little sheep are made out of acrylic paint using silicone casts. And he doesn't only use little plastic toys, either. He's made big boxes out of paint, full body casts, hands...INSANITY! So tonight he started teaching us how to make silicone casts so we can eventually do it ourselves. And that's only one of the awesome things we're learning...the other stuff is hard to explain in words. But SO. COOL.

One of my favorite authors, Natalie Goldberg, wrote this book about writing that I'm obsessed with called Writing Down the Bones. My sister lent it to me when I was really young and I loved it so much that I never gave it back...What a little shit I am. But anyway, Natalie Golberg has written dozens of books about writing since then, and I recently bought one called An Old Friend from Far Away, which is a book about writing memoirs. I've always loved reading and writing personal narratives and memoirs. So I started digging into the book over the past few weeks.

Oddly enough, I've been really scared to actually start writing. She gives all these great exercises and prompts, but every time I grab a pen I freeze up. I absolutely LOVE to write and I write very well, but getting started is always the challenge. I think it's because I'm a good writer and therefore I feel like I should always produce good writing (it's the same with choreography, oy veh). Last night I went to Target and bought a cheap 70-sheet notebook and then just stared at it when I got home. Too scared to move forward. But tonight I started writing. I intended to start small and write for 10 uninterrupted minutes, but ended up going for 40. I've been reading in her books about how if you just get started, everything will come out of you. But lately I just haven't trusted that sentiment. It is SO TRUE, though. Particularly when you are writing about memories or personal experiences. One memory triggers another and another and all of a sudden 40 minutes have passed. It's incredible how it all just pours out. And of course that scares me, too. Because remembering things can be so emotional and bring back feelings that we may or may not want to feel. But I'm hoping to overcome that, because I have so much that I want to write and have been holding back for a long time. I've been scared of my thoughts and memories. But now I don't want to stop. I'm hoping to fill the notebook by the end of the month.

READ NATALIE GOLDBERG. Her books can actually be applied to a myriad of other things besides writing. I love her.

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