In the Studio – making sense of it all (?)

“Easton Glacier” 24″x48″ 2010, graphite, gesso, acrylic

Traveling to and existing in the beautiful white expanse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has been a dream since childhood. Now, back in my daily life, holding onto the experience is like holding onto ice that will inevitable melt or sublimate away. All I can do is watch as it morphs in my brain from a series of complex and layered memories to more concrete, but remote stories that can be stored and recalled as I sift through ideas to visually express “the place of white”.

Back in the studio, these memories are requiring a bit of processing, so to speak. Prior to my trip south, I was creating drawings of Northwest glaciers (see Easton Glacier, above). Now, I am making lots of sketches and experiments to flesh out my Antarctica “field notes” into more developed work that carries the thread of the previous drawings, but hopefully captures this place.

It is a bit terrifying to venture into such unknown territory. The white space is so unlike the dirt and bark of my previous subjects. It requires me to pay attention to what is really important about making new work. Are artists required to stay within boundaries defined by previous work, or are we free to explore any media and marks that express the new ideas? And where is the balance between continuity and monotony?


  1. dave g on March 28, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Nice to read your conflict/curiosity/conundrum with white. I am re-reading Melville’s Moby Dick and going to be writing a paper, possibly, on the symbolism of white – the absence of all color. Since I am in a lit. class with an instructor who loves philosophy, that will be rewritten to the absence of all meaning, not just color. I am going through a similar symbolic smash-up. Thank goodness spring is coming, even though it is 35 tonite.
    And not that I am an artist, but break the boundaries!
    I just noticed that Melville has crept into my writing – remember how often he used alliteration?!?!
    Keep writing

  2. Anaïs on May 14, 2010 at 3:35 am

    Hi Anna,
    I wonder.. What are the boundaries that define your work? I often feel that the more we explore, the more we realize what is really essential about ourselves, what really matters. I would say, go! Express new ideas, and you will find that they are not that disconnected from your previous work. You might have to wait a bit for the wind to die out, you might have to squint a bit, but I am sure that you will find this flag, in the immense white nothing, that will bring you home..
    I love reading your blog, keep writing to us!