Monday, August 29, 2011

Openings and Oil Paint

Knowing that my exhibit finally opens on Wednesday, I now have jitters. Nothing new to the process I always have stage fright but how to keep focused is a bit of a conundrum. Lucky for me I had two large oil paintings to complete...ah...oil paint. It is so much fun to paint on canvas once in a while. Canvas is a lovely active surface to work on and oil paint is so, well, it's oil paint. The lovely aroma cast it's spell on me a very long time ago. I can still remember walking upstairs to the painting studio at ACNNJ and knowing I was home before I opened the first tube of paint. It was probably the solvent that came first. Yes it's a bit weird to love that aroma, to some "that smell", but there you are.... painting is in my being. This week I have been treated to that odor and have loved coming into the studio in the morning. I have also like working so quickly and fluently which is a little harder when working with encaustic though I'm beginning to work more intuitively with every new encaustic painting.

The paintings are now finished and I have to clean up. This part of the process, ugh. With encaustic there is so little cleaning to be done. I truly love that. I did have to tell myself "stop, stop, stop", enough with the layers. But I listened and now all I have to do is take them off the stretchers, roll them up, and send them on their way. As for the studio, I'm resetting everything, making medium and paint and after a brief but wonderful weekend out of town with friends, I'll be ready to begin again.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Speaking Figuratively

On my journey I am exploring images from many vantage points. One of those points is to look to at a source that continues as a theme in my drawings, the figure. The figure as a way of expressing ideas that are not quite ideas. I'm not trying to understand, to give meaning, just draw, find something that is familiar to me from making so many images for so many years. Not just familiar but maybe something that is revealing. A revelation, what a concept. Is there a transition coming or am I just going deeper? Questions are more important that the answers. I'm looking to find the open passage now.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Back to the Drawing Board

More appropriately I should say back to the drawing wall. There is no doubt that the "after the exhibit blues" is a reality. Because the "Shifting Landscapes" reception will not be until August 31, the malaise has set in and will reverse at an unknown time. I would love to know how many other artists have the same letdown. I know it's coming, I prepare, I acknowledge....nothing derails its little insidious onset. Happens every time. I wander around aimlessly for days or weeks at a time. I don't think of it as an "artist block" because I do continue to work in some capacity.

So what to do.
1. write in my journal
2. look at sketchbooks, oh let's go way back, years
3. read fiction, nonfiction, art books whatever
4. draw on the wall

The most effective of these diversions is drawing. It is a powerful way to work my way back to painting and there are many drawings I will like enough to show them. Most images will never see the outside of the studio. It can get a little dark in the studio at times like this.

Time to chase the critics, most of whom are residing in my head. Eventually they will all be asked to leave in an orderly fashion. Let the mayhem begin.

The drawing is "All the Little Creatures". I know them all.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Alice Neel

When I have time off from the studio, from the actual creation of images, I find myself immersed in art in a different way studying the art of the artists that I admire. Today has been a day to study Alice Neel. Neel was an artist with work worthy of study. How can you not be mesmerized by her line, her brushwork...I am totally in awe, this woman of the early twentieth century, born in 1900, who can teach so much.
I'll be moving my home soon and this process always brings up memories of past series of paintings, in this case it is the figure work that I did before the last momentus (to me) move that spawned a series of the best figure paintings that I have done. Moving is always stimulating to me almost always a good series of paintings ensue. I love to start over to stretch. The painting here is titled of course "Moving". Behind the figure are all the moving boxes as yet to be unpacked.

Not to intimate in any way that my paintings have a relationship to Neel's work but I feel a connection, be it just the fact that I was working freely after my move and certainly with no restrictions. When I look at the current series of paintings to be exhibited, I must say I feel almost disconnected from the past. The exhibit of the figures at Lynne Farris' Gallery was a gift, a cohesive body of work that said something about me though I still wouldn't hazard a guess what that is. I ask myself am I the same person, the same artist. I have passed into another world, another territory and looking back very briefly gives me a perspective. I'm not much for hanging on to the past. In fact, I am nortorious for ridding myself of any incumbrances. I am a minimalist at saving when it comes to things including artwork. But I do save images and occasionally a glance back is worth it.

I liked what Alice's son said about her, "She teaches you to never give up".

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Day Off

The paintings are hung at GPC (Georgia Perimeter College, Clarkston Campus, Fine Arts Gallery) with the expert assistance of gallery director, Don Dougan. I was so glad to move the 37 paintings out of my studio. Once they are out no more changes to be made. Thank goodness. I think I begin to question each image if I look at them too long and this series of paintings was accomplished during a five month period remarkable to me since there were side trips taken during this time as well, paintings that were entirely unrelated. That was in fact good because any break gave me a chance to come back to the series and work with renewed energy and a slightly different eye so neccesary for remaining fresh. I always learn something from an unrelated image whether it be a drawing, print or painting of mine or sometimes even an artwork that is accomplished by one of my students.
Today is a day off. I have such a hard time taking time off from the studio, call me obsessive, type A...both apply I am sure and I consider it a plus except when I need to stop, renew. It's hard to know at first when it's time but yesterday told me stop! I was barely able to converse, to think clearly...The good stress had the upperhand. True of any creative you must leave time for the gestation of new images. It will take a day or two before I am truly able to relax.
So here is the painting that is my focus right now while I relax. I will not visualize it directly but let it simmer beneath the surface. When I return to the studio in a few days I will begin to draw again on my new big white wall and begin to comb through the photographs that have been awaiting my attention, no expectations just draw and look and luxuriate in the power of images.,