Copyright: All artwork/content protected under ©2007-2011 Lynne Ciacco

All content herein copyright © Lynne Ciacco

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Surprise Visit to the Circus

In my ongoing exploration of "let's see where this takes me" I recently found myself in a magical realm of a small, travelling circus in the middle of the night.  Well, not actually, but in a painting that emerged on my prepared cradled board.

©Lynne Ciacco 2010, Circus Zebra in the Night, acrylic + mixed media on board, 10 x 10 in.

The piece began with fabric bits glued to the board and no set direction or idea.  I just grabbed whatever bottle or tube of paint, whatever piece of foam or paint brush or foam brush that I felt like trying and relaxed enough to not worry too much about the outcome.  I find there's almost always some point in the process where I despair and think it's not going to work out.  But it's just at that point that I'm able to let go:  if I've already ruined it, it doesn't really matter what I do next.  And that's precisely when the magic begins to happen. 


  1. Love this! Love the process! When it first came up on my screen it looked like a sideways bird who had lost his eyes- a circus is much more to our liking! You would be so fun and liberating to hang out with at midnight with a gob of paint and whatever! love your work!

  2. There's a middle-of-the-night dream here.

  3. Linda Sue,
    I have to admit, the "process" is not always smooth sailing. I have recently had a shipwreck or two. I'm trying to let go of expectations I put on myself and go with the flow, to use that comfy 1960's cliché. It's great when I can find something in the paint globs to relate to, but when the flow turns out to be something foreign to me (such as...gasp! abstract), honestly, I'm not that much fun to be around. Thanks for the encouragement!

  4. Red-handed,
    If only my middle-of-the-night dreams could be so benign. They have more of a "how on earth am I going to keep on making art and paying the mortgage-I'm going to have to get an office job-oh my god there is a killer waiting for me just around the corner" vibe. But yeah, maybe that circus scene is not quite as whimsical as it first appears.

  5. Such a wonderfully fascinating commentary about your process. I love the depth of feeling in this piece. It speaks of having emerged from realms of the subconscious of which we are rarely able to catch a fleeting glimpse.

  6. Hi Stickup,
    Sometimes the process works, sometimes it doesn't. Today in my studio, for example it didn't. I can't help but wonder what that means. I guess the depth of feeling that you mention just wasn't there. I think you really hit the nail on the head with that observation. It seems I just can't force it. If it's not coming from that deep connection to the subconscious, it's not going to "work." You've reinforced a belief that I've long held about having to be in a certain state of spirit and energy in order to make a painting, personally speaking.

  7. "I dream of painting and then I paint my dream."

    Vincent Van Gogh

    Seems rather fitting.

  8. Shirl,
    What a lovely quote! Thanks for that. I wish I could pump up my volume to that of VG's...but I value my ears too much.

  9. Magical for sure...amazing how one starts and at some point magic does appear. I like this piece...composition, color, has enchantment!

  10. Blue Sky,
    If my little piece of art has enchanted you to some degree, I am very happy. Sometimes it seems like making art is like that point in Peter Pan when the audience is asked to clap their hands if they believe in fairies...I'm not sure what I mean by that, but it has to do with just keeping the faith and keeping on, trusting that somehow it will work out in the end. Hmmm, am I talking about my art or my life here, I wonder.

  11. I love the tactile qualities of your work. Such beautiful surfaces. Keeping the faith and keeping on is what it's all about and youv'e helped me with that! THANK YOU for so many nice comments. Have you ever seen Squeak Carnwaths work, I think you might like it.
    PS I believe in fairies(: !

  12. Aris,
    I'm so pleased you stopped by! I've only come round to textured surfaces in recent years. After dabbling in rug hooking and textiles for a time, I brought that tactile experience back with me to my first love, painting. Now I'm addicted.

    It must be so challenging and rewarding -and terrifying- to be working on your MFA. But then, that pretty much sums up how I feel about making art in general.

    Thanks for the info about Squeak Carnwath; interesting stuff, indeed, plus lots of links to other painters I didn't know of. Isn't discovery great?

  13. This is very interesting. A new direction and I like it! I agree--every time I paint I hit that point of thinking it's a mess that will never work out, and if I can ignore the urge to quit, something interesting often emerges.

  14. Hi Robin,
    What a nice surprise to find you wandering around the back lot of my little circus world. I like what you say about "if I can ignore the urge to quit, something interesting often emerges"--that's the trick isn't it, to ignore the urge to abandon it and to push through and let go of expectations.