writers life workshop at modified arts

I met Crista Cloutier in 2000 when the Hispanic Research Center  of ASU commissioned me to create a lithograph.  At the time, Crista was the director of Segura Publishing where I showed up everyday for one very productive and exciting week plus, to work with their crew and with master printer Joe Segura.  She also directed their gallery. I admired her  ease and professionalism.

Crista, actively involved in the contemporary art world throughout her career, is also internationally recognized as a writer, curator, and artist. She’s collaborated in the creation of artwork with some of the most significant artists working today. Much of the work exists in major collections throughout the US.

In the last few years I’ve connected with Crista via Facebook because today she moves between England, France, and the U.S and contributes to publications such as Huffington Post, The Guardian UK, and You Magazine.

…and guess what…Crista will be at Modified Arts, just after the new year. She’ll be teaching The Writer’s Life Workshop.


The Writer’s Life is a two-day workshop for both established and aspiring writers. This unique class will help participants find their voice, hone their craft, and create meaning in their life and work. Students will learn how to connect to their imagination as well as identify personal vision and attain their professional writing goals.

If you like to write, and you’ve been looking to:

  • Identify your purpose and motives as a writer
  • Create professional goals and find the steps necessary to achieve them
  • Commit yourself to writing as an artistic practice
  • Understand the remarkable power of your muse and engage more deeply with your imagination
  • Learn to melt creative blocks

…then the workshop is for you!

Who: Crista Cloutier

What: The Writer’s Life Workshop

When: Tuesday & Thursday, January 4th & 6th, 2011
from 7:00-9:30 PM each night

Contact: Kim Larkin
Modified Arts
kim@modifiedarts.org
602-462-5516

Where: Modified Arts
407 E. Roosevelt
Phoenix, AZ 85004

*Discount registration if you sign up by January 1st or bring a friend!

Learn more about Crista and her workshop…
www.cristacrista.com
www.theworkingartist.info

sketching, maybe drawing

Kurt, an under grad professor, gave me a love for the sketch, the drawing and the print. He suggested very early on, that I carry with me at all times…small ripped paper and a pencil. If  time allows, he said, maybe while I wait for an appointment, maybe while I watch the tube, draw. Just draw, he said.

I do.

Sometimes the sketch becomes itself a small completed piece. Other times, it leads to something new: a mark, a shape, a color, a background, a new print.

These images below, finished, are small 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ drawings and parts of them feed into some new large work, on canvas.

Stay realistic? Go abstract?  Both.

Small ripped BFK paper, gesso, graphite, Prisma, casein. Blending stumps are at the college. I smudge with a small, stiff, used up brush instead. Rough but interesting background finish.

I’m framing a few and they’ll show as process in  What Goes On and What Takes Place.

coming to be

New work. Completed on BFK Rag. The  28″ x 20″ mixed media on paper is sitting on my easel, waiting to get signed and titled.  No name for it yet. Part of new series “Creative Structure.”

Composition evolved from a larger work, a 6′ x 7′ canvas, that was much more monochromatic. Went from very large to moderately small. Unusual evolution for my pieces. Usually start very small on paper, to eventual moderately large on canvas.

Wanted to work with color and paint with various mediums: casein, gouache and egg tempera. Also wanted to mark make.  Latter wish comes from watching my students draw right now.  The whole process of teaching charcoal always comes into my studio work somehow, including working on paper and some dry, monochromatic element, in this case graphite.

Finished work appeared slowly,  September 18th to November 21st. Took many turns. Probably could have stopped several times and called it done. Though, really was looking for a certain quality, a sort of  alive composition, and depth. Steady thought, steady mark. Brush stroked color and fine line silver graphite.

Here is how it came to be. Complete.  Living with it a for a while before I name it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

what’s going on and what’s taking place…cont.

Sue, Carolyn and I drive out to Mary’s house. Mary not only prepares a great meal for us, she also shares her work, her studio, and her art books.  I’m introduced to an artist I’d not heard of. Conversation is plentiful. We talk about all sorts of things, past and present. I learn something new about each of them, as well as discover something about myself. Too bad for you, I’m only sharing photos of our work here.

Everyone is asked to bring a small 2D drawing, photo, or reproduction of some sort. It’s to be representational of the larger work that will show at What Goes on and What Takes Place, during Art Detour. The 2D object serves two purposes. They’re a way to reconnect, share progress and continue planning. And they act as  jumping points to discuss another element of the exhibition. We’re each considering making a small print. They’ll be available individually or as a collective set of four, during the run of the exhibit. Right now, it appears the prints will be 6″ x 6″  images reproducing a portion of the large-scale artworks. It’s not written in stone, things can change.

Yesterday Mary and I enthusiastically discuss paper stock. If paper is not exciting to you, then my guess is it’s just another tedious choice…and well…too bad.  There are interesting facts about paper worthy of a discussion.

Here are  photos of what’s going on and some of what might take place….enjoy.

