Monday, May 4, 2020

vanishing boundaries





My art is silently moving towards a different way of representing space and vibration. At this point  I feel it is most effective in my small multi-layered pastels. In the diminutive scale of a 6"x6" or 8"x8"  I can play with the tension between color, form and edge without a set agenda. No formal intention is present, just a trust that it's in there and all I have to do is turn up to work. 

This series is called Vanishing Boundaries.

My response has always been intuitive. But now I feel as if I have crossed another barrier. There are no special techniques or processes. It's just simply what the painting needs. I am embracing confusion and finding my way to a separate peace.
 
I'm not sure why this metamorphosis is happening now but I have considered that it might be due to the confluence of this tumultuous time of the pandemic and my own conflicted desires for the painting. The paradox of knowing that despite all that has gone before all we ever really have is one perfect moment: the present.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

creative reasons for walking



 Since the time of peripatetic Greek philosophers, many other writers have discovered a deep, intuitive connection between walking, thinking and writing. Henry David Thoreau said" How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live!" "Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move my thoughts begin to flow."
This is true of painting or any creative endeavor. Our chemistry changes when we walk. Our heart pumps faster and more blood flows to the brain. But to me it's so much more. Every time I switch paintings or get stuck on a painting I leave the studio to walk. I find it's best not to call a friend, listen to music, or any other distraction. I simply look and feel. When I return I am most likely ready to go again. I used to think that I was wasting time, but that is not so. My brain is undergoing a change.
Here is the article from the New Yorker.   It describes this more eloquently.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

the importance of a series



Have you ever created a series? A group of painting, drawings that are all related and oftentimes the group is the same size. Why make series you ask? Well I could go on and on. But since you want to  have more painting time I will be brief.

1. A series allows the brain the release of thinking what to paint.
2.When you begin a series, you feel you have this.... bu the surprise happens later, when you start to get a little bored. That, " Oh. it's those trees again" means you finally stop imposing your intention on your subject. Your subject is the painting, not the trees.
3. You now will try anything.

Ideas for a series:
1. Work from your small studies- make many
2. Focus on making landscapes without a horizon line  or only a high horizon
3. Do a black and white series
4. Choose and abstract noun, verb, adverb or adjective as the base of your series
5. Allow a poem or song guide your series
6. Find a challenging format and make all of your paintings in that. Same size, same shape
7. Focus on a technique that you want to master- an underpainting technique, a mark making

As you can see I continued by cherries...this time pompom cherries since the regular delicate pink ones have lost their blossoms.
The work has developed in the studio as well. Here is one large 30 x40 studio oil. It's in its infancy. I think I will do many versions that are small and in the studio. Play.
What are you going to make your series about?
30x40 oil..just the beginning of a painting journey

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Secret Santa for the brain


Secret Santa for the Brain.....
Yes, that's what I have taken to calling my process of working with my eyes closed. It's about memorizing and feeling. Then drawing with my eyes closed.I create the entire set up without my sight...then I open my eyes and see what I have.Then I continue my work as I navigate the skeleton my brain has given me.

I have found that this work leads to  discoveries. I work in black and white only (right now.)  The work is all about feeling and then looking closely and seeing what you have. Opportunities abound when you stop planning and allow the painting/ drawing to dictate what is next.

These are all large pastels, at least 18x24, sometimes 20x30. I couldn't do it small since I feel your whole arm needs to be involved not just your hand.


Monday, March 30, 2020

Painting as meditation (in the time of Covid-19)


Painting as Meditation

Painting, no matter when you do it, is a calling.  While it's not an essential calling like nursing- those amazing people helping to save the world during this time of Covid 19- it's essential to hope. For me, the consistency of turning up every day and silently reaching a little farther is akin to a meditation. While I do meditate on the cushion each day, I also paint. Right now I have chosen to begin each day at the same scene and paint. I do not allow myself to deviate from the subject matter. The reason is- that by no longer thinking about what to paint, where to paint, I can go inward and simply paint the inner landscape as my mind works. Sit and without evaluation and thought simply put it down.
So today, as I return to my forgotten blog I share with you a series of my cherry tree paintings.

 I am slowly falling in love with this scene. I see and feel her differently each day.


