Tuesday, January 30, 2007

11 down, 15 to go...

More ATCs...again - I warn you - if you are in the exchange...don't look!!

D-man at a baseall game.

A flower in the Biltmore Estate greenhouse - anyone know what the name of this flower is?????

edit: it's an Anthurium...thanks to Li in Asheville for the answer, via WetCanvas!!

My dream-car...a 1956 Chevy Nomad. I, of course, drive the ubiquitous mini-van of suburban motherhood. But this car calls out to me...maybe one day...

all are 2.5"x3.5", acrylic ink on 140lb cold press watercolor paper

Confession - I usually do 4 at a time, because my wc block is 5x7 - but one poor belly dancer painting got a bad case of jaundice and couldn't be recovered. She was promptly buried in the trash can...such is the life of some art - tragic, I know.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

ATC project

I'm participating in a ATC swap over at WetCanvas. I had so much fun with the postcard exchange last year, I thought I'd go even smaller. It's quite a transition, I'll tell you. I'm used to painting on canvases that start out at 24 inches square - moving down to 2.5" x 3.5" is a little mind-blowing. But - I'm getting the hang of it. This is my latest set of cards to mail. If you happen to be participating in the swap - DON'T LOOK - I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise!!

They are all on 140 lb cold press paper, these are done with acrylic ink. Obviously I was going for a real subtle color variation... :-D

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Bad Day at the Art Museum

Oh, the ranting in my spirit today…I’m still trying to calm down. I ranted over the phone both Linda and DH, and still…it won’t quiet the storm. Sigh. Here we go.

Many of you know that we’re a home-schooling family, at least in part. My sons go to a cooperative school, which means they go to a traditional school 3 days a week and I home school them the other two days. So, Tuesdays and Fridays are generally educational and adventurous, as we have the luxury to add in whatever extra activities we please. I found out that our local museum of art now has free admission all day Tuesday (it used to be free on Tuesday evenings only), so I thought we would have an art appreciation field trip today.

We walked in the doors and signed in at the table, where the helpful docents sat, eagerly anticipating the arrival of the next browsers. They informed us of upcoming events and invited us to look at the website to stay on top of new exhibits, etc. The boys walked off to look at a large aluminum sculpture, while I picked up some info and then we made our way into the first exhibit hall, where there were lovely furniture and lighting pieces designed by Stephen Burks. We’re a modern furniture kind of family, so I was eager to see this “art as furniture-furniture as art” exhibit…but I tell you we didn’t even get into the doorway before one docent stepped in front of us and proceeded to tell us everything about the works before we even walked in the room.

Now – I should explain that I’m a hunter and gatherer of information – I love to peruse the displays and glean information for myself…to form opinions and hypotheses and decisions regarding what I am observing, and I’m trying to infuse that into my children. I strongly believe that the nuggets of knowledge that we mine for ourselves are the jewels of intelligence and logical thought. That’s not to say that others don’t have information that we might need – but I prefer to try and sort through it myself, FIRST, and ask questions that might develop later.

Now that you know my philosophy of education, I’ll continue…After she had blown all the surprises in that room, we still meandered through and I tried to educate, but it really was a bust, I’ll tell you. As we wandered back out into the lobby, the boys spotted a large abstract oil painting on the wall and were drawn to it – it was lovely, really – but there again…before I could even swing around enough to see the whole thing (it was probably 8 feet square) here comes Ms. Know-It-All Docent to tell us everything about it again. Aaaarrggghhh. I’ll tell you – I don’t even remember the name of the painting because she told it to me. Had I investigated it myself, I’d remember…I’m sure.

One more room exists downstairs. Yes – it’s a tiny little museum, but we’ll cover that in another rant. This one is reserved for artists who are having their very first solo exhibit in a museum, and it looked interesting. The artist is Seonna Hong. She’s an animator, and the paintings were all on wood, but done with cel paint – the stuff they use on the animation cels for cartoons. They were interesting and it was very apparent that they had a lot to say to us. We had escaped the eyes of Ms. Docent, so I had great hopes that things were looking up. However – no sooner had we walked in and started to gaze at the works…in she comes. She told us the whole story of this woman’s life in art and what her art was saying before we could say boo. It was only saved by the fact that someone else walked in and she had someone to focus on other than us.

Now – you may be asking – why didn’t I ask her to leave us alone? Well, I try to treat people with the respect I think they all deserve, and I did make it very clear (at least it was clear to me) that we were not looking for all that information. I smiled at her and said “thank you” and moved deliberately away from her at least 3 times. C’mon…get a clue! I don’t have anything else to say about it…except this – if you act as a docent in an art museum…or any museum for that matter…greet people, let them know you are available to help, and then fade quietly into the background so they can be alone with their own thoughts. Thank you. Have a nice day.

We did manage to sketch one lone item upstairs away from the docent’s eyes…a blown-glass trophy “head”. I did mine in my little 5x5” hand*book journal with a 6B Derwent graphitone and added a little water when we got home. The boys worked in Ebony pencil in a composition journal. You can find their work over in Abderian Adventures - the link is in the sidebar. It may take a day or two to pry them out of their hot little hands to scan, so check back often!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Fly, Baby, Fly

Have you ever wondered what you would do if you woke up one morning as a bird?

Would you be irritated that your plans would all have to change, or would you seize the opportunity to take off in flight?

Would you stay near familiar territory or wing your way across fields and farms, mountains and valleys, across land and sea?

