New waves in the studio

As you know I’ve been working on a lot of new things this fall.  It all began with “the wall” but I also ended up experimenting with some new themes in my work.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a fan of maps.  But – I inherited about 40 years worth of magazines that have really great pictures.  My intention is to play around with them, and alter them to see how I can use them in my artwork as another collage material.

I have to admit, sometimes I get distracted.  In fact, when I go to my studio space, I have good intentions of organizing my time wisely, but sometimes I just I have so many ideas running through my head that I wish I could somehow have more hands, more energy, and more time to work on them.

In these past few weeks, though, I’ve started filming my progress on the wall painting.  I actually completed the collage and am working on the writing.  The painting part is still in progress.  I actually ran out of the colors I was using, and I have to re-order them — local stores don’t carry my strange mix of colors.

So here are some current visual updates:

IMG_6323.JPG
Before Halloween I was working on finishing the collage.  This shows that I had to finish across the top and along the side.  It was hours of work to complete that part.
img_6446
A view from my comfy chair.
img_6560
Backyard art experimenting.  I was using a cleaning agent to alter pictures in a magazine. 
img_6563
You don’t really know what is going to happen, but sometimes things happen just right.
img_6568
Waiting to be painted.  I think the painting part will finish up right after Thanksgiving.
img_6747
Collage work finished! — So I had some snacks.
img_6751
New experimental mixed media pieces.  What if I used faces, instead of maps?
img_6788
Still enjoying the topographical line making on top of the altered images and paint.
img_6811
Did I mention I started making my own origami paper?
img_6849
First crane in this bunch. Only 999 more to go.

 

An over due update

The wall has been going through some changes these last few weeks.  There’s been some problem solving, much needed breaks, and some breakthroughs.  I’m really having fun with this project and the idea has taken on a different kind of significance and study.  I feel like it’s moving forward.

So with the much needed breaks I’ve also been working on a few other paintings to keep it interesting.  I’ve ordered more wood to keep going on a series of smaller abstractions and of course wood panels.

 

img_6132
The collage work, it’s never ending, but so worth the effort.
img_6135
I need breaks, so I’m working on a couple of others.  This is one is one masonite board, and has a super slick surface.
img_6140
Oh, and I’m working on some origami paper, using maps as a guide to make the lines on the paper.
img_6143
Folding them into cranes.  This has been a long process, but I finally found the right paper and the right ink.
img_6148
The wall, as it shifts.
img_6152
Back to making origami paper.
img_6162
Sometimes you need a walk in the woods to reset.  And I still can’t get away from the impressions of nature.
img_6164
More map design on paper.
img_6167
Pre-treating the birch panels for the next project.
img_6169
Close up of collage.
img_6178
This is how it looked earlier in the week, you can see the small red piece in the foreground.
img_6224
Still shape shifting the collage.
img_6239
Decided to add lines.  It’s going to take some time, but I’m happy with it so far.
img_6264
Potomac River Basin in progress.
img_6262
More shifting, more color, more lines.  Nowhere near completion.

 

 

 

 

Great News

So excited that my art made it into another water show.  This will be my second water – themed exhibit and I couldn’t be more happier.  We all have a connection to water and it’s important that galleries and curators choose themes such as this to highlight important issues.  People always come into my studio and ask,” Why water?”  It’s a great question, and one that can be answered a million different ways.  For me, I feel that my art brings together two very simple issues.  How humans have developed civilizations next to water bodies and how we connect to them.  I didn’t always put objects or something recognizable in my artwork, but I do now.  I choose rivers, mostly, because they are abstract to us.  We don’t necessarily see what they look like from above, or the shape of them.  Most of the time, we see the piece of the river that is right next to us.  I like to look from a different view point, above, away. To capture more of the river, to capture the shape that most maps capture. Only then can we see it wind, twist, turn and become other water bodies, such as tributaries, creeks, and runs.

To see the next group show called H2O Waterworks, come to Alexandria Virginia to the Del Ray Artisan’s Gallery. I’m sure it’s going to be a great show.  It goes up November 4th!

