I have just delivered a show, and I'm recovering from post-partum abstraction.
It happens just after the work leaves my studio. It’s the huge emotional, psychic and physical depletion that follows the long preparation of a show. After working 12-hour days for months--a steady, though not necessarily painful labor--I am in an empty studio completely drained. I’m not moving fast enough, but at the same time, I can barely catch up to myself.
Artists of all sexes know what I’m talking about. It takes a huge amount of energy to go into the studio to paint every day. A delivery date looms. And then, in the exhausting weeks just before the show when most of the work is finished, you want to do just one more painting because there’s a surge of energy and inspiration yet to emerge. I don’t have children, but I’d guess it’s like pushing out 15 babies and then, wait, there’s one more—no, I think it’s two—ready to slide.
While the eighth child is crowning, there are a dozen little (and not so little) administrative things that must be done. I’m fortunate to work with galleries that install beautifully and take care of all the details. Still, the work needs to be shot and Photoshopped before it leaves the studio. There are postcards to send out, personal notes to write, and an inventory list to make. Did you get my "Joanne’s Art News?" I sent that out late last week.
Today I clean the studio and work out the palettes for the next couple of paintings. I said that yesterday. I’ll probably say it tomorrow.
Next week I’ll be back to my regular self and the maternal metaphors will be shelved until the next delivery—which will be in March.