Posts Tagged ‘art’

Back to the Real

November 4, 2011

After my solo show of assemblages and mixed media works a year ago, I felt tired of the mess and bother, the glue and little bitsy pieces of stuff, and decided to return to painting and drawing, focusing on technique and simple subject matter.  The decision was aided by the fact that it was winter, and my “mess” studio, a closed-in garage, gets very cold…and is expensive to heat.  I set up a working space in my “clean” studio (which isn’t all that clean but at least doesn’t have paint on the floor) – the “family room” of my house.  And I started taking classes with Manhattan/Woodstock artist Chris Gallego, whose work I have greatly admired since first seeing it at his solo show at the WAAM.  (See his art at http://www.chrisgallego.com). I painted still lifes, something I’ve never done before, and found it completely engrossing, especially under his expert tutelage.  After an arduous painting of a plastic bag, pencil and paper called to me and I’ve now started a series of drawings…below is the first one, the subject of which is a rack of old clothes in a vintage shop in Virginia.  I’m obsessed now, seeing drawings in everything.  This coming weekend I’ll be doing an intensive 2-day workshop in Chris’s Woodstock studio, and I can’t wait.  It’s always surprising to me how very much more there is to learn about even the “simplest” art techniques, and how much I don’t know.

A few of my new paintings follow the drawing. I’ve sold two, and one will be in NAWA’s “Vernissage des Femmes Artistes” show in Miami during Art Basel week.

 

 

Tough decision

July 7, 2011

I never thought I would turn down an opportunity for a gallery show, but after wrestling with my conscience and my reasoning, I just did that very thing.  I was offered a show this coming September, at the lovely Doghouse Gallery on Phillips Road, between Saugerties and Woodstock. Tom Wright does a wonderful job with this place…it’s an old barn behind the Wrights’ home, cozy and rustic, where summers offer a series of beautiful exhibits by local artists.  Back in March it seemed like an easy prospect, such a long time away.  Well, it’s not a long time away now, and the past few months have been so crowded with activities, travel, and obligations that I haven’t had the studio time I need.  I’m currently working on a series of small still lifes and trompe l’oeil paintings, and studying with Chris Gallego…I was worn out by the messiness of assemblages and collages, and felt a need to return to basics.  And there’s a lot I never learned in college or my MFA program about painting.  I’m not sure if I learned anything at all there, actually.  I’m enjoying the process, studying and learning and working slowly, but unless I speed up and “crank out” work, I won’t have enough new pieces for a show.  I could easily show some photos instead, or old work, or drawings…but that just doesn’t feel right to me.  It feels like cheating, like just throwing stuff on walls for the thrill and attention (and possibly sales) associated with having my name on a postcard and a flashy opening.  I feel like I’m learning more than just painting; I’m learning to focus, to let work develop as it wants to without my rushing it, and that there’s a time for showing…and a time for working.

The next show at the Doghouse will feature the work of painter and sculptor Fay Wood, opening July 30.  I just created her postcard (my little job for the Doghouse)…do see the show, it’s sure to be wonderful. 4-7 PM, 429 Phillips Road.

Here’s a little sampling of my new work….

Studio Stuff Part 2

May 17, 2011

It was a very good idea to post my mess here and on FB…it kept me going when I really wanted to stop, and I got it all nice again.  Of course there’s a bunch of stuff that came out of the studio that hasn’t got where it’s going yet.  And the storage room….not even gonna think about that.  Here’s the after picture, and some little vignettes…as a sometimes assemblage maker, I accumulate lots of weird things, most of which come from well-meaning friends who are cleaning out their own stuff.  I have a couple of shelves that are too flimsy to support books or serious supplies, so I group them there in ever-changing arrangements.


