Fighting Simplicity

Posted by on May 22, 2014 in Uncategorized | 2 comments


I am in my studio, working on a big piece of art that is not coming easily. In fact, it is causing pacing, coffee breaks, FB breaks, errands and more coffee. The voice of this piece is not speaking to me quite yet. Part of me knows that it is headed the right direction (it is a map, after all) and part of me keeps trying to make it more and more complex.

The art piece is inspired by the robes of the Ute Indian tribe, which I was attracted to because they are so simple, pure, and brilliant. If I know I love that, why can’t I do it myself?

My life, in general, is complicated. I have two teenagers, each in the throes of self discovery and angst. I have two dogs, one with good manners, and one who is very, very naughty and has to be watched after. My husband does not need supervision, thank goodness, but I do share with him the running of the house and home, and much of the home part is mine (he is the chef right now, and a good one). I like a clean house. No one else cares as much as I do about this, so I tend to be the tidier. There are meals, errands, bookkeeping, art making and keeping up with promotions of books and products. I travel for work and I am having a hard time keeping all the balls in the air.

Is it because my head is so overloaded that I cannot make simple art?

Is it because no matter how much my heart yearns for simplicity and how much my eyes love to rest on simple, beautiful lines that I somehow still do not understand it?

Just now I took my composition apart.

I will begin by adding the most essential part back in. Then the next, and on and on. I will try to leave out anything not essential. Maybe by practice I will find the bare bones and quietly adorn them.

“I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day; how singular an affair he thinks he must omit. When the mathematician would solve a difficult problem, he first frees the equation of all incumbrances, and reduces it to its simplest terms. So simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real. Probe the earth to see where your main roots run. ” 
― Henry David Thoreau


  1. Now considering I have no idea of what you’re dealing with, I have some questions. Are you actually working with the elements of more than one artwork? Are there sufficient elements for a series? Can you lay the elements out side by side as if they were? What would happen if you were to randomly take 3 and play with them?

    And I hope they are the kind of balls that will bounce or, if they are fragile, I suggest a very thick layer of foam on the floor!

    • Wendy, I am creating one piece of artwork to present at the Denver Art Museum. It is too big to be a series, but I may be inspired to make a series like it when I am finished.

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