Thursday, April 9, 2009

“When you start working, everybody is in your studio—the past, your friends, enemies, the art world, and above all, your own ideas—all are there. But as soon as you continue painting, they start leaving, one by one, and you are left completely alone. Then, if you’re lucky, even you leave.”

- Philip Guston

I know I try not to have any expectations for anything for a number of reasons. One, it protects me from disappointment, and two, it makes for better surprises. However, I did hope for certain things to come out of this semester abroad. So far, it has exceeded my expectations, and is overflowing with more than I can hold... things that I need, and didn't even know I needed.

My director, Matt Doll, plays a huge part in the artist's aspect of why I am here. For almost every single class, he has some passage from a book to share with us, something of his own experience, and encouragement that comes from a true passion for art and it's purpose for Christians. He has challenged me a lot already, and helped me see in ways I've never seen. I feed off of his drive for this, and I am overly satisfied with how much progress has been made in the three weeks of drawing class we've had. Next week is the last week, and I can't believe it. I don't feel overwhelmed in any way, but so excited about what I can do and what I thought I couldn't do. Right now, I feel like I can take on anything.

When Matt read that quote above to the class today, I felt the floor drop. I don't think I could ever fully describe what it's like for me to be in front of a blank page. Sometimes it's unsettling. Sometimes it's beckoning to be filled. But as soon as I put a mark down, I enter into a new world. Everything is there, and it's up to me in that time to compartmentalize it all. Something is to be said about every stroke I make. The things that appear and disappear--even underly--play into what is created. How is it meeting my needs? How is it changing me? When everything else is gone, where does it put me?

A huge part of why I chose to study abroad was to find out who I am. Yeah, I know... cliche. But I mean in it all seriousness. I need this getaway. I need healing. I've found that to be a recurring theme of the students here. My only prayer is that we all find it--abundantly.

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