Monday, January 02, 2012

Hare Terra Update

This may just look like my favorite corner of the studio, but what it is is so much more, it has become my entrance into Hare Terra. I know I have been incredibly vague about my latest artistic endeavor, but The Legend of Hare Terra is beyond being just another series for me. I’m only half kidding when I say the creation of Hare Terra is a life changing experience. That’s why I’m taking my time, keeping it close, and just letting the magic happen. And you know what? I’m having a blast! I’ve been spending my days drawing fuzzy bunnies, creating fabulous fancy dresses, big funky bunny Queen crowns, elaborate hairdos, designing intricate floor and wallpaper patterns, decorative flowers and pretty much all the fantasy and fairytale scenarios I can dream up! On some level I feel as though my psyche realigned itself back to an ideal state of childhood, one that never truly existed for me then, but is being re-imagined and relived now. Dare I say it, I’m happy! I admit it, I am making frivolous, self indulgent art and I’m unbelievably thrilled about it.

For years I’ve been talking about creating a fairytale series, the desire to create Fairytale imagery has been calling to me as long as I can remember. One of the reasons I have a degree in Illustration is because of a long term fascination for the Golden Age of Illustration. The concept of what I envisioned for myself as “Artist” has ranged far and wide in the past 20 years, my art was more raw and angst ridden in the early years evolving with life into softer more decorative works. Thoughts of what direction I wanted to pursue have changed accordingly. Recently the most reliable career path appeared to be in the track of the floral paintings and the medallions. This was accumulating a respectable level of recognition and continued prospects. However, I felt like that certain something was missing, the floral paintings and medallions were enjoyable but not truly soul satisfying. But diverging from the current path and leaving behind years of establishment and progress to pursue a new illustrative fairytale series seemed like starting over. I had been painfully wavering over this dilemma (delusion?) until one day my husband finally convinced me to just do it. He said he wanted me to do what makes me happy, not what I think would provide an income and that our family would survive in the meantime. I can’t tell you how freeing that was and obviously how amazing my husband is. As Hare Terra evolves, I realized I may still be on the right course because I can see all of my former phases and past series at play, perhaps I have not wavered from my path, it’s just more inclusive and meandering then most.

So far I have completed 39 Legend of Hare Terra drawings. Let me clarify, some of the drawings are not exactly “completed”; some are still works in progress, and a few are already paintings that were brought to completion in 2010. Those pieces were created before I had a real vision of what this series was to become. However, I am doing my best to let the earlier paintings just “be”, as part of the developmental process and hope to work them into “the big picture”. And while I am anxious to get back to the painting aspect of this project, I’m forcing myself to stay focused until the series feels whole. I can’t explain how or what elements that will require, I think I’ll just know when the time comes. Part of the creative process has been to lay the pieces out on a giant table until they tell me the order in which they belong. This order has changed frequently over the past 7 months as new pieces have been added but at 39 it’s definitely getting there. At this point I hope to cut the series off at 50… even though I secretly fear my Hare Terra concepts could go on forever. I sort of envision the Legend of Hare Terra series as an exhibition as well as a book, but not a book in the sense that it is one linear story, more of a collection. As I examine the series spread before me, I believe it is developing a rhythm and an order of it’s own, and in it’s own way it has a beginning, middle and an end, but not in a way I can set words to. Basically, I’m working toward completing my Bucket List of everything fairytale, using a specific cast of characters (namely Hare Majesty and her Hare subjects) and containing these portraits/moments/scenarios within the conceptual construct of this world of Hare Terra. I’ve forbid myself from worrying about what it all means or who will buy it.

Of course I have doubts! One day I did the math and it hit me that I’ve been working on this series off and on for the past two years (or longer) and I realized that once I get these drawings done it will probably take me another two years to paint them! That was a painful reality check, especially for someone obsessed with time. And now this shocking fact is a Post It that stares at me whenever I’m in the Studio. It says “Hare Terra = 4 Years, 10% of my Entire Life and 20% of my entire Art Career”. Ouch. My husband (and avid supporter of the Hare Terra project) says that I can’t look at it that way. I say that’s easy advice to offer but it doesn’t take into consideration that some of us (namely Me) have this enormous burning urgency to do something utterly astounding, rock the world, life changing, brilliantly fabulous with their art. I’m not saying that it is ever going to happen; I’m just saying that the URGENCY is there. These pretty bunny filled portraits probably don’t have a chance in hell of changing the course of Art History, but they do seem to be fulfilling some other need that overrides the “urgency”. I’m loving what I’m doing right now but I’m pretty sure that fans of my older work will wonder if I had a prefrontal lobotomy. I’ve accepted that consequence and proudly state that The Legend of Hare Terra series is totally for the *me that exists now*. In the end I honestly don’t care if anyone else is into it. I truly believe that I NEED to see this project through to The End in order to get it out of my system. I also believe that it is about growth and change and that I am doing some of the best work of my life. Of course I’ll be pleased if the results are well met, but I’ll completely understand if no one gets it.

Thanks for listening!

Wish me luck on this journey into Hare Terra!

I’ll be back as soon as I have something to share!