Thursday, April 30, 2020

Reading May Sarton

Picking this up again. It's been quite some time since I've tried to read it. For some reason, it's one of those books that I have multiple copies of.

I'm wanting to read Anne Truitt's Daybook. I know I have at least two copies of that as well. Alas, they are hiding at the moment even though I've torn the apartment apart twice looking for a single copy.

I feel as if I've gone astray in the reading department. I  keep picking up books from my shelves, seeking something to fall in love with, failing to do so and forcing myself to keep reading at least three quarters before I give up. It's not a lack of attention. It's not lack of choices. I'm seeking something. I just haven't found it yet...

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Floods, Tears and a Documentary for the Weekend

If you ever find yourself with a wet book, do NOT stand it up (I did so for my photos so I knew which books had been damaged. I should have waited, though.) Read this and see my photos below. We were very, very lucky to have had an order of paper towels arrive last week. We've also been in a heat wave (with no working AC) for a couple of days now. I am hoping that the intense heat helped but the damaged books are still wavy and curvy, so it's not looking good. I am very grateful that many of my books were in plastic bags (including my oversized art ones in giant ziploc bags until I can get gigantic archival bags for them!) 

There are piles of books everywhere as I move things around to dry and to keep them away from the still leaking AC unit. Living in a one bedroom with three adults and now even more piles of books on the floor can make for some challenging times for some. Thankfully, my son has been understanding as I invade his bedroom with piles of my books.

It's been very hot in our little apartment. So, I've mostly been laying low and reading James Elkins' Pictures and Tears. Have you read this? It contains several interesting anecdotes on people's reactions to seeing art in person. 

The stories that have stuck out the most to me have been about the Rothko Chapel, John Singer Sargent's Daughters of Edward D. Boit and Edward Kienholz's Five Car Stud(1969-1972). That said, I'm barely a quarter of the way through the book. I keep having to put it down to research the work (not all of the art is shown.)

I have another book about art and tears that I've been looking at and will share that another day.

I burst out crying at the Norton Simon during a Van Gogh exhibit a few years ago. Rereading the blog post, I wrote then that it was about how emotional it was to see one of his letters in person, this is very, very true. I also remember though how deeply sad I was at the sheer number of people who would walk up to his paintings, snap a photograph and walk away without ever really looking at it. That stuck with me and is one of my biggest pet peeves in museums, people not really looking at the art. 

I have been greatly moved by art. I have lists of paintings that have haunted me and kept me up at night. This is the only experience I can remember of crying in a museum.

Has seeing (not creating) art ever brought you to tears? Whose art and do you know why?

Tuesday, April 21, 2020


I've been working on this page off and on for five days. 

On the third day, I got sick of the woman. I added a face mask. I listened to the news about people "protesting" having to stay home. I got angry and I painted over the woman completely. 

I understand that people are scared and hurting deeply. These are feelings being felt worldwide. People do not know if and when they will be able to afford to keep their homes (rented or mortgaged), to keep food on the table, and if they will ever be able to return to work, if their job will still be there. I know that I am not alone.

I also know to listen to science. I know to watch what is happening when restrictions are loosened elsewhere. I know that I am not alone.

Yet, many of us feel alone. 

I wanted to make a page that felt empty. 

At first, I thought about painting a black veil over the figure. I didn't want that.

The girl went away, replaced by a painted chair. 

I added layers and layers of paint (with an occasional Stabilo All pencil in black, blue, red, and brown, smudged with a rag.) I scraped and let some of the previous layers of color (as well as the red from the girl's jacket) peek through. I ripped part of the page when scraping. Oh well. It's ephemeral. As are we.

I shared part of the process on social media, as I usually do. I received several comments that really bothered me. When I shared that I was angry, I was told to, "giggle" or, "only make art about things that weren't happening in the world", or, "your work is so beautiful but sometimes you say the most ugly things." Meaning no disrespect, Fuck. This. 

My art has and always been about my truth. It documents my life, my view, my perception and experience of the world around me. 

I share to encourage others to pick up scissors, brush or marker, to be creative. To experience. To slow down. To think. To feel.

I can't help it. It is how I am and always will be. You can follow along and express your thoughts on my work, but don't ever tell me what my work should or shouldn't be, or what I should (or shouldn't) make art about.

Stay safe and stay the fuck at home, unless you're an essential worker. 

