These are some of the pieces I have been working on this summer. A few were unfinished pieces, that I finally got around to completing. The three medicinal herbs, wintergreen, bridewort and foxglove are all on 5×7″ canvas board. Painted from my own photo collection. The American Catalpa is painted from a tree in my own backyard. The abstracted painting of blue and yellow and green trees started out en plein air but was abstracted in studio and is still incomplete. The black lab was a photo from camping last summer at a hunting camp on Copper Lake near Old Forge NY. And is a painting of my dog. The two recent abstractions painted on gessoed archival canvas board with a gallery frame, are inspired by the Schweinfurth’s Quilting by the Lake show.
I have not painted A lot this summer, what with babysitting my precious, bright, cheerful, and darling grand daughter. Wouldn’t change a single thing there. Would go through every trauma, struggle and heartbreak a thousand times to have her in my life. I also have been struggling with the chronic disease that reared its ugly head after a 1200 calorie diet threw my whole system off. I have lost weight but at what price? I am also taking a graduate arts administration class this summer which is super time consuming but worth it. I am also downsizing tremendously and have gotten rid of some furniture, electronics, books which I can no longer read due to my vision problems (thank the goddess for iPads), clothing, purses, shoes and household items. And of course flat water paddling is my favorite past time besides babysitting, painting and reading. (I must have read 15 books already this summer).
I am am thinking about how all my work fits together, and really having some deep meta cognitive thoughts. I want to put my love of fiber arts, my realism, my abstractions, my love of line pattern and color altogether into a coherent retrospective of my work. I guess that is my next goal to kind of weed out more chafe and sort it all into a timeline and mental gathering of my life’s work.
Thats it. 😘😘
if you aren’t following my Facebook page why the hell not?
We have to clear out that back room he says, it has too much crap in it. I know I say. But what I really want to do, is make that a space where I can write and make art. Okay. He says. Okay? YAY!
The windows face south, southeast on two sides. It is a long narrow space, with a wood stove on one end. I move my desk, craning my neck to look out the window. Carved elephants sit happily on the bookcase that I made in middle school, a few of my favorite books too. I arrange lighting a really good space heater that my friend Michelle’s boyfriend gave me last winter, put pencils in the drawer, dig my palette and sketch pads out of a box, and find my brushes. I step back and look, he comes out, looking good, yeah I say but…. then I turn the desk a quarter turn, and an ahhhh of relief and correct use of the space like fung shui, escapes from me. The birds, chckadees, blue jays, juncos and some other as yet unidentified bird are at the feeder not more than two feet from my face as I draw, and write. I can imagine writing early in the morning, and looking up to see a coyote, a fox or a deer in the tiered back yard. My Buddhas watch peacefully over the garden, and the wind chimes serenade along with the birds. Though it is overcast, I do not need any unnatural light. This is perfect.
This is a really good space, he says with a kiss on my cheek.
I just look at him and grin, real big.
I draw and then paint for the first time in months. And what comes from me, though carrying my distinctive style, is quite different from anything I have ever done before.
I like this.
Does that wood stove work, I ask. It cranks out the heat, it gets to be about 90 degrees out here, he answers.
Three seasons room just added a season, I cannot leave my paints out here, but I can sure as hell paint in the dead of winter.
Does this match a dark, dank, hot lights, cold cement floor, musty, cramped space?
I have gone a few weeks without much inspiration to make art, but this weekend I suddenly had an idea. I asked the pirate if he had any old pieces of wood, and he said no, but I found this on his back veranda and he said I could take it, he also gave me some old leather pieces for tying the boards together. While I was in his basement, as he cut the leather, he told me to look in his toolbox where I found this piece of deer antler and a hollow piece of turkey bone. The doll like figure is very similar to one I sketched a few months ago, but this one is more earthy and nature oriented. I have a couple ideas for doing a small series using wood and other found objects, the pirate has a gorgeous piece of wood that he pointed out when I was in the basement and I cannot wait to see what I can do with it.
I also finished a piece I started years ago. But honestly I am not all that happy with it, I think I put the hinges on wrong, and I think now looking at it that I put the pieces together wrong. I am curious what others think of it. I literally never finished it because of trepidation about the hinges and alas that was a huge problem, I dug the screwdriver hard into the soft area on the edge of my hand between my thumb and forefinger.
I am working right now to downsize and simply my life for a wide variety of reasons. One of them is that my daughter now has her own apartment and because of that I have cleared out much furniture and dishes and even food from my cupboards. I am also doing a great deal of work on my house this summer, with all the open space it makes deep cleaning, repainting and upgrades more reasonable. I have repainted two rooms, cleaned the basement like a crazy person, repainted the stairs and stairway to the basement, and have three more rooms to repaint. One of those rooms will be the main floor laundry room, which for me has never been a laundry room, but instead has been my studio. With the help of my cousin who is a drywall contractor, I am repatching the office wall which has some odd peeling on one corner, and a crack on one window, and patching the walls that I damaged in the studio. I also have decided once and for all to do something I have been meaning to do for several years. I am selling as much of my artwork as I can.
