Becoming Incomplete by jessica kirkpatrick

I feel the urge to run.  I am in a stand off with these tired pictures--colors need tweaking, elements added or taken away, areas masked off or sanded.   Avoidance. Eating, emailing, caffeinating--knowing i need to stand, put on my painting jeans, pick up a brush and work. But that threshold of discomfort must be traversed. I get it-- this unease, the not knowing whats next makes the creative process interesting, the pulse of fear and excitement to compel a life's work.  I start tentatively with a few misfires, color too dark, too saturated--I sift through a tray of pulverized discolored tubes  for a selection of paints to mix and mix and mix.  A little Mars black to desaturate, some indigo to cool, and some Napthol to punch it up.  The pigments dance at their molecular levels to speak my color poetry.  In the past, I strove for a dark neutral palette, and then there was the phase of beiges and creams, right now I am into my pastels and pinks.  My current interest in pink  is probably some childhood regression, (recovering my inner princess--its pure cliched beauty a balm to middle age disillusionment).  I love oil paint's  heavy inkiness, like clay from the earth; like minerals and insect blood and flower tincture smeared across fabric.    As I begin to make panicky strokes, regret them, rub them out, try again, thats better, I feel my hips loosen, my breathing take pace.  I am getting into it--finally-- and I have a few hours before its time to pick up baby (whoops don't mention babies--this is the professional realm here!)  I would love to say this is where the fun starts, but its more of a frantic, semi-possessed frenzy, of dripping, splattering, scrubbing and blurring.  Then the pause: Like?   Not like?  Am I ok in my not liking it?  Is there something interesting happening, or is it just...crap? The deeply humble place of non-judgement where you don't know if your a fucking badass, or just another person who went to art college ages ago.   


Have you ever had a creative block and what did you do to get over it?  How did you get your work back on track when you saw it going awry?  How do you cope when you were at the studio and werent sure what to do?

Mothering and Making by jessica kirkpatrick

I held out a long time to have a baby because I thought I would stop doing art.   However I have discovered that entering motherhood has created a much needed tension in my life to compel a desire to create and work hard.  Baby often joins me in the studio; our ceremonial pushing of the buggy to the arts complex with all of our provisions--baby carrier, lunch, sketchbooks, fully stocked nappy bag, etc.  Between feeds, changes, singing and dancing to quelch his unending need for entertainment, I may fit in a little art.  Now that he is crawling I have become used to his little body hanging from my legs as I make efforts to work.  My studio time almost feels a little too easy when baby is not there and I have come to enjoy my son as a companion when I am working.


Closet abstract painter coming out by jessica kirkpatrick


Most recently I have given up figurative narration in preference for abstracted landscapes.  The past few months I have desired to build a new relationship to paint, color and process that affords me opportunity to develop my own sense, for lack of a better term, of  non-representational painting.  I crave a wide spectrum of color and organic open shapes, in addition to a variety of marks speaking the language of paint.    However, an abstract/figuration dichotomy is ultimately false and so working from an initial image  propels a process.  I take great pleasure in painting observationally-- you are excused from making choices and can  mindlessly copy your perception, especially if using a  photo reference.  However, knowing i will paint over my little landscape study allows me to work with a measure of abandonment and levity.   Using gradients, scumbles, dry brush, quick or slow strokes i compose colors and shapes,  attempting to retain  the underneath landscape as a negative space. Here is one before and after shot.

Something significant has happened when land can be perceived as landscape
— Landscape and western art, by Malcolm Andrews

We are already divorced from nature when we begin to represent it through art.  A landscape occurs when art happens to land, we make aesthetic choices which positions nature as an object of pleasure, or too reflect  our human drama.  In making 'abstracted landscapes'  I aim to show the landscape painting genre as already artifice, a pure cultural product rather than a reaction to nature.   However,  nature is the ultimate sublime and genius of life, which I think produces that artistic impulse to make and play with form.  

I have a series of dramatic landscape photographs I shot on film that have been filed away for a decade.  My photos were kept in storage in a friends basement for four years and were damaged by moisture, which fortuitously created some interesting painterly effects.  To further emphasize an image/material contrast I have been painting Richter style directly onto these film photos, or over the glazing. 

DAILY TREK by jessica kirkpatrick

My third trimester exercise regime has been my daily walk to my studio at the Art's Complex--an old government building converted into 6 levels of studios, small business offices, non-profit arts groups and gallery space.  Sometimes I bring Dee and have set up a little bed for her (and also me).   

Segway into Sequential Art by jessica kirkpatrick

I have just completed a graphic art piece for my friend, a local art collector in the bay area.  He is a doctor and also an artist himself, casting the female torso in plaster to create modern twist on an ancient form.  I posed as his model and had my body replicated in plaster.  As a model, this experience contributed to research I was doing for my own artwork about the female nude.  With inspiration from comic books and graphic novels, we decided I would create a graphic artwork depicted my experience being casted.  In my research into comic booking--I discovered a fascination with sequential imaging, leading me to incorporate concepts of sequential art into my current painting endeavors.  

The Stone Woman

The Stone Woman