I’m having an art show with the artist Timothy Allen, who is also my son, on Saturday, March 3, at Crosstown Arts, 430 N Cleveland, from 4-8, called Family Trees. We’ll both show our recent art and Mark Allen, Tim’s father, will play guitar.
I had hoped to have a lot of pieces done, but I’ve been sick off and on during the past few months, so I haven’t been able to work at the rate I’d like. I don’t have as many paintings ready — and the space is quite large. I’d hope to fill it up, but it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to. I’ve changed my strategy to building a show that has space and pauses — a bit of breathing room between the pieces.
We are exploring the idea of family but also nature and narrative. Tim’s works with intense color gradients and geometric shapes. We both love trees. I lean more to the narrative side of art. We both use a bit of poetry — his in the titles and mine worked into the paintings.
I’d been working on a piece for the past week and the more I worked, the worse it got. Then I got to see another artist’s work that was so good, it made me question why I’m even trying to paint at all. I came home and tried to fix my piece and it was just a big mess. I was tempted to throw it away. Instead, I hid it under the bed.
The next day, I took out a new canvas and started on a piece with no particular goal in mind. I’ve always loved the raku pottery figures of Lester Jones, and the expressions of peacefulness he achieves, so I tried to do a child with a certain look of serenity.
And then I got into a state of flow. I worked on it all day and as I did, I got to meditate on the vulnerability of children, a theme that’s never far from my mind, since so many are preyed upon, often by a family member. I meant to take more process pictures, but once I started painting I couldn’t stop. I spent the whole day with this girl. And as I finished up, so told me her poem, which I wrote in the grass she’s kneeling in.
I finished her up the next day, adding a bronze border and more line work on her hair.
I was so glad I put the other painting under the bed. I know I’ll return to it, but each work has a pace of its own. It can’t be forced. But if I get out my own way, then the magic happens.
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