Studio Stuff

May 13, 2011

Right now I’m taking a break from one of my least favorite chores, studio cleaning.  I have a 2-room studio; one room is the house’s family room, where I do computer work, drawing, and collage, and the other is an adjoining converted garage, where I do messy stuff. Between them is a good-sized storage room.  After my solo show at the WAAM in November, I was tired of the mess of assemblage work, and decided to simplify, spending my time painting and learning some techniques I never picked up in my non-education.  (I’m basically a self-taught artist with an MFA.) Nope, not going to digress, I’m procrastinating enough as is.  Thing is, the garage area gets really cold despite one small heat vent, and it’s expensive to heat it.  So I moved my paints and various accoutrements into the family room area, and all winter just flung (flang? flinged?) stuff into the garage studio.  Boxes from online shopping, plastic bags, dead animals, etc.  And now I’m moving back…it’s the decision-making part of organization that gets to me.    I want to put paints on a table which is covered with assemblage stuff.  Gotta move that, but where? Oh, that shelf would be good, but what do I do with the junk that’s on it now?  I could put that in a drawer…the drawer stuff in the storage room, the storage room stuff…where does it go?  On that clean table in the studio?  NO!  That’s where I started.  I keep going in circles till I’m dizzy.  And get all sidetracked by sorting out little beads and bones and rusty things. I spent half an hour with cicada wings, removing them from crumbling bodies. Once started, this job could take up the rest of my life.  Here’s what the studio looked like this morning (above), and what it looked like last year when I killed myself for the Artists’ Tour (below).  Posting the “before” should mortify me enough to get me back to work.

playing with CS5

May 23, 2010

FIrst experiment with the fake HDR feature….over the top but so much fun.

Snyders Tavern

March 23, 2010

Drove past this on Sunday, on my way to hang a show at the Olive Free Library, for their Trail Mix Concert.  I thought it was abandoned, and was surprised to learn it’s still in business.  Now I have to visit the inside of the place. And more of the concert…I think there’s one every month, quite wonderful and worth checking out.This is not inside the tavern, it’s chairs at the library, waiting for the concert.

more life drawing

October 18, 2009

I’ve been enjoying sketching this lovely model who’s been posing for a couple of drawing groups.  She is so elegant and graceful, and I’ve never known a model who could hold a pose so well.  I don’t know how to spell her name…Ilema? but I’ll have to find out.

Not much other news; it’s been a very busy week with lots of work to do for WAAM; mostly I’ve been working on creating a blog for the organization. WordPress makes it pretty easy, but there are still plenty of tricky bits to work out.  Here ’tis: http://www.waamblog.wordpress.com .  Any suggestions are welcome.  The openings last night were great fun–lots of people showed up and the shows were much admired.  After, I wandered across the street to see Polly Law’s show at Oriole 9.  Her work, as always, looked spectacular.  I let Lenny Kislin convince me to show there next month…but I’m a bit nervous about it.  Some of the work will go directly from the Doghouse Gallery into the restaurant, because I don’t have time to make a lot of new pieces, but I hope the clientele is different so it doesn’t look like a rerun.  Whatever, it will be fun.  From Oriole 9 some friends and I went back to Saugerties to try out the new Fez restaurant, and were delighted with the food and ambience and prices.  The waitress (part owner maybe?) really had her hands full as the busboy didn’t show up, so it was just her and the chef–and the place was super-busy.  An odd closure to the evening: peeking into Dave’s Coffee House next door, we beheld something not often seen on Partition Street–a live lion cub!  Well, my companions saw it, but by the time I looked it was back in a covered cage…so they might  have been hallucinating….

One more note: I’ve put the entire Doghouse show (my work, not Mary Anne’s) here: http://loel.smugmug.com/Art/doghouse

catching up

October 8, 2009

Well, this is weird.  I wrote and posted, and then saw that the entire first paragraph had disappeared…now, what was I saying?  That the Doghouse Gallery opening was last Saturday evening, and it was a terrific party.  Lots and lots of people came, lots of wine was drunk and cheese eaten.  Mary Anne and I both sold a couple of things, which was wonderful.  I would have liked to sell more, of course…had  hoped to pay for my framing costs…but I didn’t really expect to, and I’m delighted to have sold anything at all. Nice things were said about the work, and it was gratifying to have it seen, and to be in the company of so many dear friends…and some new friends.

