Friday, July 28, 2017

Isolated Moments

After taking Monday off, I worked on one 16x16" canvas and it still awaits completion.

Instead of finishing it, I turned my attention to Isolated Moments, a new small works series. These paintings are created on newsprint paper with acrylic paint during the process of working on my larger canvases. As I paint my larger works, I blot excess paint from the surface with newsprint paper. I often use the same piece of newsprint over and over again creating a multi-layered painting unique in and of itself. Rather than simply recycling or reusing all of these papers, I have held back the ones that I find particularly appealing, isolating the best moments from within the papers and now offer them as affordable originals.

I spent the week, selecting the paintings and then mounting them and documenting them. Currently, I am selling them through my Facebook art page but after a week or so I may list them in my Etsy shop. I am pleased to report that 4 have already sold since I shared them on Facebook yesterday! Thanks, lovely patrons! It is always uplifting to have the support and validation.

Until next week, keep fighting and keep finding those rare isolated moments.





Friday, July 21, 2017

The luxury of the loaded brush

This week was a bit slower in the studio but work got done nonetheless. I have to be somewhat reasonable in my expectations of myself, I know I can only maintain the fervor that comes at the start of a new series for so long. The important thing is to maintain and accept the new pace after the initial rush. I didn't take that big overall look over of the series that I had meant to at the start of the week. I just kept moving forward, leaving several paintings behind to rest. I did start a large 80x80cm./36x36in. canvas this week and really enjoyed the size. It's a luxury to paint work of any real size because of course, it's a luxury to have enough paint to cover the larger canvas. I have some new paints as well and it feels so good- oh, the luxury of the loaded brush!

I think I worked on two or three pieces this week as well as finishing off one of the Accidental Portraits so I could send it off to its new home. Any week I make it to the post office is a real victory. I also created my Tuesday video as well and if you missed you can catch it here.

Besides painting, my week was punctuated with several wonderful cultural opportunities. I spent some time Monday and Tuesday of this week with poet Terry Blackhawk who was visiting Edinburgh. Terry's work is featured in the current Interim: Journal of Poetry and Poetics, the same journal of which my painting graces the cover! It was a wonderful reminder of how the arts connect us and make our communities richer. Terry and I took in the Beyond Caravaggio exhibition at the National Gallery of Scotland. I am a Caravaggio fan and we were both excited to see the exhibition. I think I have only ever seen one of his paintings in the flesh, Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness at The Nelson - Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. I think the National Gallery should really call this current exhibition Beyond, Beyond, Caravaggio as there are only 4 of his works surrounded by other works by his school, contemporaries, or thieving admirers. The La Tour was a good inclusion but I am also a fan of his. I am not saying that the other works, notably the Gentisleshi works are anything to sneeze at but when you come for Caravaggio you want Caravaggio. However, the four works in the exhibition delivered. So, I have now seen 5 Caravaggios and I am all the better for it. To see The Taking of Christ in person is stunning.

Now to another artist I admire, I happened to make an emphatic comment on the Facebook page of artist David Mankin and was delightfully invited to the private view of the Night Tide exhibition at Arusha gallery on Dundas street in Edinburgh. I made sure to make it and was richly rewarded by David's strong and turbulent work, Ground swell running. The painting was a show stopper and it was lovely to meet the artist in person.

David Mankin with his painting in the studio. Photo from his Facebook page. 

The sun was out, I met a poet, I met an artist, I saw two brilliant exhibitions and continued to work on the Resilience Series. That my friends is a good week! So until next week, keep fighting, keep making, keep dreaming and know that the world needs you and your work, and I bet you need your work too. I know I do.

Friday, July 14, 2017

A perfect nest

I am sitting in the back of the flat, listening to music on my headphones as I type. The sun is shining through the green leaves of the tree in the back garden. The wind makes the leaves dance and the sky is blue with a thin layer of cloud. My Resilience Series continues as I work the best way I know how. If you missed last week's blog post about this new series, click here.

These are the pieces I worked on this week. Some are finished and some are almost complete. They will rest over the weekend and then on Monday I will greet them with new eyes. These are just mobile phone shots and aren't the best but they give you an idea. These are all 16x16" or 40x40cm.

Here are some studio shots as the series takes shape and to capture the hum of energy as my space fills with the new work.

I hope you are making your own perfect nest of paintings and papers. I hope you can take the time to watch the tree tops sway in the breeze. I hope you can feel the excitement of an energetic mark and the beginning of something new and unknown. Keep fighting, the world needs you and your work. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

A series about resilience

I am showing up again, doing the real work for myself. Everything I do is the real work of course but sometimes it is in the way some work comes about that feels better and more concentrated than others. I am in that place again, feeling more focused and working exactly the way I need to.

I have firmed up my work schedule. I am also remembering and making myself be okay with how I lay the foundation for pieces in a series. See, I know that I have to show up every day or at least a string of days in consecutive order to make the best work. I also know that I have to work on several canvases at once and work the paintings at the start a bit like an assembly line. I also know in my heart I don't like that word or action, it makes it seem rote or mechanical so I resist it. I know that I need to put down a lot of garbage to tease out the good stuff but who enjoys painting like garbage? Not I. However, if I don't allow myself this assembly line garbage process or if I don't have enough paint or canvases to work in this manner then I will never get to the weeding and true gardening part of the painting process that I love.

At first, it is simply showing up and putting in the time. If I don't show up, how is my best art going to find its way to me? It won't and then I will be disappointed and then I will show up even less and it's a vicious circle. The next step is the ability to make marks and paint without censorship and judgment, laying it all out there, experimenting and manifesting the pure energy required to transfer something of myself out into the world through the brush and onto the canvas. Then comes the looking, editing or loosening what is too tight. My paintings have been too tight off and on for years. You might not think this, but I know. If you talk to any massage therapist that has ever worked on me, you would also know I hold myself tightly. I have been protecting myself from this world for decades. So my goal as I get older is to trust myself and the world and fall into it all and take you with me in my work. Things are getting looser, especially in this series.

Of course, I didn't mention my palette. Color has always been extremely important to me. Even though the bulk of this series seems to be covered over with a neutral grey, there are ochres, greens, blues, pinks, Payne's grey and charcoals dancing or wrestling together. The colors are flickering, sputtering, jumping, and clawing their way up out of the grey. There is a faded beauty, something beneath the surface dripping and aching yet energetic, always making its way through the grey. Sometimes the grey is well known and comforting in its nothingness. This is a series about resilience.

In other news, I am honored to have my painting, A Change in the Frequency, featured on the cover of the brilliant Interim, Poetry & Poetics Journal. From their website, "Interim was founded by poet Wilber Stevens in 1944. In his tenure as editor, he published such luminaries as William Carlos Williams, Henry Miller, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and William Faulkner." Please visit the journal here and be sure to give their Facebook page a like as well.

Besides reading my news here, be sure to tune in every Tuesday for my weekly video studio visit. I publish them on my facebook art page but you don't have to be on Facebook to enjoy them. Just click here.

That's all I have for you this week, I hope you are well and happy. Thank you for being here. Please keep fighting, the world needs you and your art!