Recent work

 

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. 😘😘

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Paul Cezanne and American Abstract Artists

 

One of the first master copies I ever did was one of the incarnations of Paul Cezanne’s Mt. Saint Victoire.  During a critique the other day I was called an American Abstract artist which made me think of my inspirations throughout the years, Cezanne, the artists of The Steiglitz liniage, O’Keeffe, Hartley and Dove and how I have noticed some similarities in their paintings as shown above.  Less so with the O’Keeffe but I am sure there is one out there I have to find it, that shows direct influence of Cezanne.

These are a few favorites:

 

I am also a big fan of Henry Moore (not an American abstract artist but a defining influence) and his flowing forms and smooth lines

And and the simplified shapes and smoothness of the paint and the flowing lines of Thomas Hart Benton

Other artists her artists whom I love and have influenced me are Wassily Kandinsky, Kathe Kollwitz and Ansel Adams:

What these all have to do with each other is beyond me at the moment.  Maybe a better analyst can help me figure it out?  I would love to hear someone else’s thoughts on this.

On the (easel) Dining Room Table

I spent the morning cleaning and organizing the studio.  Having the desk next to my work table was just awkward and was a poor use of the desk.  After several hours of work I went out for fish at Rudy’s a local iconic favorite.

When I returned I got to work on an assignment for the graduate painting class I am taking at SUNY Oswego.  I took the class to improve my skills and to start to show my work, because it is ridiculous that I have been painting and making art for 25 years and have had no commercial exposure.  After  completing the painting of the back yard, the assignment was to make some collages based on my backyard painting but collages in general.

I was kind of being a snot, because I think the professor is underestimating my experience and a comment he made on Thursday seemed to be a tick in the column of hmmm about using quality stretcher strips (for over 13 years?) okay anyway.

The first piece here is a painting I did while living with a person who was not very good for me spiritually I painted the background, and then I painted the dejected angel put along they were not very good.  So I combined them.  As I look at it, it is so much a reflection of the neighborhood and the feeling I had while living there.  I can totally see the whole situation in the painting.  But y0u would have to walk the same third mile stretch of road with the multistory nursing home and feel the watchful eye of the neighbor who had a murder in her house thirty years previously and the bitchy Indian woman who didn’t want me training my dog on the street, and the German Aunt and mother who were constantly overwhelming me and the man, with his he is a bully and a clown persona.

Not sure, would LOVE commentary.

I took a marker drawing of a city, Petare (Spelling?) a slum in Venezuela, was partially the inspiration, and honestly I wish my ex husband could see this doodle because he loved it.  Anyway.  I added the sun that I put into a doodle I did while I was laid up for over a week with severe back pain. I could not walk or even move easily.  Excruciating. I drew two doodles of spines, when I first posted them online my high school friend who has a bad back and MS immediately recognized the spines and the pain in the drawings.

I loved the colors together and had to make very few changes to fit the two pieces together.  When I was obsessed with collage about 15 years ago I did several pieces where the city was overwhelming nature, so very much a part of my psyche and spirit at the time, having grown up in farm country, and the deep woods of upstate (real upstate not Westchester County) NY and the remote hills streams and meadows of Columbia County.  For some reason this all just fits for me.  The strength of the backbone hugging the fire of the sun rise and the silhouettes of the trees, a symbol for me of the self and now the blue river washing clean the grungyness of the city.

The two sumo wrestlers, not really but maybe, the two curvalicious female figures at odds with one another is much better in natural light, and is not complete.   See below for the remaining four pieces.

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Original “doodle” with pieces of other doodles added.  Hard to see here will repost later with blue river flowing through.
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Original colored pencil drawing depicting two figures at odds. 
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Negative space tree draft/collage/ experimentation for backyard
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Collage experimentation for backyard
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Collage Experimentation for backyard
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Playing with an old map birch bark and a river colored canoe, drawing from a receipt 1932 bi prop and bi wing plane 

So the three collages are all experiments with what I want to do for a final project for the painting class.  I hate them all.  But the one with the pine tree branches against the blue sky and the negative space tree is tolerable.  I have more to do and will add to this when I make a final painting for the class.

I have been wanting for a long time to do a piece with maps this is just an experiment and I am sure more will come later this is not finished nor fully actualized.

 

finished artwork.

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Bridge at Caughdenoy -complete

CAUGHDENOY

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Caughdenoy

I made some adjustments on the painting, I wanted the transition from the realism of the bridge to the abstraction of the trees behind it, to be less jarring.  So I brought the shore line under the bridge to a more realistic middle ground.  Next I made the color between the railings of the bridge more like the colors that were used in the background.  Finally, I added more of a dark slow shore zig zagging through the right side, while stylizing the ripples of the water, and adding light to the rapid area in the more active part of the river.

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Backyard Complete
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Backyard

In Backyard, I left the realistic fuzzy area under the tree, and at the edge of the house more or less as is.  I reworked the sky so that it was more intense, choosing to ignore the large greyish brown area of trees in the background.  I intensified the blue sky in the background, and adjusted the transition of sky to land behind the tree.  The edges of the pine branches were stylized more with a jagged zig zag edge.  I made the space in between the branches of the tree more intense, focusing on creating a kind of stylized vaginal area that if you really look at trees is so obvious in the way the branches are laid out, realistically.  I tend created more of a feeling of space in the lawn by using the same technique of zig zagging backward with the color blocks.

