no woman is an island

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


… It MUST be MINE. Let’s talk before you even think of selling it to anybody else… I am calling dibs!

Oh oh.

I tell Dominique the work sells shortly after I post it. This is the truth. I don’t say it was to David, her husband.

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I paint the snail for an invitational art exhibit last August (2014). I deliver the small mixed media painting on panel, to the gallery. The next day I post the image into my blog. David contacts me right away.

This has Dominique written all over it! He purchases the work and asks me to hold on to it.

The coming Friday I arrive to the opening with a new artwork in tow. I take this one off the wall and replace it with another small animal study.

Last month David invites a few friends to dinner, including my husband and I. He asks that I wrap the gift in butcher paper and bring it along. I don’t know of his plans to hang it on the wall and tell Dominique it will hang there till her birthday a good month away.

I don’t know Dominique to be patient. She insists she knows what it is. Dave doesn’t react. Me – I think about time crawling at a snail’s pace (wie eine Schnecke kriechen)!

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From fib to February – fun. Happy Birthday to you Dominique! David, you’re a good man.

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Schnecke

Thank you!
And, I appreciate the drawing on the envelope too.


The blog posts titled No Woman is an Island acknowledge the people and/or organizations who support me and the work I do.

negative space

Ma is a Japanese word which roughly translates to gap, space, pause or the space between two structural parts. 


IMG_7247This assignment asks the student to focus on the negative space, the space that surrounds an object (or the subject), the space in between things. I point out, in the still life, the area which they will be focusing on. It’s sort of the opposite of how we normally see, I explain. In the process, should you find yourself drawing the positive space (the foliage, in this case) simply stop, refocus and continue. We are training the brain to work a little differently.

Once they understand what they are doing, they have so much more to see and respond to. Negative space helps to define the boundaries of positive space and brings balance to a composition.  It also gives the eye a place to rest.

All of the drawings are strong graphic compositions. The contrast allows for a particularly type of delicacy and boldness to take place at the same time. In general the class enjoys the study. In some cases students are so immersed in the work, I have to remind them to take a break.

There is something great about teaching this particular assignment because as soon as the students grasp the concept, they quickly begin to use it and consequently experience things around them very differently.

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Anne’s Cactus Skeleton

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Trenary’s Weeds and Clover

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Terry’s Poinsettia

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Adam’s Flowers

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Clay’s Leaves and Berries

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Heather’s Plants

Drawing 2 students work with color and have a little bit more freedom with how they approach the study.

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Susan’s Ironed Weed

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Cassidy’s Fall Leaves

 

myrmecology

I really knew I wanted to be Adam, because Adam was the first man. Ant I chose because, if there’s a nuclear explosion, the ants will survive.   - Adam Ant


Myrmecology: from the greek, myrmex is ant and logos is study. Early myrmecologists thought ant society to be an ideal form of society and sought to find solutions to human problems by studying them.  Their succes in thriving is attributed to their social organization, ability to modify habits, tap resources and defend themselves.

IMG_7234The ant is the subject of this small mixed media panel. It feels unnatural to paint only one. Imagine that she is a worker ant searching for food whereupon finding it she returns to the colony to tell the other worker ants.

Last summer we had ants that found their way to the honey I keep on the table. I followed the trail that came in from a plug on the wall. Not good. All summer I tried to get rid of them. I understand now they communicate with pheromones, sound and touch. I’m wondering should they return, can I annoy them with vibration or odor of some sort.

The ants typically seen by humans are wingless females. They never reproduce. Among other things, their job includes foraging for food, caring for the queen’s offspring, working on the nest, and protecting the community. Ant colonies are headed by the queen, whose function in life is to lay thousands of eggs that will ensure the survival of the colony. Male ants have one main role—to mate with her. After they have performed this function, they die.

I do enjoy learning ants have muscles. Their legs are strong and allow them to run quickly. They are able to lift 20x their own body weight. Ants have 2 stomachs. one holds the food for itself, the other is to be shared with other ants. Crushed ants omits an ‘alarm’ pheromone (they also have ‘propaganda’ pheromones, to confuse enemy ants). An ant brain has about 250,000 brain cells – collectively a colony of 50,000 has the same brain cells as a human brain.

Surprisingly I find this everyday creature to be particularly enjoyable to study and detail. She’s pretty, I have to admit. And the idea of the colony, a queen and her army …intrigues.

Ants symbolize all good things coming with time and effort – working with diligence and with others to forge a life. I get those myrmecologists.

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no woman is an island

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Gluttony, MM on BFK, 18 1/2 x 12 1/2″

After a photo of my studio appeared on the cover of the NYT – and the State of the Art exhibition was first announced – I received emails from across the country. Coast to coast. It was exciting.

I had well wishers from different walks of life, including working artists all over the United States. I also received emails from people interested in purchasing art. I tried to respond to everyone but frankly it was so much work that it would have meant not making art for a good while.

It was at that time that I received an email from Anthony.  He sent well wishes and was considering buying  a work. I sent a link to my website, suggested he look through it and let me know if there was something he wanted more information about. This is basically what I said to most everyone. Anthony mentioned he lived in Arkansas and was a member of the Crystal Bridges Museum.

He quickly narrowed things down to 2 prints. And by the time the final list of artists came out he’d decided on this ↑ mixed media drawing (instead of the print) titled Gluttony.

