Saturday, January 30, 2010

"On the Mend" - Work in Progress

I'm working on a new mixed media piece I'm titling "On the Mend." I kinda like the fact that the photo above is fuzzy - its not done yet - its a work in progress (WIP), so it shouldn't be clear yet. Its not clear to me.

I wrote in my journal yesterday that I was starting to get into this piece. What I'm enjoying is that I'm doing this just for me - I figure its part of my healing process and I'm not going to think about what a potential judge, critic or future buyer might think about it. So if I'm just playing around, then anything goes.

So I experimented with one of my drawings, watercolor and thick paper and tissue paper and "mending" torn pieces together... then I added some broken glass and I got some lovely effects. That's the thing - with art so often you try to think it all up before hand, but its only in DOING it that you find new discoveries and new ideas. One little idea leads to the next, then the unexpected happens and then you have something new. There is no way to "think it up" before hand. If you want to improve, you have to just go with the flow. Besides, its much more fun.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sweet Theo

Did this little contour drawing of my dog Theo while he was curled up asleep last night. (His head is at the bottom of the page with his paws stretched out on the left..).

I like doing contour drawings - especially at the end of the day. You look closely at your subject and without looking at the paper you slowly draw the lines you see - I imagine my pen following the edge of Theo's back and around each paw. Its always a surprise when you look at the page after and see what's recorded. Like this one, its often abstracted - sometimes beyond recognition, but it always has some feeling in it.

One of my books describes the pen as "caressing" the subject when you draw a contour. Sometimes when I'm doing them I'll peek a bit, just to see where my pen is, but that's ok...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ocracoke trees

After my productive week I decided to hop in my camper van Max on Friday and take my dog Theo over to Ocracoke for a night. We stayed in the one campground that is open year round. Early Saturday morning I looked out the window and saw the sunrise colors coming through a line of trees. One section of the trees really started to look like the profile of a face - and then it appeared to be in an embrace. I tried to capture it in my sketchbook.

Jim and I made a week-end trip to Ocracoke last May, a couple weeks before he died. We walked the lovely Springer's Point trail there. When we got back Jim said "That's a wonderful trail. The NC Coastal Land Trust did a great job with that. We should send them more money." That was one reason I chose the Land Trust to be the recipient of memorial donations in Jim's name. I related the story to Camilla, their director. I was surprised, pleased and moved when she later informed me that they had decided to name the trail at Springer's Point after Jim.

So, I felt the need to go walk the trail. It was lovely. One of the things I like about the trail is the creative way in which the boundaries are maintained. They have made natural fences out of driftwood and people over time have decorated them with shells, feathers, and other found objects from the beach. I added to it. It feels like a sort of pilgrimage for me somehow.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Meet Max

Its been a good week. I've worked steadily on a commissioned painting and its coming along well. Since I don't post images of commissions (unless I get permission), I thought I'd take this moment to introduce Max. Max is the 10-year old camper van I bought to use as my "Mobile Art X-scape (MAX)." Jim and I had been looking at these Roadtreks, they are a neat design. Only 20 feet (they fit in a standard parking spot) but are fully self contained (Yep! There's a marine toilet in there too, in addition to the stove, refrig, heat and ac).

I've already taken Max down to Florida and up to New York. Now I'm planning a trip to the Grand Canyon in May. Jim and I were planning that as our next trip. Theo (our black lab - greyhound mix) and I have decided to go...more on that later...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Back to the drawing board

After some fits and starts I finally decided yesterday that it was Sunday and I didn't have to be productive, I could just play with the materials that spoke to me. For some reason I was wanting to mess around with gesso, tissue paper and charcoal. I ended up doing these little sketches on two small panels I had (8 x 10). Seems I always come back to the face - there's something so intriguing about faces, I can never tire of it my comfort zone that I should break away from or is it my calling? Who knows. Perhaps its best not to over-analyze these things and just go with the flow...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Its a start

It's ironic how art works. I headed into the studio with the intention of getting going on my commissions. I did some prep work on them, and then pulled out a canvas and started painting this painting. It has nothing to do with a commission; it has to do with Jim. Doy! Of course I have to get that out of me before I can go on to the commissions. I couldn't admit that, but "art" knew.

This is unfinished (I think), but an interesting start. I've had an idea in my mind for awhile related to Jim's actuarial. (An actuarial is a statisical calculation of life expectancy). Shortly after Jim died I received a call from one of his colleagues. She told me that the last time she saw Jim he had come by her office shortly after a legislator had died. The man had lived to an old age. Jim told her “At least he made his actuarial. He was fortunate to live so long. .. That’s my goal, to meet my actuarial.”

Of course he didn’t. I looked up his actuarial and at his age, 57, he should have lived another 22.77 years.

So that got me thinking of doing a painting based on his actuarial. I have many versions in my mind which I'll describe this painting I reference it in the bottom rectangular section. If you read it from left to right, the white space is proportional to those 22.77 years...its unfinished.

At first I thought the rest of that part of the canvas should be black, but then I decided it wasn’t black… perhaps a deep blue. And in this one I decided it should just be white; the life was unfinished…and light is white.

The upper portion of the painting is referencing the moon. I hadn't planned that, it just came out. The moon has been a big comfort to me during these months of mourning. It makes me feel closer to Jim somehow. We toasted him at the full moon on his birthday.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A New Year - it's time to get back to work...

This is a photo I took on a trip to New Mexico with Jim two years ago. It was taken as we climbed through the rocks toward "The White Place" that Georgia O'Keeefe painted, near where she lived. The photo reflects the feeling I have of slowly coming out of the darkness mourning the loss of my husband Jim. We have brilliant sunny blue skies this first cold week of January. I still miss him terribly each and every day, but its time to get back to work.

I'm getting my studio set up after 7 months of inactivity. Ironically, it is commissions which are helping to propel me back to work. Usually commissions are harder for me to do than "my own thing." But at this point they are helping me get back on track. Its partly because I feel the push of a deadline, but also because its doing something for other people. Somehow that's easier. The first one I'm working on is for some dear friends who have been very patiently waiting for a portrait of their daughter. Then I will start in on those who requested commissions at the fall art shows. Thanks to all of you for your patience and loving support.