My Creative Process is Wily

by JoAnne McFarland in Sources of Inspiration
In 2014 I created my installation A Living Book. I was frustrated not being able to get started painting on panels, as I usually do. I was busy at the gallery where I work, and couldn’t muster the energy to produce much at my studio.
I still went there everyday, walking, or walking to the gallery from there, futzing around, waiting for something to happen.
I thought why not just get some letters and paint right on the walls? I’d keep my hands busy, and meanings might evolve on their own. So I started stenciling, using an obituary for inventor Stephanie Kwolek as a jumping off point, and just kept going, day by day.
I restricted my palette to a very few grays and greens, and limited myself to using only materials I already had on hand (for instance, I couldn’t go out and buy a bunch of art materials).
At the GOWANUS Open Studios this past October, I got to share the work with people on the tour. The reception was fantastic, and many people took the time to chat with me about the installation.
At the beginning of this year, I painted over everything—a shock! Now I can start fresh, with no huge canvases to stash.
I did keep one thing—MOTHER MAY I? stenciled on the windows I look through each day, as a reminder that I don’t need permission!