These events are draining for the artists showing work…I am NOT complaining, mind you, not at all, and of course it was great fun…but after the stress of getting everything finished, framed, hung, polished, cards and invitations made and sent, and then the high of the opening itself where you try to talk to everyone and remember names and not spill wine on yourself, or drink too much of it…well, then there is a sort of crash.  It takes a few days for the adrenalin to depart, days in which all I want to do is sit and stare into space.  I’ve learned to accept this period and just go with it; I’m going to be unproductive anyway so I might as well enjoy the little island of calm.  I am managing to do some much overdue house-cleaning; I can’t seem to get work done in the studio AND keep the place tidy at the same time, it’s gotta be one or the other.  There’s more to do, but the bills are paid, the cobwebs brushed from the corners, the papers cleared off my desk.

And then there’s the reflection, the doubt…why do we artists keep doing this?  I think of all the hours spent making stuff, sometimes full of joy and sometimes anguish, the expense of framing, the hauling and hanging, only to bring home yet another pile of pictures no one wants and find a place to store it.  I can only say I do it because it’s what I do.  I don’t think I can say I love it, though often I do…do I “have” to do it, as many art-makers say?  Maybe.  I don’t know; I wonder if that’s just a romantic myth.  I do get grumpy if I go for very long without making something, that’s true.

So what’s next? — a question that follows every such event. I’ll have a show in the next few months at Oriole 9 in Woodstock, and next November a solo show at WAAM, more reasons to keep on working.  Right now I need to shift my focus to figuring out ways to make an income; having recently been dropped by my longest and most faithful illustration client, my financial situation is on the verge of being dire, and my job skills are nil.  Well, there’s always Wal-Mart; they might need a greeter!

Opening, me with guests, and Tom, the gallery ownerwe drank a bit of wine...gallery door

life drawing

May 9, 2009

red nude

This is a 10-minute sketch I did at the life drawing session at WAAM on Thursday, when we had an amazing and beautiful model, a graceful young woman who could hold a pose without the slightest movement for a full 25 minutes.  The sessions are on alternate weeks, and I try not to miss a single one.  Life drawing is forgotten by many artists as soon as they leave art school, but I think it may be the single most important practice for an artist at any stage of his or her career.  It’s not about producing beautiful final works, it’s about seeing and training the hand to cooperate with the eye.  It’s about patience, and about speed…to catch something of the model during a one-minute pose is a challenge.  My greatest satisfaction comes when I feel that I have connected with the model, that I’ve captured something of her being…that doesn’t happen very often.  The practice itself is infinitely interesting to me…at first I try to match the media to the subject; some models need a light delicate pencil stroke, some demand great bold swaths of charcoal.  Good models bring themselves to the process; they care about what they’re doing, they’re into it, and it feels like there’s an energy transmitted between model and artist…when it’s going well my hand isn’t moving a pencil across paper, it’s in contact with the subject, following directly the line of a shoulder, the curve of fingers.  Hard to explain, but drawing from life is where I feel closest to pure Being, closest to meditation.

And it’s just fun, too, as are my pre-drawing lunches with Marcie and Annette…

PS–there’s a fabulous book about drawing, and many other aspects of art that I highly recommend: Undressed Art: Why We Draw

blogging my butt

March 6, 2009

Yep, I finally did it, the dreaded colonoscopy.  I was scared shitless, but just as people told me, it was as easy as falling off a log, and in and out procedure.  Everything came out okay, and I’ve now repooperated.  bullcolonoscopy

To change the subject (please), I’ve just made some more ACEO’s and sent them off to Arts Upstairs.  I felt inspired by the antique paper collages of Cecil Touchon, loving the colors and textures of the papers and the simple and elegant way he placed them. http://cecil.touchon.com/antique-antique-papers/index.html

Of course I don’t want to copy him in any way, but I dug through my old family stuff and pulled out some lovely pieces: my grandfather’s diaries, a great-aunt’s autograph book, letters from my grandmother to my dad when he was in college, etc.  Now, it’s not easy to tear pages out of these precious relics, and I’m careful about how I do it, but I’m liking the results and the sense of history/mystery they give these tiny objects.  Here are the recent cards—not all use the old paper, there’s a mix here, but I never can stick to doing just one thing!

New ACEO's

New ACEO's