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Ideas on Starting: Color

The work in progress (WIP) journal spread shown above looked like this earlier today:
I always try to have a few tricks up my sleeve when I start working, little self imposed "rules" to fall back on. 

In an effort to continue to push myself out of my color comfort zone, two of the tricks are:

1. Start with a color you rarely use (or a color you don't like.) This allows for new textures, colors and color combinations to form. It pushes you beyond the familiar.

2. Learn from other artists. I didn't like where I started yesterday, so last night, I flipped through a book on the work of Elmer Bischoff. Using the three primary colors together are not ones I usually reach for but the grey in this called to me:
Woman Dresssing, 1959, Elmer Bischoff 

I don't know in which direction it's headed yet, but I've started. Sometimes that's all that matters.

Do you have any color tricks you use?

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Meet Me Here

I think I'm done but I'm letting it sit for now. The only collage is the image of the woman sitting. The house, palette and scissors are all painted.
I am having a very hard time working right now. I know I'm not alone. I try to do something creative daily but it's especially difficult at a time like this when people are suffering and dying in large numbers, people worldwide are struggling and things are uncertain. 

My art might be my sanctuary but it is where I let things spill. I confess. I rant. I tell my truths even if those truths are ugly or they're truths others don't believe in, they're MY truths.

I do the work. I let it out. I walk away and I come back. It's all I can do. I fill the well reading when I'm not working.

In the meantime, I'm staying in. I'm trying to take care of myself and my family. I'm trying to be gentle with myself and those around me. I'm doing the best I can but wondering if it's enough. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Monday, April 13, 2020

Where I Work

I decided last week to put away my in person workshop supplies, for the time being. It's very sad but it will give me more space to try to set up an area for teaching online workshops. My friend, Maria, gave me an easel in January and I fell in love with it. I have my easel set up here.

To the left of the easel, on top of the standing desk, is a metal box (from Guadalupe's Fun Rubber Stamps in Santa Fe) full of my acrylic paints. (Yes, it's still messy but I'm still cleaning it so hush.)

Take a peek (more here.)
Behind me are my wheeled carts (another gift from my generous friend, Maria.) These hold my essential supplies including my water based paint markers. I moved these against the window in the hope that it would be a better surface for filming in person workshops. (I also wanted better access to my art books, but more on that in another post.)
Marker stash:

Now I need to find something to hold my phone as I film and to find a good light bulb that is equivalent to daylight for when I film.

I like being able to stand up as I work. It encourages me to move away from my work, too, for a better perspective. After years of working on the floor, this really makes me very happy.

(For what it's worth, I live in a very small one bedroom apartment. I keep my supplies to a minimum: paper, paint, pens/markers, glue, brushes. I found out many moons ago not only what works for me in terms of what I want to do, but how to limit my supplies so that I'm not overwhelmed with materials and how/where to store them. My class materials live in a cabinet in the kitchen, a large crop in style stored under my living room table (you can't see it but it's to the left of the rolling cart) and collage material in the trunk of my car.) You can also probably tell that I tend to buy books before art supplies, but that's a story for another post.

How do you store your supplies? Where do you work? I'd love to see your space!

Saturday, April 11, 2020

A Look at the Work of David Park

Self-Portrait Painting his Wife (Painter with Palette and Model) 1937 
Boston Common 1935
Untitled 1948 
Interior 1957 
 Jazz Band 1954
The Bus 1952 
Kids on Bikes 1950
Boston Street Scene 1954 
Woman with Coffee Pot 1958
Sink 1956 
Brush and Comb 1956 
Untitled (Girl at a Fence) 1953 
Four Men 1958 
Two Bathers 1958 
The Cellist 1959 
Imogen Cunningham 1956 
Portrait of Richard Diebenkorn 1958 
Head of Lydia 1956 
Head 1960 
Lydia Drinking Coffee 1960 
Man in Rowboat 1960 
David Park by Imogen Cunningham
My collection of David Park books

The David Park exhibit was scheduled to open at SFMOMA today. It's one of the three exhibits that I've been waiting quite some time for. I hope that it will be rescheduled at a later date.
From The New Figurative Art of David Park by Paul Mills

I thought that in honor of Park and the retrospective, I'd share some of my favorites. I also plan on re-reading some of the above books over the next few weeks  immersing myself in his images and words. I'll also be listening to several lectures on his work on Youtube.

Is there an exhibit or work of art that you were looking forward to seeing in 2020?