Empty Studio

New things must be coming in the studio, because it’s pretty empty right now.  I actually can’t stand the sight of it.  However, it just means that most of my current work is out in the real world getting looked at, and that is so gratifying.  I make all of these things in the comfort control room that is my studio. I am making it mostly for myself, to challenge my ideas, to see if I can make something from nothing, to carry out an idea on a theme.  Now, I’ve allowed it to leave my little bubble and be out among all the other viewers, purveyors of art.  I’m excited for these opportunities, and of course it’s great to have shows and exhibits to get a feel for how one’s work is perceived.  Next week, I’ll have the opportunity to go to that exhibit, talk a little about why and how I made those pieces and field questions about what people get out of what they’re looking at.  It’s scary and wonderful all at the same time.

But in the meantime, I haven’t had much time inside the studio this week. Between being back at my day job and dropping of my work for the exhibit, there has been very little time for making.  Next week, should balance out and I’ll be back in, completing some pieces and taking the leap to start another series (I hope).  The empty studio makes me think about possibilities!

But here are a few shots of this week, just to give you some perspective:

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New Threads hang off the edge of a piece.  Almost complete.
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Threads and floor.
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Time to fill the wall again!
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New piece, ready to be shown! (Ohio, Mississippi confluence)
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Where I unpacked all my pieces for a beautiful space in Falls Church, can’t wait to visit my pieces next week.
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Unpacking started, the big one (A Confluence) is rolled up on the floor.
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Picked up the painting in this exhibition catalogue this week.  What a great opportunity to be a part of the Maryland Regional Juried Art Exhibition.
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A new piece, and maybe a new series.  This one is being donated to the Workhouse. Hope to explore this more in 2017.

New work

I finally started working on a series of new pieces on wood. I’m really liking the random textures I’m getting from the sealed and unsealed pieces.  I have never worked with wood before (I know, shocker.), but I’m trying to experiment with the grain.  I like how it creates a pattern and is already there before I even paint.  Some of the pieces have been sealed before, so the paint lays differently on the surface. Other ones I’ve left heavier brush marks of left the wood untouched so the color seeps into the porous surface. I’m liking the different reactions I’m getting.

I decided to choose 20 major rivers around the world.  I also decided to draw the river from the mouth (the end point).  It’s really interesting to follow these lengthy rivers on a map to find out where the origin is, and how most of these rivers run along borders of neighboring countries.  Almost all of these rivers actually run through several countries, making them hugely important to many cultures who build lives along the banks of these water bodies.  I think it’s one of the reasons why I choose rivers.  All civilizations start along water bodies, cultures grow up alongside of these important places and create their own systems of living.  Even though I’ve lived in many different places, I’ve always lived very close to rivers. Sometimes even blocks away.  There is something rich and interesting about waterways.  Symbolic and purposeful.

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Textures, washes, shades.

 

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Blue and green left behind on the edges.  Separating colors.
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Still soupy and wet, will be adding more layers.
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Grain and green.
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Adding in some maps for my version of the Zambezi.

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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:

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Working on wood with thread.
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Drawing maps on paper vellum and folding them.
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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:

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Commissioned piece…color is done now. Working on the tributaries.
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The tributaries on this one are still wet, color will fade, but will leave some interesting texture and relief quality on the work.
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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.

Where did the week go?

It’s Friday tomorrow and I realize I only spent a few hours in the studio this week.  So sad, really.  There will be a time when I will be able to be there regularly.  This week I managed to start on a new painting.  This will be the first larger one I’ve started since I’ve been back from in fact.  It’s a river in Chennai!

Oh, by the way, I’ll be at Palette 22 on Saturday from 12- 4 pm!  Come visit if you can!

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As I was leaving Tuesday, I saw the ominous clouds building over the studios.  But it was beautiful.
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I managed a little more after this. 

New Studio

Hi all! I finally have my space.  I’m still putting it all together,but I hope to have it almost there by the end of the week.  Can’t wait to welcome you all there.  Look for me at the Workhouse Art Center in Lorton, Virginia – Block 6!

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I know, it still looks a little prison-y right now.