Though the ski season isn’t quite over, and I’ve had some great adventures in New Hampshire and Canada over the past few weeks, I’m looking forward to more focused running in the coming months. With a year and a half of running experience, I feel better able to map out my path and I’m learning how to be attentive to form and pace. On my last day at Riverview Physical Therapy a few months ago, Chris gave me a few resources for analyzing running form, including the website Good Form Running. In one video on the site, U.S. Olympian, Grant Robison, critiques a group of runners in an Olympic competition (bottom left corner on the site). I’m trying to get my head around mid-foot running, and it’s amazing to see these runners move so fast without reaching ahead with their stride.
Ramping up for increased running, I’ve made a few spring running purchases. First, I picked up a pair of Mizuno wave riders (birthday running gear—thanks, Dad!). These are light and responsive sneakers with enough stability for adding stress-free distance running in the coming weeks. I tried them out on the morning of my birthday with a 7.25 mile run around Bath, and they felt great. I also picked up some Oiselle Lesley Knickers, which will be great for the warmer weeks ahead. The spring racing season will begin with the 5 miler sponsored by the Portland Boys and Girls Club in Portland. I’m running with a group of fast friends, which means I’ll have a nice welcome at the finish line!
I did race last week in the Shamrock 5K in Bath, Maine. It was a hilly little course, and I experienced some nausea throughout the race. I’m trying to work out whether it was due to pre-race breakfast or the hilly course. I haven’t quite figured out how to handle pre-race nourishment, and I’m suspicious that breakfast was the problem in the Shamrock.
Painting’s Identity Crisis
In addition to some skiing adventures over the last month, I’ve moved my art studio to Brunswick. The new space is bringing renewed focus. With two upcoming shows—a show of 12 paintings and a running/drawing installation project–I’ve been pondering the current state of painting. According to recent art writing, painting is supposedly very much alive but suffering from an identity crisis (or at least a lack of critical framework). Though the “death of painting” as a medium is discussed with annoying regularity, the cyclical discourse does provide an excuse to think newly about what it is that I’m committed to in the studio. John Yau provides a snapshot of the perpetual tug of war at the end of his article “Philip Guston’s Line“:
When Guston was dissatisfied with what he had done, he wiped the surface with turpentine or scraped off the paint and drew something else — a book sitting open in an erased cloud. Here is the contested space of painting. On one side are those who would empty it out, declaring that paint is all one needs. On the other side are those who would put everything back in, including space and all kinds of things, including cigarette butts and dirty paintbrushes. That’s the dual legacy that Pollock and Guston have left us, and if you ask me, it can’t get much better than that.
In thinking about the materiality of the paint versus the subjects that are collected on the canvas, it seems that understanding the framework for contemporary painting still means pondering material and subject as dichotomous conceptual possibilities. I like Yau’s implicit view that the tension of the question is what makes painting such an engaging practice.