I get excited when things coalesce. In fact, I taste honey on my tongue just saying the word coalesce. It’s like licking a favorite color.
I received a book in the mail today, ART revolution: alternative approaches for fine artists and illustrators, by Lisa L. Cyr. Cyr wastes no time in challenging readers of her book to “Create from the heart, innovate, strive for greatness and speak to the culture in ways that inspire and motivate.”
A few pages later, she decries the “expectation of instant gratification” that has satiated our present culture:
In our time-is-of-the-essence ideology, it seems that the speed at which things are done is becoming ever more important, oftentimes trumping quality. We are seeing more and more prefab, formula driven art enter into the social mindset, generating an almost homogenized aesthetic. To eradicate the complacency that exists, artists need to take a content-driven approach, producing imaginative and thought-provoking work that speaks to the culture in ways that inspire and motivate.
Enter Jeane Myers.
Jeane uses phrases like “the first underpainting,” “the forms are starting to come,” and “in process” to describe her work as she paints. Speed is not an operative word in her vocabulary.
Composition is also approached with a contemplative attitude, though she admits that she has become “more and more reliant on” the digital camera as a problem solver. As an alternative to sitting and staring at a painting that is challenging her, she snaps a photo and downloads it onto her computer.
I can rotate the image, pick the strong sections, crop, rotate, darken, lighten and usually find the problem and a way to resolve it. One of the ways I like to challenge myself is to take a piece that I really like and rework it. Say goodbye to something I’m attached to and recreate it.
Some paintings take her to the very edge of her patience:
Yesterday I was ready to throw it on the burn pile. It just got progressively worse as the afternoon wore on and on and on. I finally took a rag and wiped off as much as I could and then I could see it!
Each painting is a journey, in which Jeane and her artwork travel together through many transformative stages, until a resolution is reached.
So what is the meaning in all this, the impetus to create and keep creating?
To be honest, I don’t really think about why I do art. If I had to give a reason . . . I would have to say, I just love to make art. So I guess I do it because I love it. Is that too easy? Maybe. I gain benefits from making things. I stay balanced and so I maneuver better in the world. I have the opportunity to express many emotions through painting. That goes back to staying balanced, I guess. I have learned how to stay true to myself and trust my choices. I don’t do art to please anyone but myself. If other people enjoy what they see, then that is a huge bonus. I get to
go deep inside myself because my art gives me a place to put what I find. (Jeane Myers: Art and Meaning)
There are a lot of insights in that “easy” answer. Most notable for me was the revelation that art offers a safety valve for deep introspection, because it affords a context for the “treasures” you excavate. You are not just at the mercy of raw emotions or erupting memories: you can move them onto your canvas an paint them in place.
I would definitely call that a “content driven” approach, even if it might be difficult to express in words.
Jeane does the kind of work that I can’t stop looking at it. And while I am gazing at the the openings, the singing shapes, the shadows, the rich colors, the expanses of texture, my mind is churning out associations and stories. I sense all those layers beneath, and they heighten my experience.
Confucius said, “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” Jeane Myers is doing just that with her painting.
No wonder she is so in love with the lush reds.