 Here you see a visual journal.. thoughts without being self-conscious.

It's good to be back to my blog... it's different than other social media. If you are still there and reading please let me know. Stay well my friends!

Monday, September 16, 2019

we are the new contemporary painters- evolve and discover



Learning from the past is something all artists do. Sharing ideas and cross pollinating these ideas between artist groups is what has spurred on movements and discovery in the arts throughout time. Knowing that, we wonder, what can I contribute? What does our time period give to the masses? I think about this all the time, especially when I teach my beautiful high school students (on Saturdays.) They question everything. They want to know why is Joan Mitchell's large color statements as important as George Inness' Tonalist pieces? How can we  talk about Louise Nevelson's huge piece in the American Art Museum and feel it as we do Joseph Cornell's boxes.
Then you go see what the innovative artists of today are making. This summer when I was in NYC  I saw one artist's wild carved, layered sculptural pieces of acrylic paint- he carved the paint!!!!, I was taken by beautifully abstract long photos of the Thames River by....... They stopped me dead in my tracks. One woman made hanging veils of acrylic paint that were translucent and resembled the feeling of laundry hanging between the tenement buildings .....but with a veiled luminescence. People are finding the answers to new all of the time. It's truly exciting... It gives hope.
Then it goes back to questioning myself (and yourself.) Why do I (you) create?
What motivates me (you)??
There is no reason to just do what has been done before.
The work I will share now is from my summer. It doesn't truly show my direction...yet. Each day I now spend time experimenting. I am feeling better. Thinking I might be finding a way, not just doing.




Friday, March 15, 2019

subtractive drawings and spider mums


Subtractive drawing is one of my favorite things to do. It helps me visualize feeling rather than thinking. These drawings are from my spider mum series. I am trying to respond to them as explosions of joy rather than any analytical interpretation. Spring is on the way after all.
These drawings are all large - 36x30. One of my galleries is doing a Georgia O'Keeffe tribute and I was asked to contribute. I first went to the National Gallery to look at her work. I don't want to copy it, as no one could do it better. I wanted to get into the essence. To me, Georgia simply made us look deeper at something that was small She made it grand.... that alone forces you to stop and see.
I am also working on some spider mum paintings, but right now the drawings say it best.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Dusk Falls and Paul Klee

 
Good news! What a wonderful surprise when I heard that my painting, Dusk Falls, was accepted into the International Association of Pastel Societies biannual show Pastel World in Albuquerque NM. If I could give one piece of advice to artists... you can't be accepted if you don't apply.


I love to read about other artists, don't you? In my reading I found excerpts from Paul Klee’s Pedagogical Sketchbook (1925).
Paul Klee interesting tid-bits:
Paul Klee kept sketchbook since he was very young. The museum actually has ten from those days.
He was left-handed.
Another fact I didn't know was that he was the stay at home dad for the first 6 years of his child's life. His wife was a concert pianist and teacher. She traveled widely. He said his domestic duties got in the way of his art.  (imagine that!)
He said that it was in Tunisia that he began to understand and explore color. Here's a brief outline.
Wonderful quote: "Art does not produce the visible but make it visible. "




This is the link to the full article.
I love "Observe a fish tank."



Monday, January 14, 2019

intuition

I am certain that my best paintings come from intuition and not from anything in front of me.  This painting was begun a year ago.... then one day I saw it on the floor of my studio, picked it up, and changed it all without any thought at all. Simply responded.
I worry that our commitments can strangle us into creating for a goal rather than allowing our intuitions to rule and respond. So here are some quotes I found to soothe my soul during times of questioning.

*If you persist in ignoring your intuition, you may find yourself stuck in a permanent holding pattern instead of taking the risks that lead to creative growth - Nina Leland
*Intellect confuses intuition. - Piet Mondrian
*The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. - Albert Einstein
*I believe I rely heavily on intuition and depend on an intuitive response from my audience. I am a great believer in intuition, for men and women alike. -Jane Freilicher

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas, Happy Winter Solstice and New Year

pastel, Winter Solstice

A wondrous poem from Ursula LeGuin's last book So Far so Good
Merry Christmas and a late happy Winter Solstice. Happy New Year too!


