I took a class awhile back and left feeling frustrated and confused. I loved the rich texture and thick humanity of my Russian teacher – but I didn’t understand most of what he was yelling at me. Grabbing the brush from my hand and feverishly waving it around like a Baton he would balk “we are not drawink hea – we are pentink! – NO drawink!!”
When I dared show my confusion, he would shake his head in caring disbelief, and spout on about ‘coalehr ant valeue’. We’ve become friends. I send him my new work occasionally so he can cut it to shreds and tell me to keep working.
I’m blessed with another warmhearted mentor, for whom I am grateful. He challenged me to slow down. I did. I let my work breath. I took old gessoed boards covered with failed paintings and let new colors cover their crevices. I did not anticipate their completion before I started. I just played with them, and left them alone, coming back each morning to make small adjustments, building layers of paint and mixed colors. I found a level of complexity in my work and understanding in my process that I have not ever achieved before.
In that space I came to understand what my Russian friend was trying to tell me years ago.
Lose the lines. Build form with chunks of color, not line.
In mathematical terms a line is described as a continuous extent of length without breath.
A continuous extent of length without breath will only box you in – or make you pass out. I have found new oxygen. Sweet oxygen…, unconstrained by a line.