Posts Tagged ‘studio’

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.

 

 

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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

Birthday Past

January 11, 2009

Well into the new year now, and with my birthday celebrated I finally feel like the holiday season is over and I’m settling back into working and routines: real life.  It’s always a relief to hit mid-January, with not much going on except watching weather reports and cancelling stuff because of the snow.  I’m a hibernator–hate being cold, but I’m happy to have an excuse to stay indoors with my books and music and projects.  For a couple of days anyway…then I get antsy.  Snow yesterday, antsy today, going out to do something…movie? music? tonight, to get the brain working again.

A couple of weeks ago, I did my third workshop with Christie Scheele’s daughter Tessa and her friends, Anna and Sonya. Christie worked with us too, this time…I hope they had as much fun as I did.  The 3 hours just zoomed by; I think I’ll add another hour next time we do it, if they’re up to that.  I’ve always been nervous about doing workshops…do I have anything to teach?  Can I transmit what I know so that it’s useful?  Do I go too fast, too slow, give too much info, too little?  I’ve worked with these kids and with a small group of artists, showing them collage techniques and getting feedback, so my confidence is gradually building.  I hope to one day (with better lighting in my studio!) give workshops and classes on a regular basis, both for the joy of sharing and for a little extra income.  With illustration work at an all-time low for me, I’m trying to add to my income with small projects.  I’m not sure if that’s a good idea, but it’s better than just whining. Here are a couple of photos of the last workshop–they all did fabulous work, making collaged accordian books.

collagers-workingcollage-group-with-work

My current project is making more little ACEO’s.  I know I can’t sell them for much, despite their complexity, and unless I get my process speeded up considerably, it won’t be worth the time involved to make them.  But I did set up an ETSY shop with four of these little gems, and I hope to put some at Arts Upstairs, in Phoenicia.  Check out my shop here…I’m kinda proud of myself for doing it!  http://www.barrtworks.etsy.com .  Any feedback would be much appreciated.

My friend Polly Law is offering a workshop in making ACEO’s, next Saturday (January 17).  It’s sure to be wonderful; she has such technical skill and originality, and she’s priced it quite reasonably; I surely encourage anyone in the area to sign up fast–give her a call.actsinvitea

Express yourself in just 8.65 square inches!
A workshop to explore the world of itty-bitty art made to trade with other artists or sell, your choice.
Artists Trading Cards are the art equivalent of baseball cards, 2.5″x3.5″ in size, materials and expression are open. They are as hot as pancakes right now- well, little tiny pancakes; but unlike flapjacks, they don’t pack on the pounds or raise your triglyceride levels.
Learn some new techniques, teach some new techniques, play with some new materials.
My studio can only acommodate 6 participants so please prepay with PayPal to reserve your space.
I will provide 5 blanks per person, fancy papers, magazines for collage elements, a printer, rubber stamp type, hole-punches, paints, Bill Wills and Django Reinhardt on the stereo, and assorted other bits and bobs.
Please bring any other materials you want to work with- think of it as an art-materials pot-luck- Elmer’s glue or Yes! paste, double-stickum tape (no glue sticks!!!), an exacto knife and blades, and your own brushes. (Catskill Art Supply is right down the block if needed.)

Caveats: My studio is a 3rd floor walk-up and there is a cat on the premises. Plenty of parking on Wall Street and 3 free lots on N. Front Street.

And now back to work…..!