|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.