Would you be sure to make it home in time for bed, hoping to wake up with skin instead of feathers, or would you stay out all night, swooping and diving..never knowing if you would wake up man or bird?

I think I'd fly...

24x24" acrylic on canvas

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Guards at the Gates

Took an overnight trip to Asheville, NC to visit the Biltmore estate. We've lived 90 minutes away for almost 8 years, and decided it was time to finally go, even though it's winter and the gardens weren't in bloom. The "house" is simply astounding - if you ever have a chance to go, you should. Just the artwork contained within is amazing - John Singer Sargent portraits, "The Waltz," by Anders Zorn, a couple of small Rembrandts, and innumerable etchings and drawings. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

There are some pretty awesome gargoyles on the facade, as well as two great lions guarding the front door. I love simple, understated elegance...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Life, The Universe, and Everything

Or, at least my universe...

The kids went back to school today, freeing me up for some much needed quiet reflection time. I spent the morning buying towels, some art supplies at Jerry's and groceries, but most importantly, I had some time to tool about our scruffy little city and try to find some direction for the year.

I made it down to the landing, right along the river, and watched as the mist rose, birds chuckled and the sun slowly came up over the tree tops. I stood between two bridges, which seemed rather perfect at the time. I feel like I am standing, poised for a change, ready to cross into the next phase of my life and my art. Whew. I need to have more alone-time, apparently.

So, here are what I have determined to be my goals for the year, at least in the beginning.

1. Hang some artwork in a gallery or art space, other than my own home...or the home of my mother.
2. Continue to draw from life, concentrating on the figure.
3. Further refine my "voice". Take stock in the things that inspire me, to which I find myself drawn, and combine them in a way that is distinctly me.
4. Write a coherent and succinct artist statement. That's actually one of the early goals - it will be done by the 17th, as per my accountability agreement with Linda.

Okay. That's it. Happy New Year. Go outside and find some inspiration. Now..I mean it - get up and go.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Reflecting on a year...

Linda and I met today to start our new year the right way - with good coffee, sketches and laughter. We were also reflecting on our art goals of 2006 and considering the new ones for 2007. So - I thought I'd bring the discussion here and see how it looked.

At the beginning of 2006, I made 6 goals for myself (which you can see in the archives over there on the sidebar). They were:

1. Draw from life more.
2. Banish the perfection monster.
3. Participate in one class or workshop.
4. Draw in public and answer the question, "Are you an artist?" with "yes."
5. Develop a series. Build a little depth in something.
6. Have a lot of fun.

How'd I do? Well. I have drawn from life more, but I still use my own photographs for reference. I've drawn from other people's photos, and have enjoyed it, but I feel the most comfortable about using my own photographs for references. Drawing from life has definitely increased not only my ability, but my confidence in my ability. I still find that I am more tense when drawing from life - more worried about making a mistake. Linda suggested I go back to the roots, and spend some time with a large newsprint pad and some charcoal - to loosen up, play and have fun, and I think she's quite right. When I go to spend my Christmas money this week, I'll pick up a pad and charcoal. This is one that I can say I've done, but haven't achieved all that I know I can. It will go back on the list. Ultimately, I'd love to find a figure drawing group to get involved in.

Perfection monster? Well - I'd say he's much diminished this year. I've found myself less worried about my work being "good enough" for whatever imaginary critic (myself, generally) I've conjured up in my head, and more consumed with the moment and enjoying it. Have I conquered it? Probably not, but I've certainly chained it up a bit and tamed it. This, I imagine, will be in my goals list until I'm not longer able to make goals lists.

I never took an actual class or workshop this year, unfortunately, but I did go to a couple of great half-day seminars with Linda. One was with Golden acrylics, and it was fabulous - I learned more about how acrylics behave in those few hours than in months of practice with them. The other was a silkscreen seminar, which I enjoyed and would like to try sometime, but that's a medium for another time in my life, I think. So - that was a half-completed goal. Not too bad, I guess.

Drawing in public has become old hat at this point. I got "busted" twice today and never flinched. Of course, that's why the lady in my sketch looks like she has 3 moustaches...yikes.

I worked on a series of hands this year, that I enjoyed a great deal, and a series of portraits, as well. I find myself drawn to the human face and figure and want to continue in that vein. I also seem to be drawn to roosters. Go figure.

And lastly, I wanted to have a lot of fun in my art this year, and I certainly have. I met a great friend through art, and I'm excited to have another year of encouragement and accountability with her (thanks, Linda!!). We have way more fun together than two grown women ought have, and she indulges my need to fill in the gaps with random Monty Python songs and references. Not just everyone will do that, you know. (Finland, Finland, Finland...the country where I most want to be...) I've gessoed over hideous paintings with reckless abandon and spread paint around like there was no tomorrow. I've collaged and mosaic-ed and drawn and dribbled and had a ball. Is there anything better in the world? I think not.

In February, I did have the idea that I would start a series of color sketchbooks, after seeing Laura's from 2005. February and March went really well, but I got so fond of orange, in March, that I couldn't go any farther. I realized after a while that I didn't have a real reason for doing it, and I quit. I don't consider this a missed goal, but rather a revision of a plan. That's my story, anyway.

Tomorrow I hope to post a plan for 2007. Linda and I will be checking in on each other, on the 17th of each month, to keep us on track for the year. You can read more about it at her blog. (And check out our 5 year plan).