For the last six months, I've had a primed, stained, compositionally-drawn canvas depicting a falling dragon, leaning against the wall. I have not been able to bring myself to finish the painting; the more I took it out and looked at it, the more I didn't want to paint that painting anymore. It seemed illustrative, redundant, too much like a painting I've already painted and don't have an interest in doing again.
So it sat there.
Also sitting there were some mandalas based on a moth which was obligingly posing on the door in Maine.
Also, in my head there started growing this image, in shades of yellow, gold, rose and ochre, which seemed to be based on Stravinsky's Apollon Musagete.
I've wanted to do something with 'Apollon Musagete' ever since seeing a film of Edward Villella dancing Balanchine's Apollo, back in high school, when I was still doing ballet training six days a week, despite the growing suspicion that it was literally, physically impossible for people with feet like mine to become professional ballet dancers. I've since looked everywhere a librarian can think to look, for a copy of that film; I believe it is mouldering away in a closet somewhere, on a black and white 16mm reel. I've resigned myself to never seeing it again.
Edward Villella actually is a god. I can't describe the film any better than that.
I took a master class from Edward Villella, once. Despite the fact that it IS literally, physically impossible for people with feet like mine to become professional ballet dancers, Edward Villella did not completely ignore my presence in his classroom. He came up to me, looked into my eyes, held out his arm, and said, "Circles."
While in art school, I seriously considered building a huge machine that whirled circular stained-glass windows around, in order to capture the brilliance, the movement of that music. My sculpture professor at the time completely failed to understand why I'd want to bother with that. Now I understand that either you're kinesthetic, or you're not, and people who aren't don't even perceive the energy of movement as a potential for expression.
But it's a lot simpler to simply create lines which imply movement, and colors which contain the brilliance.
So here I am, in the new year, branching out into near-total abstraction. I've been futzing around, of course--cleaning the studio, de-cluttering the top of the microwave, ordering stretcher bars, replacing all the light bulbs, going to yoga classes, attending science lectures and literary readings and live music performances, working on clients, making financial plans, but eventually I'm going to have to put some paint down.
You know how it is, after you've taken a break for awhile; the first stroke is always the hardest.