Last month over at Dead Artists Society we studied Josef Albers. I got really intrigued right away because I started with his obituary which stated he was an only child and then I read in Josef Albers: Life and Work that no, he was the oldest of five! Why artists are so secretive about their childhoods is so weird to me! So I made this family tree using family photos found in that book.
As I was organizing all the information I found about Josef’s life, I started breaking it into these big categories: his childhood and early life as a school teacher in Germany, his years at the Bauhaus, his time at Black Mountain College, and then his later years when he wrote Interaction of Color and worked on his Homage to the Square series. [I’ll use these sketches in the biography that I handletter for my Dead Artist Society patrons.]
Josef didn’t speak much English when he arrived in the States to teach at BMC and one thing I noticed in all the photos of that time was how he used his body/hands/arms/expression to communicate with his students. I tried to pull those together into a collage but sort of lost interest in it; much like this portrait I started but didn’t finish.
I had kind of a realization with these though. I don’t HAVE to finish them and I don’t even HAVE to feel bad about it. It’s like starting a book and not liking it. Why finish it? I don’t finish books I don’t like anymore and so I’m thinking if I’m painting personal work, I really don’t need to finish paintings that I don’t like either. If I’ve completely lost interest or don’t like where it’s headed, I can just stop, I can start over, or I can just move on to the next thing. And that’s where I’m at…. on to the next thing!