|Mary's studio windows and chest of drawers.|
Click to enlarge the images.
Youmans: We met in college, in a writing class taught by R. H. W. Dillard. You still write poetry (and I still think you should put a book together.) Talk about the ebb and flow of your own writing, and how its course (a tidal stream, maybe?) moves through the lands of your painted work.
|A motto for|
My first impulse was to say that I find writing poems and painting really don't mix. In fact, I wrote out a rather petulant first draft of an answer saying how antithetical the process of working on each of these art forms is for me. True! I find that writing of any kind—and the analytical thinking that goes with it--gets in the way of making visual art, and therefore I try NOT to mix the two. On the whole, I find that the act of writing activates very different parts of my brain from the act of making visual art, so I consciously try not to get too verbal or analytical when I'm in my studio, especially when beginning a new work or radically revising an old one.
|Mary in the studio, c. 2010|
on paper or canvas or wood is, at the most literal level, to draw! And our handwriting is so ingrained in us by the time we're grown that writing with a pencil, crayon or other graphic tool is a kind of drawing that we do without thinking—or at least, without thinking of it as drawing per se. So I begin by making marks or writing phrases or screwing around in some way that makes the paper less clean. In short, I begin by doodling.
|The rainbowed shelves|
of acrylic paints.
|"The Studio, Early September" 2011|
Ah! But here I DO see a marked similarity between my process in writing poems and my process in making visual art. The years of creative experience I had of writing poems was of sitting down in front of a typewriter or a blank screen and doing a kind of mental doodling. This was not drawing, but simply letting words come, and come totally at random. When I start writing a poem, any word will do. My first job is—and always has been to pay attention, and to type the words, phrases, and sentences almost as rapidly as they come into my brain. And the kind of attention I pay—rapt attention—is key to this process. I can change the words later, but at the start, I dare not break the chain that brings them, one after another, sometimes filled with surprises. I'm not making a poem at this point, not at all. I am simply recording a rhythmic, hypnotizing thought, a thought I didn't necessarily know I could have, and to have it I have let it come, word by word, phrase by phrase, sentence by sentence.
|Mary's poetry table, downstairs.|
Click on You Asked in the labels below for the whole series thus far. Click on Bullington-Youmans interview party for just the Mary-Marly yack so far.