Friday, July 31, 2009

"Splash (2)"
Acrylic on Paper
38" x 48"

This is today.
The most recent version of "Splash".
Even though I do not yet have everything on my shopping list from my meeting with Helen, I was able to play around with her color wheel palette idea - well not perfectly, but in my very own "work with what I have" kind of way. Shopping around for the best deals on paint is very time-consuming! I don't even want to think about how much money I spent on stretchers yesterday! It is ok. It is ok. It really is. I actually just sold several pieces, in perfect time. I love the Universe. Thank you. One million, perpetual, thank yous.

In addition to limiting my palette, I tried to focus on the idea of "Splash" flowing through my body, as opposed to my mind/subconscious. This is a very intense way to paint (where do we store emotions in our body?), and I actually had to stop and cry at one point. Don't tell anyone.

Splash (2)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Today was a day to reflect, prepare and research.
How do I ground myself within what is being asked of me? What is the first step? And then what?

Prepare surfaces. Inventory and gather supplies. Make a list of what is needed.
Go Go GO!

Artists that I explored today include Edwin Dickinson, Susanna Coffey, and Frank Auerbach. Although I am releasing the figure in this moment of exploration, it is wonderful to see the very visceral handling of the figure and the background that these artists employ. Inspired.

Space, Color, Light
Gather information from outside - small studies - exploring oils in conjunction with acrylics - experiment with limited palettes based on the color wheel and temperature - move away from the pictorial and the decorative to make room for the visceral, haptic response. What is possible? When the symbol, the figure, returns, and is re-examined, what will it be? Look. Look. Look. Inside. Outside. Inside. The head and the heart hold hands.

Helen O'Toole
Dreams, Clouds and Hazelwoods
Oil on Canvas
90" x 55"

Yesterday I had my first studio visit from my mentor, Helen O'Toole. Helen teaches painting in the UW MFA program, and is represented by Linda Hodges in Seattle. She is brilliant.

What struck me right away in our time together, was her sensitivity to me as an artist, specifically a female artist, in a transitional moment of life. Her critique of my work resonated with me, and was completely in step with the dominant voices from my AIB experience, thus far. I have so much really exciting work to do, and am very pleased to be so inspired by my first mentor!

One week from today is First Thursday in downtown Seattle. Join me in stopping by the Linda Hodges Gallery and asking to view Helen's work - a definite treat!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mixed Media on Paper
38" x 48"
In Progress

Transparency and opacity. Modeling paste, tar gel medium, and gel medium in abundance!

In this painting, I am trying to push the contrast between thick and thin to describe in a material sense what experience leaves behind.

Thinking around the figure again, but the figure(s) is certainly present here, even without being named/defined. Walking back from a swim today, I imagined myself as a canvas. Life experiences are glazes, impasto attacks, and fine lines. Incised marks, raised edges, gouges, tears, shapes, colors, pattern. What comes before enhances or detracts from what comes next or beside. Such a simple metaphor - a body as a canvas - but it really struck me today as relevant. Layers. What we reveal, what we conceal. What we create. What we build and present or give. Choices. What comes next?

"...I rubbed and scratched the paper until I tore holes in it, trying to reach something else, something more profound, to grasp the very essence of things..." ~Emile Nolde

In Progress


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Influences for this week:

Theories of Modern Art, Herschel B. Chipp

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

World's End, Pablo Neruda

Sound track to Slum Dog Millionaire

Art Forum, Summer Issue

Running through the trees, swimming under water, floating, listening...

"Through the Trees"
Mixed Media on Canvas
36" x 36"
In Progress

This is the first piece where, at the suggestion of my advisor at AIB, I am not using any figurative reference. I continue to feel my way, following the images in my head/heart, but attempting to break them down into an essence that while still being satisfying to me, does not literally suggest a narrative. Stay tuned to see how this comes along - it is a journey!

Details of "Shalom Aloha"
"Shalom, Aloha"
Mixed Media on Paper
38" x 48"

In progress

After my first residency in Boston, I began challenging myself to really open up my experience of mark making. I am working on pushing beyond the space where the surface feels comfortable to me, and asking myself to continue. I am also exploring color choices that are not intuitive, and looking around me for the pallete configurations that make up my world. Paint chips from the hardware store, interior decorating source material, popular magazines. Might these sources suggest color combinations that speak directly to what I am working on? For instance, in this piece, "Shalom, Aloha", I am considering my expectations of what "Home" looks and feels like. The pallete that I chose came directly from interior color design samples taken from the Lowes paint department. I then used these same samples as collage elements. Artists that I looked at prior to starting this piece that inspired some of the surface experimentation were Mary Heilmann and Jacqueline Humphreys. I have also enjoyed the work of Thomas Eggerer lately, and am asking myself how the ground and the figure both reject and support each other in my work. How can I push the dynamics of that relationship further to express the figures ease or complexity in relationship to their world, or the body as home? In this piece specifically, how does the figure relate to it's chosen "home"? What do you surround yourself with? Reach for? Walk away from? What defines and divides us? Also within this piece, I return to my life long fascination with text and image. Shalom Aloha. Peace and Love. Ideas of home. Release. The gesture as an archer taking aim, a dancer telling her story, a figure in motion - leaving, arriving. Where do our "Homes" really begin and end? Who do we invite in? This work is still in process. I am collaging old dress patterns from my sewing days into the surface. A pattern for life, a replica of our shadows, or silhouette. The lines that shape our coverings. What do we cover? What do we reveal? The exploration continues.
Mixed Media on Canvas
36" x 36"

This was the last piece I completed before going to AIB for my first residency. Again, the animal as metaphor for my experience, and lots of work on the surface. In this painting, you can also see the layering of collage, using marker drawn images on tissue (the bamboo). Nature is a common backdrop for my cast of characters, as the natural world is a consistent setting where I explore transition and release - two themes that interest me very much. My experience with nature is mediated by my memory and the usual complexities of urban living.

Studio Exploration

"From the Shore"
Mixed Media on Canvas
36" x 36"

This image was completed this Spring, and is a good example of my working style and interests. My paintings tend to be autobiographical, composed from enigmatic symbols that hold personal meaning for me. Figures and animals are cast as place holders for my emotions, my identity, or other players in my life. The images are often mediated by my imagination, or references from life drawings, the internet, or reference books. The symbolic narrative is supported by a great deal of surface-play. I enjoy layering and to achieve a surface that holds interest for me, I often use drawing-in, stencils, masking with acrylics, markers, collage and spray paint.