Haley Hoidal

Ocean’s Doormat, 2021
Oil, sand, and ocean water on canvas, (23x36)

Ocean’s Doormat 2, 2021
Oil, charcoal, pastel, and ocean water on canvas, (30x22)

Ocean’s Doormat 3, 2021
Oil, colored pencil, and ocean water on canvas, (29x22)

Haley Hoidal

        Why is it that I am always striving to be in control?  How does the societal pressure of always needing to be in control personally affect me?  Is there a place I can go where I don't feel a need to be in control?  These are various questions that I have taken into consideration this semester while creating my body of work.  My practice involves collaborating with natural phenomena.  I have been exploring the ocean’s physical movements by having the waves contribute to the physicality of the work since I am fascinated by a process where my singular control is diminished in favor of a team effort with waves, wind, gravity, and time. 

        When I go out in nature to work on my pieces, I go in with the mindset of enjoying the process and not getting caught up in the result.  As I came up with this abstract idea, I knew that I was going to challenge myself, although, it was not until I started the series of work when I realized I was truly in for an eye-opening experience.  My thoughts kept slipping away to ponder on how others would view my work, and furthermore, how they would view me after seeing my work.  This was a demanding obstacle to overcome since I, as a human being, am always trying to please and seek approval from others.  As I realized more and more that the work was about the process and not the result, I began to loosen up.  I let the curves of the sand influence my piece as I sketch and paint pieces of my surroundings at the shore.  I let the constant crashing waves act as a base for my canvas as I attempt to paint the curves and colors of the ocean.  I let my natural surroundings play with the work as the wind rips the canvas around morphing the sand and bits of seaweed in the paint.  Having the ocean possess that tangible connection to each of my pieces has been intriguing to me since none of my pieces use the same materials and no one wave is the same. 

        There is endless variety in letting go of control just like there is an endless variation of ever-changing waves that roll on each day.  In this process of limiting my control, I am then allowed to fully experience the beauty and serenity of nature.  Control is an aspect of art that I have always struggled with, as I tend to try and influence every part of my work while overthinking most of my ideas.  However, in this body of work, I am striving to connect to my surroundings on a more tangible level by having nature around me assist in helping these pieces come to life.  Being out in nature is something that fuels me and brings me tranquility, so it is only fitting that as I am trying to loosen up and lose control a bit as I explore.  In nature, I feel as though I am not obliged to be the commander of all outside forces.  As I step out onto the sand and listen to the glimmering crashing waves, I am simply a part of nature, so there is no way for me to control anything.  I am being restricted, just as the sand that is pounded under the constant crashing waves is confined.  Staring at the waves of the ocean I always feel so small in contrast to these powerful, peaceful, and picturesque, forces of nature.  At the beach, I draw comfort in the rhythmic movements of the waves, and in my pieces, I am trying to emulate the comparison of the tranquil colors and movements of the waves and the forcefulness of the exploding waves.  It almost feels as though the ocean waves are hypnotizing me and assisting me to loosen up and allow myself to truly take in the beauty of my surroundings.

        After I complete one of my pieces, I come out of the ocean with seaweed around my legs and sand in my hair, but I am satisfied and fulfilled knowing that I have translated an idea that I envisioned in my mind.  Through this exploration, I have been able to further appreciate the process of artmaking and have concluded that it's not always about the product, but it truly can be more meaningful to put more care into the experimentation.