Gluttony is the original drawing from a 2008 commissioned assignment by the University of Notre Dame. They (University Program for Latino Research and the Institute for Latino Studies) were organizing a health campaign targeting Latino communities. While a series of brightly colored posters were designed, my drawing was printed separately as a limited edition archival ink jet print. I signed and numbered them, and was given some.

I met Anthony at a lecture the weekend State of the Art opened. You can imagine how surprised I was to know he was sitting directly in front of me in the large audience gathered to hear curators Bacigalupi and Aligood lecture about the exhibit.  I took the opportunity to thank Anthony in person. He noted the real thing looked better than the photo – talking about the drawing. Yes, I agreed, it always does.

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State of the Art brought many opportunities. So good to meet you Anthony. Thanks again!


The blog posts titled No Woman is an Island acknowledge the people and/or organizations who support me and the work I do.

about the line – inner and outer contour study

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New semester. New group.  After the first day of drawing, one student notes the work is like meditating. It is, I respond. I organize my drawing class like I might organize a Yoga class, it’s an excellent observation.

I really, really want to get this, another student tells me. You will, have patience. But I want to get it now! I have to smile – You’re ambitious, I say.

A returning student tells me quietly, I am so glad to be back in your class. Life is so busy, I just want to slow down. Welcome back, you know you’re in the right place then Cassidy.

It takes this group 2 days (6 hours) to complete this first assignments in careful and slow observation of a complex – natural object. They are nervous to start working with marker As they get going, they do just fine.

Below are some examples of their completed drawing. A few of these students have never drawn before and a few are experienced. I won’t say who is who. I suspect it will be a very good semester.

Drawing 1↓

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Heather’s Pinecone

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Terry’s Bell Pepper

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Cory’s Citrus

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Julio’s Onion

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Andrea’s Citrus


Drawing 2 ↓

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Robert’s Pinecone

 

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Cassidy’s detail drawing of a Magnolia Seed Pod

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Charles’ Stem and Seeds

 

phoenix print studios

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I know Cindy Iverson from our short time at eye lounge. I visit with her over the weekend at Phoenix Print Studios, a new community space she is organizing with Jeryl Jones.  I arrive to their shop and find a quiet, bright, well-organized letterpress studio. The familiar smell of printing ink greets me as I walk through the front door.

I am curious to know about the community aspect of this endeavor. Cindy and Jeryl both talk. One starts a thought and the other one seems to complete it. I hear their enthusiasm as I listen and I see their commitment as my eyes move though the space.

People will come here to connect. It’s about the experience, Cindy says. They both  know art is made in solitude. But they understand the value of being with other creative people. This is a place where artists might think in isolation but work in community. It’s about collaboration. It’s about making.

The public is welcome  to come in and learn about print. They plan to have open houses, classes and free events. Cindy considers the power of the press, everyone has something to say!

We move through the facility. There are a variety of beautiful presses, some over 100 years old. Opening drawers I see rows of antique wood and metal type. I recognize materials and process because I studied printmaking, but I understand letterpress has its own unique arrangement.

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I appreciate the tactile nature of this art form. I love the history of the equipment. I love hearing how they collected it and how they bring it here. We discuss the art of letterpress and how it is different from current computer design. It is documentation, artifact, archive, something to hold, something to look back on.

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Platen Press

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In the foreground, one of the Vandercook Presses.

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inking area

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They run a print for me to explain the process, which is different from how I know printing.
I learn the term debossing which means to push the image below the level of the paper.

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inking the roller

 

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I ask them how they see themselves. Again they both respond – Designers. Printers. Makers. Artists.

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Phoenix Print Studio is here! Now!  Congratulations to Cindy Iverson and Jeryl Jones on this new community space.

You’re all welcome to organize a group, come, speak out and print!

no woman is an island

 

 

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my specimen – a hercules beetle

 

Gary Iverson wants to surprise his wife Cindy. We love your bugs, he says. I know Cindy from my days at eye lounge, she’s a fine artist. They saw my work at the Shemer Art Center last year, and that they still think about it is good to hear. Gary gives me a list of the bugs he is considering and in that mix, is the Hercules Beetle. This one was at Shemer, I point it out. He’s almost certain it’s her favorite.

None the less he has a list of images he wants to see. I enjoy meeting Gary and like watching his excitement as he tries to figure things out. I know Gary and Cindy have a turtle named Elliot. I mention a recent tortoise anatomy study he might appreciate.  OK, my decision-making is becoming increasingly more challenging the more I look, Gary notes. Can he bring Cindy to make the final selection? Of course!

He does narrow it down to the beetle and the tortoise and even with that Cindy can’t decide. I enjoy hearing the back and forth comments, though I offer to leave the room so they can speak in private. No need for that, they both agree. I tell a little about each painting and how it came to be. In that – I note the Hercules beetle is a rhinoceros beetle. This detail settles it for Cindy – right away!  A childhood memory impressed this beetle into her mind years ago. And here it is, it’s hers.

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Thanks Gary and Cindy! Enjoy the green bug from a copper mine in Superior, AZ.


The blog posts titled No Woman is an Island acknowledge the people and/or organizations who support me and the work I do.

It was great to reconnect with Cindy in person. I took an opportunity to visit her new community print studio. I’ll tell you more about that soon.