Below, I hold a small-scale, mixed media drawing showing the head portion of a life-size self-portrait I’m finalizing for the exhibit.

Mary Shindell holds in her hands, a small cut out maquette of one wing. Yes, one wing. Again, this is only a small piece of a large digital sculpture. Or is it an installation? What will she call it? We’ll wait and see.

Carolyn Lavender cradles in her hands, a reproduction of an owl’s head, one of the 200 animal heads that will grace her large graphite on canvas.

And Sue Chenoweth evenly holds a very small, but very exciting reproduction of the 40″ x 40″ mixed media work on paper, she’s completing.

We enjoy the similarities and the differences in the small pieces, as a grouping. They allow us insight into the whole exhibit, which we agree, is a great idea. The afternoon passes quickly. It works out for touching base, making a few decisions, and having fun. We leave with a parting gift from Mary. Better explained, she satisfies our lust…we want these little magnets she’s created. Mary generously gives them to us. She’ll have these available for purchase, at the exhibit.


Once again…here’s the scoop….

WHAT: WHAT GOES ON AND WHAT TAKES PLACE

WHERE: MODIFIED ARTS

WHEN: FEB 18TH – MARCH 12TH, ART DETOUR

WHO: MARY SHINDELL,  CAROLYN LAVENDER, SUE CHENOWETH, and MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

This exhibition is supported with a mini-grant for marketing through the Ted Decker Catalyst Fund.

Click Modified Arts to find links informing you about each of the artists, their studio and their work.

To visit artists web sites, click on their photo above.

notes on some current influencing visuals and ideas

Because upcoming exhibit What Goes on and What Takes Place (February), will include process, I’m pulling together a few influencing visuals. I am drawn to both text and figures.

Paintings by Romino Shrestha from The Tibetan Art of Healing.

Leonardo da Vinci’s, Vitruvian Man.
The Vitruvian Man is also known as Canon of Proportions, or Proportions of Man.

Vitruvian Man

Christ, the Redeemer, Brazil

The Christ figure.  And I connect to it the Aztec idea of the cross, signifying the point where the horizontal and vertical meet. The physical and the spiritual, man. Woman.

And contemporary artist Bailey Doogan. Ms. Doogan studies the female figure, the one she knows best, her own. The vibrant translucent quality of her painting and the raw darkness of her drawings is provocative.  Her composition has energetic use of materials to inform color (or lack of ), texture, size,  space and figure. I was introduced to both her and her work, while in grad school.  Eventually, after moving to Arizona, I would find myself invited to a group exhibit that included Ms. Doogan. I was fortunate then, to have a private though brief moment to speak with her about her work.

Self Exam In Nation, 2003

Words…text…that I am pulling from her artist statement.

About the body:
Our bodies are full of stories. They are detailed maps of our experiences. This corporeal topography of hair patterns, veins, scars, calluses, wrinkles and flesh (both smooth and crenulated) speak of a life lived.

About process and completion:
The work is never finished. I keep returning, reconsidering, changing.

About learning:
Because of the highly articulated physical presence that I have wanted in my work, over the past fifteen years I have had to reteach myself to paint and draw. That learning process is ongoing.

…notes…current stuff… influencing my days in studio….

a character’s character.

Took a break today. Only drew for the amusement of it. No clear end in mind.

Scrap of paper, pencils, markers, scissors, adhesives, and collage bits from a 1915 book titled Character, How to Strengthen It. Book’s always amused me. I use it carefully, as it slowly dissapears. I settle into drawing a profile. Text determines direction in this case. I don’t have much room to work with and I like the set up of a small portrait. Small portraiture… usually means I’m going to play with human thoughts/emotions.

Been thinking about Character. You know…that thing we develop as we age. And saw Alice in Wonderland this weekend, queens make an impression. A play of both word and image, is how this drawing pans out.

I prefer the simplicity of the start. Too late to go back. Rework. Tighten up composition.

Title comes with end result, A Character’s Character. On days like this…I think it might be fun to illustrate children’s books.

what goes on and what takes place…my turn

The artist Monica Aissa Martinez (that would be me…)

Awkward. Doing it anyway.

Materials
←In my hand is a jar of cadmium red dry pigment.  I’ve had it since grad school.  Good quality pigments go a long way. I mix dry pigment with egg yolk, and make my own egg tempera. I give the how to, plus a bit of history, both mine and its, in an early post. I write about my framer who once gave me a duck egg, and an ostrich egg (gag) to try out.  And I tell you about my other favorite medium, Casein, yes…the protein. For more about my choice materials click → a little egg, a little milk.

And even though I use paint, brushes and canvas, I identify myself as someone who draws.  It may have something to do with the fact that I never took a painting class. And I teach drawing. Or it may have to do with the fact that I use line, and connect the ends to make shapes. Then I fill in with more line. I wrote about this too → Notes on Drawing and Painting.

