Friday, December 09, 2005

surprise and madness

Impossible Vacation 2

This week's Illustration Friday theme is "surprise". The first one I saw was Artwork Anonymous' fantastically creepy offering and I immediately thought of Robert Genn's letter on creativity and mental illness earlier this week.

I'm fascinated by the link between creativity and mental illness. I thought about it yesterday when I caught up with a friend on the phone and she inevitably asked, "Sold anything lately?" I wanted to reach down the phone lines and throttle her. Why doesn't she ever ask, "Are you dancing with the devil yet in order to achieve artistic nirvana?" or "Have you slain any creative dragons?" or "How's that mental block coming?" Outside of this strange, tortured and fantastic little world it's all about the bottom line. Unfortunately the bottom line has a way of spilling into one's strange, tortured and fantastic little world* and there's where the madness lies in my opinion. It's enough to make a girl want to slice off an earlobe.

Van Gogh's life was short, but I'm convinced it would've been a lot shorter if he hadn't started painting when he did. I'm a lot saner now than I was before I started painting again four years ago. And I still have both my ears.

*I got a hand-written Christmas card from my art supply shop, Opus, on Wednesday. That can only have happened because I've funnelled so much cash money into their coffers this year that I merit "special recognition". I shook the envelope, waiting for the massive discount coupon to drop out of it, but alas alack...


Blogger merlinprincesse said...

Creation has always been in me. But that's true that in the darkest parts of my life, it has helped a lot. An I love your illo. So different! You surprise me each time. :o)

9/12/05 9:29 a.m.  
Blogger carla said...

Andrea, Im glad you still have both ears! This painitng does have a Van Gogh vibe to it, must be the wild swirly brushstrokes and the bold colors. It's like a vortex or some kind of crazy dance...I keep looking to see if figures will emerge from the lines. Did you paint this for this week's topic?

9/12/05 9:30 a.m.  
Blogger Catnapping said...

ooooo. i like. i might call this channeled chaos.

great job. the sharp contrast between red and blue...and the overall manic feel...yes.

9/12/05 10:03 a.m.  
Blogger Andrea said...

People who don't make art often do not get people who do. This I have learned.

9/12/05 10:58 a.m.  
Blogger Gothamimage said...

No one loves life like an artist, but nothing is tougher than true love.

Saw you ask abour epic poems on another blog -- stop by our blog and read our (comical, sort of) attempts at epic poems - look for Cheneymammon.

I need more time to comment on the compelling art work. not being an artist, as that term is usually understood, wanna think more.

9/12/05 11:47 a.m.  
Blogger ValGalArt said...

wow! I love your painting andrea! I also love what you have to say. It is so sad but true that as an artist our self worth is measured in dollars and sense, hehe. I admitted to being crazy years ago. I used to try to convince everyone I was normal, but I only have my husband and dog left now and they know who I am. Another great painting andrea.

9/12/05 12:12 p.m.  
Blogger Caroline said...

This is like a knitting of fireworks!

But the knitter has strange tensions.

Vibrant and cool mix in lines that change the view.

Like one of Monet's Haystacks exploding!

9/12/05 1:54 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All artist's are "mad", we have a chap at work who is schizophrenic and his outlet is painting, and I agree that is a large aid in keeping his illness in check. Having said that, I think your piece captures the Van Gogh style and the relevant feeling of crossed wires, the colour scheme would suggest not all is lost and that some harmony exists.


9/12/05 2:02 p.m.  
Blogger Brian the Mennonite said...

When I look at this, I imagine you making these small and broad strokes. It makes me think that I'd like to watch. Me being very, very new to the whole world of formal art, I think it would be very interesting watching from the blank to the finished.

9/12/05 4:06 p.m.  
Blogger Anonymous said...

So glad you admit we share the same remedy for torture };-}

Dynamic! Can see a line of focus splintering through the fractures of torn up Christmas card whilst dancing with the devil.

Must get back to creating, can feel Insanity catching up again ...

9/12/05 10:16 p.m.  
Blogger Urban Convert said...

Great choice, Andrea. I really like this one. And your blurb rings particularly true this week because decided that, this week, I decided I had to draw my entry, then chose the first thing that popped. Thanks for the inspiration.

10/12/05 1:11 a.m.  
Blogger miragee said...

Wow, I can feel tangled emotions in your illo. The combination of the two major tones of color is SUPERB!

10/12/05 4:30 a.m.  
Blogger cream said...