I have questions about the process. Am I charging too little, am I charging too much. One way I am solving this is by putting big prices on what I would consider portfolio pieces, artwork that is my favorite, or that has a deep tie to explaining my history.
On day one of the sale which was open only to friends and family, I sold nine pieces!!
I also gave two away, ones I personally didn’t like much but the two young women will be helping me with some of my work and sale sitting with me when it all goes public, so I just gave them to the women. One though after I looked at it with her, I realized how truly powerful it is, and I think it will be good for her especially because she is a young gay black woman, and it was about inequality, injustice, and intolerance, the anger that goes with it and so on. All just words that form the shape of a strong tree.
I told the other young woman, who is an artist and talented musician, that over time you develop your own alphabet of symbols. The tree for me has always been a symbol of strength, of solitary strength, that inner spirit that you develop that grows and becomes a living thing that sustains you and shelters you when the storms are raging.
Another symbol is the phoenix, which for me represents the continual rebirth of the self each day and each year, that potential energy that happens in the notion of every day is a new day. It also represents the deep connection I have felt, and feel even more now, to the Tau Siblinghood, which I pledged in college. I have made many new friends in the last year because of that connection. And the phoenix is a symbol of all that went with pledging.
There are other symbols of course. Maybe in a future post I will talk about some of those.
So there you have it, oh and the grand total is now at 11 pieces sold. Awesome.
A couple weeks ago, when we were traveling through the Adirondacks, the pirate and I came upon this wonderful shop on Route 8 near Chestertown and Wevertown. We had the plan to go towards Fort Ticonderoga from my friends place in the vicinity of Gore Mountain, but the plan was open and flexible and as soon as we saw the wooden motorcycle (which I somehow managed to not get a good picture of) and the free form shed structures outside we both looked at each other and decided to stop.
At first we went into the mineral, fossil and bead shop, where of course I found a lovely little grey agate elephant, and the pirate bought a several long African porcupine quills. There were some lovely stone sinks, and hand carved stone art also in the shop, again really unique and beautiful stuff, but what really struck me was the amazing wordwork of Master Woodscrafter whose name I believe is Lynette. After we had purchased our items from the gem shop, she invited us to take a look around at her woodshop.
Just the sheer beauty of the truly unique wood pieces that she had around the shop waiting to be worked, was breath taking. I am afraid my photos on this grey day just do not do justice to the stunning natural quality of the unworked pieces.
It was however her intricately crafted cabinets which most impressed me. I first noticed her amazing little dollhouse. It was like the house of a wood nymph or fairy, an absolute masterpiece of work, with a gorgeous gemstone fireplace, and a hidden doorway.
Then we saw this little cabinet, that used the different colored species of wood, and the naturally formed shapes of the wood itself to create not just a cabinet, but a painted canvas. I love that unlike typical furniture which seeks to look exactly the same as every other piece, it sought to find the intrinsic qualities of each cut of wood, and to showcase it in its natural state. In each of the cabinets she showed us there were hidden compartments which were like opening a treasure box, or stealing into an old castle and finding secret passageways, there was a magic to each piece. The bar was so well thought out, with a wine rack, glass rack, bottle compartments and other places to store glasses, with an eye to keeping things out of reach of little hands. The pirate and I were both astonished at the incredible mastery of this artisan.
There were several artisans at the Crawfish Festival last weekend one of them stopped me in my tracks the minute I saw her booth basically because they were so pretty. I always love it when an artist reclaims items for his or her work and this artist had used spoons to create these really beautiful pendants. What stopped me of course were the steampunk themed images, a bird cage, and a bicycle. The pirate pointed out the om symbol and a buddha to me, and then I noticed an elephant, a butterfly (for my friend) and an owl (for my daughter). I really thought the the black silhouettes were so elegant against the softly colored background. There were also real flowers in some of them too. I LOVED this idea of using spoon heads to make art, I always find it difficult to just throw out old spoons that I have collected over the years, the first ones I ever owned inherited from a man I knew at college, which he gave me for my first apartment when he graduated, we were just pals, but that silverware saw me through several years, until I married and used the money my mom gave me to get a all new matching set. I still have that silverware in the basement. I also have a whole box of mismatched silver that my mom has given me, I am not even sure where it is at the moment, but I have held onto it forever, but what do you do with it? What an ingenious idea!!
I met the artist Randall Yager several weeks ago when I was at the local Regional Market. It was a cold day and he was in one of the few outdoor spots that was filled that day. I was with the pirate and the pirate talked to him for quite a some time, it is easy to see how he always has people he knows everywhere he goes. We were both pretty impressed with Randall’s iron bar metal sculptures, his website is here Ironbar Custom Welding. One of the things I liked about his work, is that he does use some reclaimed metal, and that he does custom work as well. And his prices were pretty reasonable. Check it out.