HOW IT SEEMS TO ME 
Ursula K. Le Guin
In the vast abyss before time, self
is not, and soul commingles
with mist, and rock, and light. In time,
soul brings the misty self to be.
Then slow time hardens self to stone
while ever lightening the soul,
till soul can loose its hold of self
and both are free and can return
to vastness and dissolve in light,
the long light after time.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Flash

flash 1, 10x15 about

flash 2, 20x20
Ah, Flash. My sweet kooky Flash was quite a rascal. She did one very remarkable thing long ago, she chose my husband. Flash hated everyone, but me; until one day when this new man came to visit and she promptly sat in his lap. That was the moment when I knew I should take a closer look at this one. Fast forward, Flash and my hubby had a love affair for 20 plus years. During that time I painted her and that painting sold. Many years later my husband said, "I wish we still had that painting." He said that same thing about once a year since. So finally I took the hint. I made a new Flishy Flash painting.....in fact two of them. he will get to choose. Which one to you like best?

Friday, December 21, 2018

the agile mind




I just finished reading the new Leonardo book written by Walter Isaacson. Loved it! The stories and the insights, I loved it all.This reading dove-tailed (in thought) nicely into the new article in Start-up- The single most important habit nobody taught you. 
What do you think that habit is?
Be flexible. Allow your mind to be elastic and forever be changing. Question and wonder. Realize you don't really know and things change. That was Leonardo.

How do you develop an agile mind?
"The good news is flexible thinking skills can be taught.
For those wishing to tap into elastic thinking, Mlodinow suggests carving out time for daydreaming, talking to people outside your social circle, absorbing great art out of your comfort zone, listening to ideas or concepts you actively disagree with before disregarding them.
Always try to look at everything from more than one angle.
Change the context or your environment and you’ll feel your mind shift.
Take a walk. Take a coffee break.
Exercise offers another great mental boost.
The more you can challenge yourself to be spontaneous and allow for some new experiences, the easier it will be to integrate flexibility into your everyday life!
Mental flexibility is aided by novelty, and that contributes to brain growth and development throughout a lifetime.
The next time you encounter the stress of change, remember that you can adapt to thrive and become indispensable in the ever-changing world.
Remember, flexibility is a choice and with practice, you will be making moves you never thought possible."

This is an artist's mindset. Always looking and questioning. Leonardo would carry paintings with him for years and years, never giving them to the patron who commissioned them. Why? Because he could always learn more and be better. 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

color, emotion, risk-taking

Working just on vibration while trying to simplify the landscape so that the vibration in the color is the most important concept. I hope that through thee color vibration I can distill to the emotional content. I have think (at this point in time) that constant risk taking is the way there.
People mistakenly think that art is about nature, or about an artist's feelings about nature. It is instead a path of enlightenment and pleasure, one of many paths, where nature and the artist's feelings are merely raw material. (Wolf Kahn)

Monday, November 26, 2018

the muse and the love and sympathy of a friend



The lake continues to be my muse. It's amazing how quickly her moods have changed during our autumn storms.
I have been reading  An Ideal Country, the wonderful book about Dwight William Tryon's work, I love his subdued tonalist beauties that are well represented in DC's Freer  Gallery of Art. You can check out the treasure trove of images on their website. They own both large oils and smaller, even more beautiful pastels. When you have time go to their site. I leave you with a quote.
Dwight William Tryon described Art as "love and sympathy with some near and homely thing."4

Monday, November 12, 2018

poetry and painting

A beautiful poem, read wonderfully, can be an inspiration for a new version of art.
Just listen to Elizabeth Gilbert read Early Hours and I can guarantee that your mind's eye will see delicious images and feel.
A return to my favorite lake, although the leaves are now floating in the breeze rather than on the trees, beauty is everywhere. Repetition of scene can be your best friend. The scene is internalized and the feeling and the play become more important.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

autumn colors


Autumn is my favorite of all seasons. The colors are like sirens which draw me to the rocks. I want them all but have to always bear in mind that it is through the use of neutrals that the colors begin their songs. Here are a few of my pastels this week. All of these are  morning plein air paintings. In the afternoons they come into the studio with me and we try to work together to create new images simply by allowing them to inspire me rather than to copy them.