August 19, 2013

Interview with a Painter

Today's creative person is painter Paige Anderson. On her website, she describes the inspiration behind her work this way:
My most recent project represents what I have found while discovering my ancestry: repetition, consistency, veiled connections, endless succession, commitment, diligence, and duty. . . . Methodical processes also underscore the connection my work has to traditional women’s work—like quilting—as well as daily family rituals, ceremony and pursuing genealogical research. The use of patterns and layers references the process of uncovering our ancestry and regaining connections to our progenitors.
My work also explores the idea that I am but one of a string of genetically linked individuals. This notion has profound implications; that events give birth to events, changes to changes, and actions to actions; that I am but part of a grand causality. As I have worked on this series, I have come to better understand my own personal history as an outgrowth of my ancestors.
So now you have proof that Paige is a great writer, too. (Check out her mommy blog.)

Welcome, Paige! I have just a few questions about the painter's life for you. First, do you have any creative rituals that help you get to work?
Honestly the only way I can work is if my work space (currently my kitchen/living room) is clean. I used to take 10 minutes and clean or organize my studio space while mapping out what I wanted to get done that day.
When I'm in a good working groove (i.e. painting more than twice a week or so), I try to keep a journal with what I got done, how long I worked, and what I wanted to accomplish either the next day or within the week. Goals really help me push work off my easel and onto the walls. 
One reason I quit painting is because I could not handle the anxiety of hating what I was working on and knowing I was one brushstroke away from ruining my work. How do you handle those fears?
I look to my husband a lot for encouragement and support. He's good at taking my "I hate everything I did on this painting today" or "I think I ruined it"-type comments and turning them into constructive criticism. I guess I look outward for the validation that things will come around and eventually turn out. 
So how do you know when it's "eventually turned out"--when the piece is finished, whether or not it matches the grandeur you saw in your head?
I get asked this question a lot because of the nature of my work. I don't really know. It's sort of a gut thing. I have to like it before I'll declare it finished. I guess I work around the "grandeur" issue because I never really know what the finished piece will look like. I look for a balance between quest space for your eye to rest and parts that keep your attention and move the eye around. I usually put pieces up on my own wall for a bit and look at them for a while (and often tweak things). Time away from them and returning later always gives me clarity about how to finish a piece and decide when it's done. 
Thanks, Paige!

Readers, any other questions for the artist?

What are your creative rituals when you're getting to work? How do you know when you're finished? And can you describe your inspiration as eloquently as Paige? If not, how about in 10 words or less? Here's my writing inspiration: places I've been, both geographically and emotionally.

I'm off to clean my house so I can write. Happy Monday.

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