My other materials are drawing supplies…pencil color, artist crayon, graphite and large rolls of Arches paper, along with smooth sheets of BFK rag (drawing and printing paper).

The Studio

Well come in…

My messy bookshelf…I bought it at least 20 years ago, from an estate sale in El Paso, for all of $12.00.  It’s crossed 3 state borders, it holds books and special stuff. Best investment I ever made. Books…reading…influence my daily work.  I get an idea from an event: personal or social…react, research, paint. Curiosity. Why do we/people/society/I do the things we/I do?  Who? What? and Why?…read, write, draw…reread, rewrite, redraw. Realize.

Current reading material Rollo May’s, The Courage to Create. So I’m interested in creativity.  I do wonder if there is any originality anymore?  Does something mean anything?  Is anything sacred? The media would have you think not.  I beg to differ.

The Work
I’ve written about my current work as it presents itself, take a quick view if you’re inclined. If you’re not…no fret, see the work in its completed stage next February.

The idea presents itself.

It continues.

Grounding down.

More grounding.

The trunk.

If you did look…fyi…it’s all completely different now.  No, the whole design is not resolved. It’s being finessed. And retitled. I’ll hold that info for a later date.
One of the things that I do most of the time, is make more than one of everything. I work things just a bit different in each instance, I want to know my options before I commit. This is probably how one new work evolves into a series, in my case.

Back to What Goes On and What Takes Place. ↓

In some larger way this is all about where we stand as creative creatures (and/or destructive).  In this case, we choose to create for the good of all of us. The creativity is in the form of a visual, an evolving idea, community, slow but steady progress, a process, a give and take that’s natural, mutually respectful, and consists of continual interaction. Given the political culture these days, I’m sure there’s a societal lesson in here somewhere.

4 different woman…

Mary, who works with our dessert landscape, organic matter, and new media.  →Myself, who draws and paints the human figure with egg and milk. →Carolyn, who connects to (and connects us to) animals thru her graphite.  And →Sue, who takes all these subjects and more, and freely and deliberately abstracts them

…step out of their comfort zone, to work and share, and create a new experience for themselves and for you, the audience.

WHAT: WHAT GOES ON AND WHAT TAKES PLACE

WHERE: MODIFIED ARTS

WHEN: FEB 18TH – MARCH 12TH, ART DETOUR

WHO: CAROLYN LAVENDER, MARY SHINDELL, SUE CHENOWETH, MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

We’ll continue to share process and progress here, as it feels right to do so.

I don’t want to forget the various other creative forcesinvolved: →Kim Larkin and →Adam Murray, who offer the exhibition venue, →Modified.
And The →Ted Decker Catalyst Fund. The Catalyst Fund will support documentation and marketing materials. (Take a moment to click on the link, and look at the faces of all variety of creative people the fund has supported.)

To see a quick listing of the all the posts connected to this exhibit, go to → Modified’ upcoming exhibition page.

You can catch more of my work…
Now, at the Mesa Art Center, The Store (prints).

August, An Invitational group exhibition titled, →Converging Trajectories: Crossing Borders to Build Bridges, curator: Ted G. Decker.
Fall 2010, a solo titled, Works. Central Arizona College, in the Visual Arts Gallery.

↓if you missed them, continue on to the previous 3 posts…to see each artists studio, materials and workings↓ or click on their names above↑

what goes on and what takes place, the fourth artist

The artist Sue Chenoweth

Sue introduced herself to me years ago, at an opening. She came in early, shook my hand, and delivered thoughtful commentary about my work. Generous. I knew who she was because people had pointed out her work to me.

I connect to her use of color, the way she fills (2D) space, her use of line, her media and recognizable abstractions. I especially appreciate a quality of freedom she represents. This freedom of composition is uniquely Sue’s.

Right Now
Sue’s work is currently filling up space at SMoCA. The exhibition runs through September. It’s an innovative concept which has her art hanging alongside some of the museums permanent works, in an installation titled, Spyhopping: Adventure with Sue Chenoweth. Intelligent and fun, stimulating to eyes and mind.

Skyhopping Exhibit

Skyhopping Exhibit

The Exhibition / What Goes On and What Takes Place
Sue brings lots of energy to our project. Natural, honest, active and reactive. If she doesn’t know what to do…she says so. When an idea comes forth, she shares it enthusiastically.  I wonder if she might paint this way too. I respect her nature…creative, and in the moment.  She has plenty of ideas for the upcoming Art Detour weekend, and how we might interact with Modified visitors.

When she’s not making art, she’s teaching at Metro Arts, or at Phoenix College. She’s in the middle of moving, when the four of us meet for dinner, to discuss working together.

Not unlike the rest of us, she has a home studio. I love it here, she says.  I must  have my studio at home because I work in little spurts… all day long.  5 minutes here…half hour there… I keep it going all the time, that way I get things finished and have an ongoing  relationship with the work.  It Becomes my days.

