Thursday, July 29, 2010
And so here it is Thursday. And again I am looking at Fiona's list. And today I would like to look at creativity or as she says, Get Creative. I think we could no more get creative, than we could get being. I think that we are all creative. I am often told my people, I'm not creative. But I think that is just a way of saying, I'm not aware I am creative. Or it is not a conscious practice. So perhaps in order to get creative, we must be conscious in our lives. Any part of life, or all of life can be creative.
In Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, It says the definition for creative is: l: Marked by the ability or power to create; given to creating 2: PRODUCTIVE--used with of 3: Having the quality of something created rather than imitated: IMAGINATIVE
So it might be the way we do business, the way we design and develop our art business life, the way we tell the ones we love, how much we love them, gardening, cooking, everything can be creative and we all are.
It is to become aware that everything we do, and everything we are is creative. Everything we touch, we make it our own. In a way, to be creative, could be thought of as making special.
For example: It is winter, the snow is on the ground. The world around me is white and cold. I am writing a letter, and I place a pressed flower from my garden into my letter. It is a reminder of the lovely, warm summer and the beauty that was my garden, which just seemed like hard work. I remember that I had to remove all the weeds, and how it hurt my back. Sometimes I am only thinking of the hard part of being creative. But then I remember the beautiful flowers, bright red, orange, pink, yellow and white.
It is only to say, hard work is a part of creativity. I painted all day, my feet and my back hurt. I broke down and cried because of my frustration in trying to create the painting, my heart has been broken many times because of my lack. But later when my work is finished, I am pleased with the by product, the painting, I made with my hard work.
Perhaps we should also remember there are four steps to creativity. The first step is inspiration. We have an experience, and we have a desire to do something. The second step is incubation. Perhaps we "sit with it for a while." The third step is execution. We do something. And the fourth is judgment. We make judgements about what we have done. And we might make some additions, deletions or alterations. It is very important to keep these steps in order, we must make it visible before we make judgements.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Fiona Robyn has asked for help, in several areas, but I have decided to look at, "How to look get working." If you want to work, the answer is simple, work. But there are many traps, that can be laid in our way. We can't find the time, we can't find enough time, or maybe, we don't have the energy, or we are too tired.
I have always said, get up a little earlier than you usually do. And here is the trick you lay, you leave ten, fifteen or twenty minutes at the end of the work day to get your work station in order and ready for work the next day, or the next time you come into the stuio and you end on the "downhill." What is meant by the "downhill"? That means in the set aside work period, you are really flying now, you know what you will do next. But, save this work to be finished tomorrow. For example maybe it is the background of your piece, you can complete it, as you get back into the rhythm of the day before.
That way you can go right into the work, right where you left off the day before. You don't waste time, walking around, and wondering where you want to "go." Or what it is you want to do. You are back into the rhythm of the studio.
The next most important thing is to keep a journal. Write down your ideas. Know what it is you are trying to do, and know what it is that you want to do next. This helps in so many ways, as time passes and life interrupts -- because we have written it down, we can go to our journal, and there are the ideas.
For example; We are walking along the garden path, and we are stopped by the breathtaking beauty of a single rose. We stop to really look at it, to smell it. We decide we want to paint it. If we write down this experience, what it was, what it made us feel, what was our response was to it, and why did we want to paint it. Then time goes by, and so many things interrupt --we forget the moment and what we were feeling, why we wanted to paint that rose in the first place. We only remember the rose that we have started to paint in the studio. On the other hand if we have written it down, really written it all down, we have something to judge our work by. When we see the rose we have painted do we still have the same response we did to the rose in the garden?
Sometimes we have decided what we will work on. We are at work, and another idea comes into our heads and our hearts. If we immediately begin that project, we can get confused about what it is we are trying to do. We can forget our first project or if we don't work on it the new idea right away, we can forget what it was. We think it is so wonderful, and so new and so earth shattering, we will never forget -- but we do. So again, if we write it down we won't lose it.
On the day when you seem to have no new ideas. You can go to your sketch book and there will be the idea, waiting for you. Your sketchbook is a personal journal, put into it whatever you want, think of it as an inspiration journal, cut pictures from magazines, cut scrapes of color, quotes or receipts, or grocery list. What ever you like, and the day that you open it you will be inspired.
Do not be afraid. But instead remember, "Necessity is the Mother of invention." So you don't know how to do "this," but if you can think it, you will find a way. Or maybe you find a technique or skill is required, find someone who will help you, take a course.
Again keeping notes does help us. Maybe we have been dissatisfied with our current work? A year later, we have changed what we are doing. Notes in our journal may tell us, we are still dissatisfied, and maybe we can begin to know, it is not the work. And maybe we need to look deeper, or maybe we do not recognize the rewards that are coming to us.
We might start another journal, about the successes we have in our lives. The little things, that we define as successes that make us happy and we can change our lives from discontent to gratitude. