As a painter, I have had "value" on my mind lately. That's a loaded term.
In painting, value technically describes the lights and darks within a picture; a way of describing how light wraps around an object to define it. But there is another sense of value that has been on my mind. It is more emotional and dwells within my heart. I get caught up trying to justify the value of my art. Is value connected to the technical appearance of how a painting is executed, resolved or the materials used to create it? Is value connected to a price or even if it sells? Is value connected to the painter's training or resume? Or is value determined by how the art is beheld?
When I look to intelligentsia and reactions, I will always find myself coming up short because that is a game of comparisons: comparing myself to other artists and even comparing my own individual expressions. Those answers are external, and determined by the world around us. Illumination lies within.
Its been said, "beauty is in the eyes of the beholder"; perhaps also value is in the eyes of the of the beholder.
So the question may be really, how do I behold my painting?
I liked the feeling of freshness and immediacy on the canvas in front of me, but had I spent enough time and effort on this painting for it to have value? I continued painting.
I sensed joy and excitement from the process of mark-making, adding texture, mixing media, yet I hear a voice in my head, "it doesn't look like anything". Again, I continue to work my surface.
To be in a place of unfamiliarity, and confusion often causes me to want to do something, a form of control I suppose. I have been called " impatient and impulsive" on more than one occasion. When I was a little girl, I was afraid of the dark. Is it that now as an artist, I feel I am in a place of darkness, and with nothing recognizable I see no value in some of my artistic renderings? I remember the invitation of Dutch Theologian Henri Nouwen, his paradoxical concept of hospitality : "the creation of an empty space where the guest can find his own soul".
Solitude is open space.
Awareness is first light.
And I am learning that the answer is typically the question.
How I behold my painting.