I feel the same way. I wonder about Carolyn and Mary.  There are pros and cons to having a home studio.

…some photos of her variety of materials and her new studio space.

I ask about the doll house. The doll houses were in an installation called ‘Hold your Cards’ I had at eye lounge a long time ago.  I ordered them off e-bay.  It is funny how I coveted a metal dollhouse like the one I had as a kid and then got a BUNCH of them.

Both Sue and Carolyn were present at the start of eye lounge. She says of the experience, I was not in the very first show, but became a member when they moved into the Roosevelt space.  I was a member with all the original members though.  It was a great group.  I feel honored to be a part of the beginning. I had the very first show in the new building.  I don’t think there was anyone in the east gallery.

At our meetings, Sue expresses she has no idea what she’ll be doing for the exhibit. I jot her words into the upper right hand corner of my paperwork. Unknown to me, Mary photographs the notes. The photo amuses me. Why did this strike me  as something to capture? Because truly, this is the artists dilemma, we don’t know, until we do…know. It’s also the human dilemma.

I imagine Sue will wait to begin working, because some pressure appeals to her. Consequently I don’t expect to get an image of a work in progress anytime soon. But I do!

I have NO IDEA what this painting will be. I just know it is the start of a new series, but also closely relating and advancing on the last Spyhopping series of paintings. I never ever show this early stage of a painting so this is a rare glimpse into the underpinnings of my work.

…one more thing about each of us…we’ve chosen to document our process and make it a part of the exhibition…though we wouldn’t normally do this…rare glimpse sounds about right.

New Work

She continues…I try to make each layer just as good as the last, so as one peers into a work, it works all the way through. This one is a bit rough yet. No under painting. Landscape that is real but not real. Fragments of life and process showing what it is like to live in our world.

 

close up detail

I ask about her materials. She answers quick… All gouache on paper SO FAR.
Working title? I have no title yet. Size? This is just a starting place. The overall painting (on paper) will be 48″ x 50″.

…I only get starting places to begin…. I have been affected by the oil spill but do not want to make paintings about drippy birds etc. I know the oil spill is the beginning. I am looking at artists Neo Rauch and Thomas Hart Benton. Regionalism and in a way Hieratic scale with Benton..Maybe that is the wrong word to use, but it fits for me. I am also looking at the mosaics of Ravena which I often refer back to them. I like the way color shifts in the mosaics. I am trying to paint like that in places in my painting. There is another fresco that I find interesting and that is at the Basilica S.M. Novella in Florence Italy. Called the ‘Allegory of the Church’ the details of ‘Vices and other sins.” Love the way the different scenes are partitioned off so it looks a bit like a doll house.

While I’m completing this post I receive an email from Sue….For the show I  think I am going to make vacuum formed mountains like model railroad mountains but about 19 inches tall.  Some way smaller.  They would sit on the ground as if they are peeking out of the sea.
Another email follows shortly...It is just an idea.  I have to see where I can have these made and IF I can have them made. I am so so glad that we have until Feb to finish the work.

It’s all just an idea;thought takes on form, and becomes experience. Interaction follows. It’s what art making is all about.

We hope through the documenting and sharing of our individual process, you get a sense of all that may be involved in art making. Creating the whole exhibit, is a collaborative project.  Exhibitions will overlap, work succeeds, work fails, visits to the art store, the frame shop (me), the printer (Mary), the mountain maker (Sue)… Life keeps getting lived, gardens get tended (Carolyn), studios get dirty and cleaned, photographs get taken, discussions keep being had, agreements, maybe disagreements, thinking, rethinking, writing, sketching, working and reworking, details come and go…

This is an idea in motion, generated by four women artists.

WHAT: WHAT GOES ON AND WHAT TAKES PLACE

WHERE: MODIFIED ARTS

WHEN: FEB 18TH – MARCH 12TH, ART DETOUR

WHO: CAROLYN LAVENDER, MARY SHINDELL, SUE CHENOWETH, MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

I’ll sum this up next time.  I hope to include my work in the mix. Come back.

Click here to visit Sue’s website.
Read the New Times review of  Spyhopping: Adventures with Sue Chenoweth” at SMoCA Proves Life Is Just a Game

*Sue Chenoweth will be giving a Hands-On  Workshop at SMoCA, on July 1st.  For more info check their website.

Modified Arts.Org

 

what goes on and what takes place…an artist revealed

The artist Carolyn Lavender

At the conception of this collaborative project, two artist are clearly in mind.  Carolyn Lavender is the first artist I meet and speak with.  I’ve admired Carolyn’s art work for a long time. She’s one of Eye Lounge‘s  founding members. We met last October, when her work The Woods, was up at Modified. In fact, it had just come down. It was in her car. She brought it out so I could look at it. We took it into eye lounge and then proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon talking…about the work, art, drawing, teaching…politics, religion…stuff. Carolyn’s direct, she’s intelligent and open, and had plenty to say. Shortly there-after, she invited me to her studio. I assumed it would be a quick visit but again, we spend the entire afternoon talking about her art and art making. She’s generous and patient with my curiosity.

