It’s not what you might think, based on the above work in progress. It’s that I finally started the series of paintings that I’d been waiting on for over a year. I hadn’t realized it, but I was waiting for the painting to tell me how to paint it (see below about intuition and broccoli).
I’m just having so much fun with the series and haven’t wanted to use time I have for painting being on the computer. Also I wasn’t sure if I was ready to post what I’m working on yet. I’m also not sure how much I want to share about each painting and the series as a whole, except to say that it’s sort of auto- and bio- graphical, about the men who’ve played a role in my life, hence the title of the series: “Lovers, Mongrels and Curs.”
This painting is the first in the series and it is still a work in progress; a little sketchy but I like it that way and may just leave it…or not.
I followed the saying, “If you don’t know what to do, just wait until you do,” instead of forcing the start of the series. It just took some down time to conceptualize how the series needed to be painted and for the ideas to bubble up (literally: I was on vacation, lying on my back on the deck of my little, private, open-roofed, hot-tub room at Albany Sauna, watching the clouds float by overhead while the hot tub bubbled beside me when it came to me that the series needed to be painted large, in acrylic.)
I wanted to work on two paintings simultaneously, side by side on the wall so first thought of using gessoed paper or unstretched canvas, finally settling on stretched canvases. But how to hang them?
Using Velcro to Hang Canvases on the Wall for Painting
After some brainstorming I found an easy way to mount two canvases side by side on the wall without harming the wall or making holes with nails.
I applied a few strips of Velcro along the top rail of my 36×48″ metal framed bulletin board already hanging on that wall (the cork is covered by a sheet of paper pinned to it). Then I measured and matched the other half of the Velcro strips to the backs of the canvases and stuck them together. To stabilize the canvases a bit I put a few large push pins along the bottom and sides. It’s working great!
Intuition: Listening to Your Broccoli
As Annie Lamott said in Bird by Bird: Some instructions on Writing and Life:
“There’s an old Mel Brooks routine, on the flip side of the ‘2,000-Year-Old-Man,’ where the psychiatrist tells his patient, ‘Listen to your broccoli, and your broccoli will tell you how to eat it.’ And when I first tell my students this, they look at me as if things have clearly begun to deteriorate. But it as important a concept in writing as it is in real life.
It means, of course, that when you don’t know what to do…you get quiet and try to hear that still small voice inside. It will tell you what to do. The problem is that so many of us lost access to our broccoli when we were children. When we listened to our intuition when we were small and then told the grown-ups what we believed to be true, we were often either corrected, ridiculed, or punished. God forbid that you should have your own opinions or perceptions–better to have head lice.
. . . So you may have gotten in the habit of doubting the voice that was telling you quite clearly what was really going on. It is essential that you get it back.
. . . Get your confidence and intuition back by trusting yourself, by being militantly on your own side.
. . . Get your intuition back and make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind. The rational mind doesn’t nourish you. . . Rationality squeezes out much that is rich and juicy and fascinating.
. . . If you don’t know which way to go, keep it simple. Listen to your broccoli. Maybe it will know what to do. Then, if you’ve worked in good faith for a couple of hours but cannot hear it today, have some lunch.”
6 replies on “Why I’m Not Here + Intuition, Velcro, Broccoli”
What a great post, thanks for this! Great concept, too. The Lamott passage is so right on. It’s the best thing ever when you are having so much fun painting that you don’t want to spend time on the computer! Yay!
Thanks Kathryn, And now it seems that patience is needed as I try to find my way with acrylics and not get too discouraged about what I don’t know, as I explore how to work with them. Jana
This series sounds really interesting and wonderful. It’s exciting to think about the beginning of a project, but I agree, sometimes it’s better to wait until it becomes a little clearer. How lovely to have that occur in the Albany Sauna! I wish you all good luck, that the volume on your broccoli is pretty loud, and a lot of fun. Also, that velcro? Fabulous. xoxoxo
It’s always such a treat to find a comment from you, Lilly. Thank you for the good luck wishes. At this point I’m definitely needing it! I’ve been struggling mightily with painting #2 and with acrylics, and with my competing desires to simplify and be detailed. This project is kind of like taking up poetry when you’ve been a novelist — many possibilities and the possibility of working with a variety of structures or non at all.
Thanks again, Jana
I don’t think I’ve ever heard the words “broccoli” and “velcro” in the same sentence! Once again, Jana, you’ve sent my butterfly brain on another amusing trail.
Oh, yes – that painting…reminds me of Hockney.
Thanks Diane, I really appreciate the comment on the painting. I’m on quite unsteady ground here, with acrylic and painting from memory. And of course I’m delighted by the Hockney comment. Jana
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