Studio Notes

a pair of geese flew by; outside my studio window; i’m glad elephants don’t fly

Chasing everyone else’s rainbows

Orchid. Oil on panel. Private collection.

Orchid. Oil on panel. Private collection.

It was my throw-back-Thursday, and I have been reviewing my work as far back when I started painting after we moved to Asheville, North Carolina from San Francisco, California in 2002. We bought a spacious house that was too big for just the two of us, but it had lots of blank wall spaces. Bob and I had no art to hang on our walls, so we visited some galleries, but for the number of art pieces we would like to grace our walls, it would have been too much on our budget. So I proposed to Bob that if he buys me all the raw materials, I will make art for ourselves. This was how I began my journey as an artist.

I looked at other artists works with great admiration and determination to learn how to paint as they do. I would chase every other artist and their works online because there were so many within reach on the Internet. So for the past 14 years I have been chasing everyone else’s rainbows and I could never seem to be able to find that proverbial elusive pot of goal.

Apples. Oil on panel. Private Collection.

Apples. Oil on panel. Private Collection.

While going through my paintings from the beginning till current, I had a revelation, that is, I already have a rainbow of my own! I savour the peace and solitude, and I savour the stillness and quietness of a place, even if it is in a hidden corner of a busy place like in a party. I seem to usually find that secret quiet place no matter where. Sometimes that secret place is my head in between a pair of “cans” (over-the-ear headphones), but with nothing playing through them. I do this often with my cans while at an atelier school, Carlin Academy of Fine Art. Not that it was a noisy place, but because I wanted the sense of solitude while concentrating on an exercise. It was my secret moment of deep meditation, and my “cone of silence.”

After nearly 14 years of chasing other artists’ rainbows, I have finally realize that throughout this journey I have my own rainbow! As I flipped through one painting after another, I realized a consistent voice coming through nearly all of them. It was as though the proverbial lightbulb coming on over my head. They all have a sense of solitude and quietness, as though they have found their secret place to hide from the rest of the noisy world. They have the spirit of myself savouring the sense of stillness and quietness of a place. I like to think of this spirit as my version of the umami (うま味) in my work.