The Studio Upon arriving, I walk through her National Wildlife certified wildlife habitat (did i write that right?) front yard. She’s in a regular city neighborhood and her yard is a declared wildlife habitat. Cool! As I move through the garden, I observe the attention to detail. Unstructured structure, abundant variety, beautiful,desert…fun. Unusual in this area. I meet her cats and her dog.

I enter the studio… I’m going to skip the part about the first art work I see…I’ll get back to it later …
A slow 180 degree turn, to take it in. Then another.

Flashback: To a few years back: I’d love an exhibition opportunity with [some specific] artists I haven’t shown with. Lavender.
Flashback, but come more forward: In her studio, hearing about her process and looking at her stuff, the work… I want to work with this artist.
Flashback: To various points in time, I’m waiting, for an invitation to exhibit with specific artists (here in the valley). It’s bound to come. Curator? Gallery Director? Waiting…waiting….patiently waiting…
Flash forward: To one afternoon when I have lunch with Ted Decker. I share my thoughts with him. He says something like, Why are you waiting? Do it! Create the exhibit…all of you. Call them.

Flash: Call, I do. Carolyn agrees to participate and to help make it happen. She’s the one who will eventually contact Modified Arts and propose our idea.

back to The Studio I’ve said this before, an artist studio is sacred space. I don’t take the opportunity to visit one for granted. I’m fascinated by the variety of objects that surround us. Her shelves remind me of carefully laid out still life’s. A scientist laboratory comes to mind, as do Joseph Cornell’s boxes. Eventually she brings out her personal journals and bags of collage cut outs (photo below), the bits and pieces…of her process. It’s private, it’s her own, it’s magic and as fascinating as the finished works.  She cuts out and files photos, magazines, invitation images…you name it.  These become reference for work and some go into journals. It’s this particular memory that will eventually bring the Process element, into the exhibition plan. She brings a journal to write in, and she doodles, at most every meeting we’ve had. Like her yard…I see this as unstructured structure.


The Work Entering her studio I first make (eye) contact with a tacked to the wall canvas that has on it a gridded composite of small, graphite rendered, animal heads. Hypnotizing.
We sit at her drawing table. I look at cut outs, they’re sort of hypnotizing too. I ask about the canvas, does it have a name?

She calls it Portrait. She says in a matter of fact manner, It will be a grid comprised of 200 4” portraits of animals, each of which is making eye contact with the viewer. (I noted that when I stood in front of it) In my mind they are the equivalent of human “head and shoulders” framed portraits. The drawing resembles yearbook photos, but of animals. When I decided on this piece I had, for years, been doing series of self-portraits. At one point I set animal heads on top of my portraits (image below). For me animals have an equal importance in the world and it seemed that this visual arrangement helped illustrate that. The animals were more interesting because they were paired with my images and my images were more interesting because they each had an animal head. Finishing her thought, she says “Portrait” is my attempt to draw attention to animals, in a piece that has only animals in it.

Untitled
Media: Gouache, Graphite, Acrylic on Rag Board
33″ x 22″

Untitled
Media: Gouache, Graphite, Acrylic on Rag Board.
33″ x 22″

Meticulous detail, is one quality that draws me into Lavender’s work. Is that graphite? 4B? 6B? The line work is so clean. I am using 2H and F [graphite pencils]. I’m surprised. I am able to get darks because the graphite reacts differently to the modeling paste/gel medium ground. I’m familiar with modeling paste, I use it, but not with pencil. I’m also struck by a sense, or connection to time, the marking of it, the passing of it. As I look, I wonder out loud, How long will it take to complete Portrait? I complete one head per day. I’m not surprised, I say to her. You’re not? Oh good, I think I’m slow.

I teach drawing, carefully observing and carefully rendering, requires time. The work, each head, is striking. 200…! Two Hundred brilliantly rendered animal heads.

 

Detail of 'Portrait'

Speaking of time, Portrait already has a story and it’s not even complete.

Carolyn tells me that Portrait was conceived of, and started, in 2006. I have never started and set aside a piece of art the way I have this one. I started it in my Tempe studio, but then I drove it to Illinois, planning to finish it during a 2-month residency. But I could not draw fast enough to complete it for the residency. Eventually she returns to AZ and moves out of her (Tempe) studio. She then doesn’t have a wall large enough to pin it to. In the meantime she builds her studio. It wasn’t until May 2009 that I decided to finish it for the October show (at Modified, when I meet her). But after a few months of working it was clear that I would not finish in time. So “Portrait” may be the most satisfying piece to finish that I have ever done.

