Blueprint / by Jennifer Davey

Jennifer Davey, Blueprint, 2016. Oil, chalk and collage on panel, 48 x 48 inches.  

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Blueprint:

  1. a photographic print in white on a bright blue ground or blue on a white ground used especially for copying maps, mechanical drawings, and architects' plans

  2. something resembling a blueprint (as in serving as a model or providing guidance); especially :  a detailed plan or program of action <a blueprint for victory> from Merriam-Webster online

May 17, 2016: Sitting in my studio, the 4 x 4  foot black square panel staring back at me, I could almost hear the over-thought lines yelling back at me, questioning why I had destroyed the freshness and spontaneity that had appeared in a few chalk and brush marks just days before. It's a horrible moment. The moment I realize I've killed the painting. The Zen saying "first thought best thought" is gone. Now, freshness turns to struggle. The struggle of wanting what was there to still be there and knowing it will not come back. The only way to recover the painting is to make it into the next thing. But letting go of the attachment to what it was or could have been is the hardest part. This is the psychology of painting. The things they don't teach in art school. That moment after it was easy, and I expect it still to be easy. I start to think about what the painting could be, should be, could have been.  And that spells death. Until I let go of all of the would haves and should be's and risk being in the present and responding in an authentic way, the painting will be a struggle. 

As I sat, struggling with myself, in that creaking wooden studio chair, determination began to over-take despair. It suddenly became obvious that the marks and collages felt as though they were floating in black space, each in their own individual worlds. I felt like a lot of parts in my life were also in these different little floating compartments. And how that made no sense. Everything was connected. Even things that seemed to have no relation to one another, were ultimately connected in some way. That insight was my entry back into the painting. Suddenly chalk lines began to fill the space. It was as if an electric grid was illuminating the panel. This painting became the anchor for the exhibit "What You Believe is What You See."  I realized that this "blueprint" that had appeared reflected an underlying energetic blueprint in me. It also woke me up to the realization that I have been making work centered around the body since the time I was in art school. This insight was my path back into the painting, but also my path into the direction of the next body of work, and my continued interest in understanding the human operating system, and how to integrate all of these different parts of myself into a thriving whole.