Here is a link to the show and you can also check my current schedule for more details.

img_7669
Congo, 36″ x 12″, mixed media
img_7846
Zambezi (2016), 12″x36″, mixed media

 

New ideas

I’ve been playing around with some new ideas, and I think I’m liking it.  One of the benefits of having this studio and time out in the community at P22 is that I get to practice art.  Right?  I mean if you want to be good at something, you have to keep practicing, exploring and experimenting.  It’s just like anything else.  If I wanted to be better at guitar, or volleyball or cooking– I would practice.  Art is something that takes practice too.  There is a misconception that people just wake up as artists one day and they go paint a portrait, or draw a landscape. Very few people could actually do that , most artists practice everyday.  Yes, there are some people who have more of a predisposition to make art, but there are people with a predisposition who like to study engineering or cells.  All of us can take time to find out what we’re good at, but to practice takes passion.  Passion allows you to reach for something else.  To push yourself to uncharted territory.  Not someone else’s territory, but your own.  It’s your own journey, your own way to find out what you want to practice.  Now I get to be on that journey, and you’re welcome to come with me.

Yesterday I was at Palette 22, and here is a little bit of what I worked on:

IMG_4364.JPG
Working on wood with thread.
IMG_4260.JPG
Drawing maps on paper vellum and folding them.
IMG_4258.JPG
Building up layers on new small topographic studies paintings.

Summer time in the Studio

It’s my first week in my studio since I don’t know when.  It’s allowed me to work on a lot of projects that have been pushed to the side or stuck in my head.  This week I’ve already made some movement on some large paintings that should have been completed months ago, but I guess that’s all a part of the process.

It’s been great having so much studio time to do work and it has actually allowed me time to reflect on what I do, why I do it, and how I think it’s relevant.  Those are important questions to be asked of any artist.  The third question has been more important to me than many of the other questions, because it’s something that I feel is a struggle for me.  How is my art relevant?  Sure, it’s relevant to me, but how does it reach out to the general public or others I’d like to connect with.

In the next year, I’m going to explore that question.  I have ideas for my solo show in May at the Workhouse, but I’m not ready to give out that idea or talk about it yet.  All I know is that my theme for this show will be relevant, it will have something to say, there will be maps, and there will be cranes.

In the meantime, if you want a chance to come by and visit me, I will not be at the studio tomorrow.  I will resume my regular hours next week.  I will be at Palette 22 this Sunday from 10am -2pm doing some live painting!  I would love to see you there!

In the meantime here is a little glimpse of what I’ve been working on:

13615436_10153953815803743_6601700710606684387_n
Commissioned piece…color is done now. Working on the tributaries.
IMG_4249
The tributaries on this one are still wet, color will fade, but will leave some interesting texture and relief quality on the work.
IMG_4248
More little guys– just experimenting with more color.  A few people have noticed a green theme. And a blue theme.  I think it’s time to go bold.

Summer Schedule

So, it is summer! I know I’m a few days late, but I’ve finally been able to create a time when you can come see me in my studio!  I’m really excited about working there regularly throughout the season hope you’ll stop by.

Workhouse Arts Center, Building 6:

July 6 – July 22:  Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

August 3 -August 19: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

I will be there other times, as well, but you can always message me! I’ll be taking a summer holiday at the end of July, but then will return in August.  I will be there on some weekends, but those are yet to be determined.

Also, catch me on Tuesday, July 5,  from 12:00 – 4:00 pm at Palette 22, in Shirlington.  Watch me do some live painting and get yourself a cool drink!  I’ll also be there Sunday, July 10, from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm for brunch.

 

Making art in public

For so long I’ve been used to making art in the comfort of my own home. This year I’ve been offered the opportunity to take my art public.  It can be a bit daunting.  I’ve always thought it’s been important to make are for oneself, but I never really considered art for the masses.  Even in college, the studio setting was a little stressful. It can seem like you’re always on.

I don’t have the feeling this time.  I thought that making art in public would have been a stressful task.  However, these past few weeks as an “art performer” has been a great lesson for me.  I enjoy connecting with the crowd.  The energy that runs through the restaurant is fueling my work right now.  I can feel the pace change through the evening, bustling servers, the diners wading in and out, the variety of music blasting through the speakers.  It’s a vibrant place.

This week I decided to work on preparations of my paintings.  I took out some miniature blocks and worked on a smaller painting.  I’m actually pleased with what I accomplished in the four hours I spent.