The Showing I’m jazzed to announce Portrait will make its much awaited debut, in our collaborative exhibition…

WHAT: WHAT GOES ON AND WHAT TAKES PLACE

WHERE: MODIFIED ARTS

WHEN: FEB 18TH -MARCH 12TH ART DETOUR

WHO: CAROLYN LAVENDER, MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ, 2 others.

The working plan for all of us, is to show one large major work, and smaller supporting works, that led to it either  in content or form. You’ll see a few of Carolyn’s self portraits, as supporting works for the larger piece.  Many details have yet to be made.
Yesterday, as we talk about things, we come to the conclusion that our exhibition is a project. A Collaborative Project. We move along.

Stay tuned. Anther artist coming soon!

Click here for  Carolyn Lavender’s Work, Bio, and Resume

You can see one of Carolyn’s drawings, at a group exhibit, this month, May 7th – 21st. 21 Days: Group Drawing Show, now at Pravus Gallery, in downtown Phoenix.

a hubcap for sam

A Studebaker hub cap arrives UPS to my studio, from Meadowland, Minnesota. Sam placed the order himself. Unbeknownst to him, the hubcap is his birthday present.

Greg and Veronica commission a painted and personalized hubcap for Sam.  Commission, good in that I generally do something I wouldn’t otherwise do. Out of my comfort zone. New challenge. Problems arise. Solutions follow.

Once upon a time, I painted my first hubcap  (9-11/08 You Rock!). Didn’t necessarily like the experience, but I liked end result. The exhibition, at the Mesa Arts Center, very hip. Artists created cool and thoughtful designs.

This second round of hubcap painting, a good time from the start. Feeling open. I research a few choice subjects, learn some interesting things I’ll be considering to use. I start to paint. Two challenges. One, design of the hubcap itself, space is compartmentalized in a way that doesn’t suit my original idea. Enter in…a new idea.
Two, painting on metal…bleh.  It doesn’t f-e-e-l good. A hubcap is a hard, unforgiving, and an easy to damage surface. Not like a beautiful smooth sheet of BFK or Arches paper or heavy-duty, giving to the touch, pristine canvas. Sand and prime, sand and prime.

The Studebaker emblem, in the center…it’s supposed to be an ‘S’ but it looks more like a  ~ (…squiggle) to me. I know what to do with it.
Why a Studebaker hubcap? Let me tell you about Sam…

Indeed, Sam has a Studebaker. Sam has several cars. And a Harley Davidson bike.  He’s designed for himself, one beautiful garage. He spends time in that space. Check out the striking black and white floor tile, it’ll appear in the final hubcap design.

I meet Sam and Francene, over spring break, up in Northern Arizona. The information gathering begins quickly.
I learn Sam is born in Missouri, and now lives in Arizona, with his wife, Francene. Francene is in on the surprise. She shares how they meet. I decide, after her account, the relationship has to be Kismet. The circular center S/~ (…. squiggle) on the hubcap will become a yin/yang, symbolizing a balance of female and male energy. It’s what I see between them, strong balance.

Sam’s a retired Engineer (Aviation?…maybe.  Aerospace?…maybe.). We have dinner at La Posada, in Winslow Az (yes…we do sing The Eagles song while arriving there). He talks about building Apache helicopters. An unusual conversation, in an off the beaten path location, with an extra-ordinary man, good company, spirited waiters, and excellent food. Told you this was fun. I learn Sam can build just about anything. And he’s green! Veronica enthusiastically says. Meaning…he’s conscientious and recycles. The shelving for his garage comes from the close out sale, of a CVS. I like Sam. He’s creative. Engineers usually are. I get the sense that he enjoys learning and maybe even teaching his skills. He appreciates history. While walking the restaurant grounds, he tells me about  Mary Jane Colter, the early American architect, who created the landmark building we’re walking through. He talks about her as though he knows her. I’m impressed. He’s kind and generous, and has a precision about him. I learn from friends he faithful, loyal and LOVES Dos Equis beer. When I hear the latter, I know the emblem will appear in the hubcap design.

His favorite animal, at the moment, is the mountain lion, hence the paw designs on either side of the hubcap.  He describes the animal as strong, elusive and vulnerable. Purple, he tells Veronica (cuz she asks), is his current favorite color. He describes it as regal, stoic and compatible. These descriptive words say something about him. They’re the last design element to go into the circular composition. I paint the outer edge of the rim a deep purple, with a copper metallic wash, and I place in the text.

Overall, I get the sense that Sam is an intelligent and thoughtful man. He’s comfortable in blue jeans, a cowboy hat and boots. I want to put his distinct profile into the hubcap. The small areas don’t allow me enough room.  I do include a small frontal view portrait. Though my preference would be, that it appear larger. Design is resolved. It’s balanced, measured out, and clear.

I realize only now as I write, Sam is a Taurus. An earth sign. Fixed fire. No wonder he felt so familiar to me.  Both my husband and my dad are Bulls….persevering, down-to-earth, stable, stubborn, possessive, prosperous, dependable, and physical. Now I see why I instinctively put that copper wash atop the purple. Copper is the Bull’s metal.