Finally I took the bird feeders in the foreground and made completed them more realistically than the rest of the painting, with the exception of the realistic area to the left of the tree, reflecting that gorgeous Gamblim Cadmium red medium, with only a bit of Titanium White also by Gamblin and some Payne’s Grey by Williamsburg for creating value.  I believe the feeders were actually painted with Cadmium because it is an exact match in color.  And for the shining copper feeder I used a combination of Indian Red, Italian Red (Williamsburg) and Indian Yellow from Winsor and Newton (NOT my favorite) to create highlights and values.  I was impressed by how closely those colors approximated metallic copper.

 

 

Work in Progress

I am continuing to work in my graduate school class.  Prior to spring break I was frustrated with the class, and frustrated with the boring still life.  And frustrated with a je ne sais quoi. 

I thought about this over the break and realized that what the frustration was is this, I had done a solid six weeks of review of the principles of painting realistically and color mixing and remembrance of painting copies of masters; I had also begun the journey of looking at other artists again, and being inspired by someone other than those painters we all know, but okay enough articles and books about them already.  (Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh Gauguin, O’Keeffe etc).  I purchased a French Easel and a wet canvas box, and had the ability to travel with my oil paints, and am beginning to paint en plein air.  The frustration was that it was a review, right?  And I wanted to split off and do MY work with a new focus and new ideas and ways of improving it.

My two plein air paintings above, neither are complete.

I felt more attached to the tree picture, so after speaking with the professor about some abstraction possibilities similar to perhaps Charles Birchfield or Emily Carr I began to add some abstraction.  Which I am still working on.  I wanted to stick to similar natural colors and not go into the abstract brights I typically in my pallet, so I used some Williamsburg Italian Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber a touch of Permanent Green and some Naples Yellow Hue and Gamblin Titanium White to begin to play with the trees in the background.

We discussed painting en plein air, then abstracting in studio, and returning to the place to paint again en plein air.Or perhaps painting abstractly on location.  There was a sense of Zen-ness, of being where you are and experiencing the sounds, smells, and sights, (used condoms and salted minnows) and breathing in the air, talking to the fishermen that stop by or the State Conservation Officer.  There is this other thing that goes on too.  And this was like a light bulb, because it is absolutely correct, there is the state of what is happening in your head too, the thoughts you are having (and perhaps unlike Zen you are not just noticing and letting go but are instead deeply dwelling on them) You may get lost in remembering something someone said to you or an experience you had, or what is for dinner or the feeling of the sun on your neck and whether it will give you a sunburn or not, and finally what you are doing too, not just painting and talking to fishermen, but chasing the dog off the condom and minnows, or making sure she has water.

This head space is also what is happening when observing a painting.  The interaction I recall from John Berger’s Way of Seeing is of two people, the artist and the observer, but the observer can get into the artist’s head space as well, what was the artist thinking, what was the artist’s intention.  Then there is the painter, say Charles Birchfield showing the energy emanating around him in his painting, so you can sense the sounds of the insects and the wind, and feel the wind blowing across the canvas,

More thoughts on this later.

You Have No Idea

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This beautiful doll has been long in the making, it has taken me over two years to complete, with many tear outs, and several give ups.  But finally I think she is done.  She is a survivor and one cannot even imagine how strong she is, stronger even than one might give her credit for, she has survived the worst fires.  I once heard that the only living thing to survive Hiroshima were the ginkgo trees at a Buddhist temple so the outside of her cloak is blackened ginkgo leaves, but the inside of her cloak is the stuff of life, leaves and spirals, and passionate purple flowers, the spiral a symbol of enduring life.  And yet she is an homage to death, her belt is made of silver leaves and white skulls, and the skeleton of a dead fish.  And as a nod to Kali the goddess of empowerment, of death and destruction, but also of time and change. The closure of her cloak is two daisies, side by side, right as they should have been.  Her shirt is made of handspun yarn, a nod to her origins, her craft, her intellect, and her inner belt is made of a silk ribbon, a gift from one she holds most dear to her.  Her necklace is the actual vertebrae, a symbol of having back bone, strength against adversity, great inner strength.  She stands with her arms outstretched, here I am, as I am, with no apologies.  Mouthless she does not speak, but she has eyes to see, and in the palms of her hands the eyes of wisdom, such as it is.  In her hands she holds two talismans, with secret messages.

You have no idea how strong she is.  You have no idea what she has endured.  More than you can ever imagine, she was knocked off her feet, and struggled to regain them, knocked again and again by the crashing of the ocean waves, and yet here, she stands strong.

Behold.

Tiger Lily and Bird

“be like the flower, and turn your face to the sun.” ~ khalil gibran

liliesbird

we spend the morning clearing away the snow.  he works on his aunt’s driveway and i on ours, hers and his mother’s down the street.  the dog is joyful to be in the snow  the men are in the street snow blowing, the plow has not yet come through.  later i get a haircut and then spend some time shopping with and having dinner with, my daughter.  i come home late and crawl into his bed, he wraps his arms around me, holding me so close, with such strength.  I close my eyes and breath in the smell of him, and visions pass before my eyes, of birds and sunshine, and lilies.