People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball.
I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring. Rogers Hornsby
As my Dad used to say, “Not every hit is a home run.” Okay, okay, he didn’t really say that but he would have if he had thought of it. My Dad was a great baseball fan – fanatic, in fact. When I was little we used to spend many Sunday afternoons driving through the western Pennsylvania countryside in our black 1950 Mercury listening to the New York Yankees on the car radio while Dad smoked evil-smelling Italian cigars and Mom rolled the windows up and down.
Why am I talking baseball on an art blog? Because I was swinging at a lot of balls in the last couple months but didn’t get many hits. I finished my latest round of painting – whose end is determined when I run out of rice paper – and instead of the 20+ good paintings and maybe six or seven really good ones, this time I had only twelve acceptable and only two or three pretty good. Sigh.
Hit the ball over the fence and you can take your time going around the bases. John W. Raper
I decided a couple of months ago I would try creating larger works. Typically, my pieces are either small (7×7) or medium (14 x 18). The rice paper I buy comes in large sheets of 27 x 54 so I cut each sheet into numerous smaller ones. As I began this ‘larger canvas’ attempt I soon noticed that one sheet would only yield four or five cut pieces instead of the 10 to 12 I was used to.
I knew right away that this would be a challenge. As I’ve mentioned before, when you are using ink on rice paper there are no second chances. One a line is down, it cannot be changed, erased, or reconsidered. It is permanent. You can try painting over it but that usually just muddies everything up and the purity is lost.
You can’t tell how much spirit a team has until it starts losing. Rocky Colavito
As I began my larger works I started using up paper at an alarming rate – because errors are inevitable until you get into the head space of spontaneous, unthinking painting (the zone). It wasn’t long before I started worrying about wasting paper, being careful, etc. – all those creative dampening thoughts that kill spontaneity.
When my paper was about 60% gone, I surrendered. I could not be creative and conservative at the same time. I put my ‘big picture’ lust on hold and finished up the work with smaller formats. Throughout the whole process there was a lot of movement and choking; steady momentum seemed elusive.
Baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical. Yogi Berra
What did I discover? That creativity can only bloom when the mind is residing in a state of “abundance.” My concern about wasting or running out of paper, lead to thoughts of scarcity and pretty much clogged up the creative channels. Some of the pictures I did salvage from the experiment had some nice brush work, interesting textures and blends with the water.
So I’m going to take a short break from the ink and maybe sketch a bit. Then I’ll knock the dirt out of my cleats and wave the bat around a bit.
If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant’s life, she will choose to save the infant’s life without even considering if there are men on base. Dave Barry