Andrea, I was gonna say:"Nice jumper!" but no...
I lost your blog for a while but I am glad I found it again!
Cool self-portrait! And your family photos are great!

10/12/05 5:38 a.m.  
Blogger frank h said...

Oh, this work is great!
I your comments are so interesting as well
Wonderful blog, wonderful

10/12/05 8:58 a.m.  
Blogger Mick said...

I found the Robert Genn letter fascinating too, Andrea. After all, I talk about "hearing voices" at my own blog from time to time. We fragile, creative types do have a more direct line to the muse I believe...remembering to listen for it is a common task. Anyway, your image is rife with symbolism - controlled/out-of-control - hot/cold - simple/complex. Lovely take on the theme. :)

10/12/05 10:21 a.m.  
Blogger scott said...

yes those comments are so spot on.
money is the root of all weaveling of the artistic endeavor. I have signed up to recieve the mans letters too, so thanks I think.
(I recieve so many things that my inbox is a little unmanageable, but there are things that I always find the time to read, so this could be become one of them. I'm not sure yet. He seems a bit spoiled at first glance.)
one last point. I came via your blogger profile and have to say that I have taken another quote by gide, well to be more accurate a quote quoteing gide, on board as my artistic guiding light.
having seen your's I will have to find out who the hell he was ;)
mine is as follows, (without attribution, as I have no idea where it came from. It just stuck in my head.)
"be faithful to yourself", said gide to the artist, "and do that which only you can do. What another would do so well as you, do not do. That way, and only that way, make yourself indispensable"
sure has meade my life hell ever since

10/12/05 3:56 p.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

I'm glad several mentioned the Van Gogh connection. I'd forgotten that a friend said, after seeing these paintings (there's 6 all together and I painted them about 18 months ago) that they're like "21st century impressionism." This one was the most manic of the group I thought: the edge of madness (and I love that phrase "knitting of fireworks", Caroline). And Scott -- Bob's letters almost always have something relevant or amusing, and I love the response letters ("clickbacks") so it's a worthwhie addition to your inbox if you have the time to read them. Thanks for the great feedback all -- I learned as much about this work from you as I did from doing it! :)

10/12/05 10:05 p.m.  
Blogger Twisselman said...

Great illustration. Got pulled in and got lost in it. Nice.

10/12/05 10:10 p.m.  
Blogger Alina Chau said...

This is brilliant!!

10/12/05 11:18 p.m.  
Blogger kyknoord said...

People always find it difficult to let go of the perception that money is the only measure of success. Most annoying.

11/12/05 10:33 p.m.  
Blogger LDahl said...

Like paper confetti being thrown from buildings at a great height...some of them are turning into birds on the way down and are flying back up into the sunshine.

12/12/05 11:34 a.m.  
Blogger Wilnara said...

I must agree - I too have been caught in the web of vibrant colors. Wonderful painting!

12/12/05 6:45 p.m.  
Blogger Rachelle said...

Great image. It's hypnotic when you really stare at it. You start to see all kinds of patterns that you miss at first glance. Hang onto those earlobes and ignore the critics! Also I know exactly what you mean about Opus. I've dropped a pretty penny in there myself! It's criminal what art supplies cost.

13/12/05 7:13 a.m.  
Blogger Lily and Lucy White said...

Andrea, startling work… Exploding haystacks? I second that one! Very vibrant image.
And this is what came to mind while I was reading your post:
“Because the artist experiences such intensity in his inner life, he is at greater risk to go mad. The intensity that flows in a pattern of high and lows – of creative effort and lassitude, enthusiasm and depression, fruitful hours and blocked hours, the birth of a project and its death…– subjects the artist to disturbances and disorders of mood”, this is from A Life in the Arts by Eric Maisel, Ph.D. And try to go and explain to people who are never touched by intensity of creativity what you are all about… Right. Lily.

13/12/05 9:28 a.m.  
Blogger Toni said...

the first thing that attracted me was the color.
you really know your color well.
the marks are fabulous. I do keep expecting something to pop out at me. Or perhaps it is drawing me in.

13/12/05 7:37 p.m.  
Blogger Jaimie said...

This is so energetic it's almost vibrating. I enjoyed reading your musings on creativity and mental illness. I wonder why you stopped painting and how long you stopped. I'm glad you started again! I just love your work.
I stopped painting or doing anything creative when the US started bombing Iraq. Illustration friday has helped me to become inspired again.

15/12/05 8:27 a.m.  

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