So– if you missed me on Tuesday, I’ll be back this Sunday at Palette 22 for Brunch, 11-3 pm.  Hope to see you there! Who knows where the energy will take me that day?

IMG_3964.JPG
My set up for the evening.
IMG_3965.jpg
I’m really feeling the red washes.
IMG_3967.JPG
New “little guys” prep.
IMG_3963.JPG
There’s one up there on the left!

On view

I’ve been shifting around some art at the Workhouse today.  I didn’t have much time to work on things, but I have been given some space to showcase some work that I had done previously.  If you stop by you can see a few pieces right when you walk in to Block 6.  I also have a few more pieces down the hall!

In other news, I’m working on some applications for some residencies and fellowships.  Also, if you’re in the area tomorrow, I’ll be at Palette 22 tomorrow working on some things.  Stop by if you can, 5-9 pm.

Happy Monday!

13403146_10153882596373743_5912408328109518688_o.jpg13403742_10153882599453743_3105898742083690748_o.jpg13323646_10153882605668743_4183441973379916920_o.jpg13350495_10153882608398743_3091751786379917581_o.jpg

Saturday Studio session

This weekend I spent the early part of my afternoon at Palette 22.  I had a really nice time working on some new paintings.  I started using my newspapers I brought back from India, and I’m making a few small guys while I’m an artist in residence at the restaurant.  It was fun meeting and talking with the people that stopped by and checked in to see what I was doing.  A few just wanted to see what I was up to, while others complimented me.  I really enjoyed the two elementary school students who came by to ask me what I was doing.  They had no idea what collage was, but seemed really interested.  Then I asked them what they thought I was working on, and one said,” An elephant?”.  I said, ” I can see how you would guess that.” I showed them that the collage was part of a map and that I liked to mix different techniques together.  I said,”  Do you think you would ever try that?”  One said,” I didn’t know you were allowed.”

That is why I teach, folks.

It’s been a great chance to mingle with the community, unexpected conversations from all people today.

Here’s a peak at what I was working on:

 

IMG_3944.JPG
Netted Tributaries.  Above a woman dining.
IMG_3942.jpg
Newspaper, not maps, this time.
IMG_3939.jpg
More newspaper clipping from India.
IMG_3938.JPG
Two little guys directly across from me.

The red thread

A while ago I was going through an artistic slump, I had no direction. I felt suffocated in my job as well as my artistic practice.  Lucky for me, I decided to take a class to keep up my teaching certificate.  Who would have thought that this class would have such a direct impact on my life and the way I have created art for the past 4 years.

I met a man named Kurt Godwin.  He was a professor of painting for VCU.  He primarily taught multidisciplinary classes for art educators, but it was clear that he was truly a renaissance man.  The first meeting we had as a class was at his home.  Not many professors invite you to their house without meeting you before hand.  I knew then, that this class would be different for me.

It was exactly what I needed.  I had been going through the motions of making art, but felt stagnant in my pursuits.  Kurt helped me turn that around by talking with me weekly about where I was going, what I was doing. But not in passive or aggressive kind of way.  He wanted to get to know his students…and often he would use humor to get at that relationship.

To push people to think beyond their own ideas, or to help students get “unstuck” he said, he always said,” Why not add a little red?”  What? Most people would give him a strange look, most people would just balk at the idea.  Why red?

One day I was working– and struggling on a painting I actually despised.  I was overworking everything about it, and it seemed hopeless.  Kurt came over and said,” What about a little red line?” I looked at him, thought about it….and from there I just interpreted that red line in a variety of ways.  Was it really about the red?  What was it about this exchange that had a deeply profound effect on the work I was doing?

I think it was because of the way in which he just connected to me.  He wasn’t in charge of my painting, I was.  I could decide what fit, what to let in.  He was just offering a little suggestion of what could be.  Red, a symbolically charged color, coming from a compassionate teacher who wanted to help a struggling artist to see more than she thought of herself.

This weekend is an opening for an exhibit that honors his memory.  If you happen to be in Alexandria, please go!  I won’t be able to make it, because I am still in India.  However, one of my pieces will be there.  It is sure to be an amazing show, with people from all over the area coming to honor a man who helped me see the red thread…the connection between the artist and the work.

12733545_10209001330697540_6513962811188450814_n