Both Sam and Francene have interesting histories they openly share. This circle of life…is sure to continue.
Happy Birthday Sam.  And many more!

wanted for messing with charcoal and pastel

The semester is unusual in that I only have 4 female students in the class.  What’s more unusual, none of them are present at the start of critique, this week. Eventually one of the women does show up. Better late than never.
In the meantime, we have fun with the class photo.  We create a line up. The only thing these men are guilty of, is drawing with charcoal and pastel.

Critique is good. Everyone appreciates the finished drawings….they’re strong compositions. We discuss the challenge of the material, that everyone experiences. We discuss the variety of the values, and the surface of the drawing. We talk about how realistic something appears in terms of the cloth, and we talk about space, layers, and edges.
I’ve discussed this assignment before (11/30.2009). We’re in the midst of working with value. It’s the first real charcoal drawing many of the Drawing 1 students have ever worked on (keep this in mind when you see their work below). One advanced student works in color, with pastels. They complete a value scale right before starting the still life. They know by the time the value scale is finished , elbow grease will be required, from this point forward. Also necessary and in development, is another form of patience.  It seems they just learned to control the marker, and now they have to let that go…because charcoal…has it’s own very unique challenges, in terms of trying to control it.  It goes everywhere.

I always notice the class, in general, becomes more quiet with the charcoal studies.

Davin and Misty


Max

Rachel

In all honesty, I find it very hard to be in the classroom teaching, on some days.  I want to be drawing too…that’s what watching the students learn this particular medium especially, does to me.

Warren

Kevin

Andrew

Arturo

 

Davin, Drawing 2

The end of semester is quickly approaching. One more drawing, and one more critique.

what goes on and what takes place/ the venue



A few weeks ago (April 11th), I wrote about collaborating on an art exhibit, with three other artists. Yesterday, the four of us met with Kim Larkin.  Modified Arts, will host the exhibition.

Modified is run by Kim Larkin and Adam Murry. Kim made the round of studio visits, and then agreed to meet with the group on Saturday afternoon. Adam stepped in to greet everyone, and then he was off.

About the space…it appeals to all of us. It’s open and well-lit.  It has cool sophistication and yet  it retains its original charm. It’s in downtown Phoenix. And it has lots of history.

We do talk a little bit about the history of Modified. And then Kim speaks about their vision as the new directors of the space. She’s grounded. Intelligent.  Clear. Flexible. I had these thoughts, when I spoke to her in my studio, and listening to her in this meeting, I am aware of them again.

She has a sense of integrity we all connect to. I especially like that we discuss the exhibition as a whole experience. Kim brings up the idea of a community component. This is in perfect alignment with our plan.  We’re in agreement about connecting with /interacting with/and pulling in the audience. We want to make the experience accessible and inclusive. Ideas tossed about: showing the creative process through photos, personal material (studio ephemera, studio debris), speakers, event/s, video, and music/sound. How this part evolves, you’ll have to wait and see, just like us.

There will be one large, main artwork from each of us. And a few smaller supporting works, that specifically accompany the larger work. Included is the showing of process, in a more personal manner, will be bits and pieces from each.

Kim mentions bringing fun into the equation. We agree…it’s present already, it will naturally be a part of the end result.
WHEN will all this fun peak? I am really pleased to say…next year, during Art Detour.  Feb 18th- March 12th.

We note to Kim that we plan to reveal the other 3 artists, one a time.  She’s good with this. But as I write this…I’m not so good with it. I want to tell you who the other artists are right now!  Another clue below…..can you guess?

Obviously…four women.  I hope soon to reveal one of the other artist.

We play around with shooting photos and then our afternoon meeting ends. I leave feeling the agreement to create this experience is respectful and beneficial, to each of us and our own individual process of working. Kim offers the gallery, Modified, and we offer our work. In the agreement there is plenty of freedom to really create. It’s the thing that is driving this show. EXCITING.
Win-win for all, including you, if you’re inclined.

WHAT: WHAT GOES ON AND WHAT TAKES PLACE

WHERE: MODIFIED ARTS

WHEN: FEB 18TH -MARCH 12TH ART DETOUR

WHO: 4 Women Artist. More to come soon.

Stay tuned!

more than a thought

Be conscious, because your thoughts are creative. Be quiet, because you are more than your thoughts. Be. Observe. You are That.

This is a mono-print, silkscreen. I don’t like doing mono-printing in general and I might not care for silkscreening either. For me, this process doesn’t allow the sort of control I want to have.  I don’t know what to do with it. I don’t like the inks. I don’t like the intensity, or the flat opaque nature of the colors. I don’t care for the materials.  And I dislike the clean up.

The image took all of 7 minutes to make. Maybe 6. I blocked out the word, laid in a few colors, pulled the squeegee.  And there appeared, just that quickly, this image, on my paper. For a process oriented person, it wasn’t so exciting. The clean up took over 20 minutes. I was soaking wet when it was all done. Was it worth it?

Sitting with it in my studio for a l-o-n-g time…I realize only this morning, what it’s all about. A meditation, like my yoga practice, like Zen, like life, a sudden clarity appeared. No one had to strike me on the head with a stick either…I got it.

I created it and all is good. Priceless.

rendering a torso-because i have to (formation cont.)

A sketch...

Working on my black gessoed canvas.  I stretched it yesterday and within minutes of starting, I take the prepped canvas off the bars, for ease in working. Right now, I’m calling this a sketch.

I had no plans to draw out a torso, but when last week, I completed the construction of the head and limbs of my new work, and I put it up on my studio wall to see it hang together…well…I was left with an empty center. Empty space in an area that in its complexity is full of important organs, and energetic systems? No way. The work needs a trunk. It requires a connecting center.

This time, that I paint internal organs, I’m concerned with the accuracy of shapes and their scale and proximity to each other. The area is dense. I need to approach this in a more realistic manner than I ever have before. I lay quick contour lines of the physical anatomy and naturally I start thinking about the energetic anatomy of each area. And for this reason especially, I am jazzed to do the work

I’ve not specifically mentioned, in all the writing about my new work, that at the ground of my studies and this piece, are the Chakras. I became interested in the Chakra system years ago, while in grad school.  There’s so much to the study that I’ll let you research the idea, if you’re inclined.  I’ll make simple connections here for quick reference.

To situate myself I place the clavicles. Below them I sketch in the heart, and the beautiful bronchioles that resemble a tree of life. I quickly edge in the diaphragm to close the space. It’s in this area where we hold love and hatred, resentments, self centeredness and loneliness.  It is also the space where commitment, forgiveness, and compassion reside.  Its tone is green for the most part, and a bit of pink.
I take yellow and with it place a recognizable liver beneath the indicated diaphragm, and I add a gall bladder. The lovely little bladder reminds me of a plant stem with a soon to ripen, flower or vegetable. I arrange the kidneys in their space and include the spleen.  Next, the stomach, I like to draw the stomach.  It’s a rounder, whimsical form, and has line work that I always exaggerate. The pancreas is in the same area, I don’t like the shape and so I only indicate it on the edges of the stomach. I move into the meandering small intestines. These organs are all associated with self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-respect. They relate to trust and fear. This energy effects responsibility and decision-making and resonates with integrity and self-discipline. It’s also a sort of storage space for strength, when it’s required. Important qualities to move into the world with.
With orange, I frame the small intestines with the large intestines and plug-in an appendix.  I set in the bladder, the vagina, ovaries and fallopian tubes. I prefer profiles of these organs, but in this case I have to draw it head on…not so visually appealing to me. These organs are connected to creativity, ethics, honor, and sex.
The ending of the large intestines, the rectum, I draw in red, it belongs to another energy system concerning safety and security, which I’ve already spoken about in earlier posts.

It’s complex in stuff, shapes and energetics. It becomes simple in colorful, straight on, line composition.

in the process...

As I sit with it all for a while, I start finishing areas a bit. I decide to lightly sketch in the thyroid and thymus glands cuz I like them.  And then I include the rib cage, it’s an important and defining structure and it connects me back to the clavicles. I like that I end in the area where I began. I’m done, for now. I call it a sketch at the start of the post, but maybe now…it’s become a close to completed drawing. I do like the  work off the bars, but I’ll probably re-stretch.

Again, I have to say I’m amazed with the incredible system we call our body.  I am impressed with all that it holds for us, and all that we hold in it.

becomes...a Drawing

To be Continued…..

steady now, creativity in motion

Nothing about the creative process is black and white….just as in life, there are variables that affect outflow and outcome.

Yesterday I stretched two pieces of canvas. One I primed with white gesso, and the other with black gesso.  I don’t know exactly what will go on each canvas, but I have a general idea. I don’t really work off of very developed sketches all the time. Most often, I have an idea and I progress with materials that are flexible and continue to move for a while. I correct, alter, and solidify, as I go along. Things are never really permanent until the very end, if even at that point. It’s not easy working this way, but its the way that is most successful for me.

Right now, I have a clear sense of the unknown, and I am in sync with that. I have a blank canvas…in this case…two blank canvases. I also have plenty of experience, materials, and skills that will come with me as I move thru these new compositions. Consequently, I feel a sense of regeneration. One of the canvases you see here will be the center (the guts… literally)  of a larger composition.  The other, will be a supporting element, that stands alone, to express progress. At this moment, I am at ease with what comes natural and easy, but also with the struggle.


Get on your mark, get set…stop! Get on your mark, get set…oops. Get on your mark, get set…oh shit! Get on your mark, get set….GO!
Steady now, creativity in motion…  I trust the flow.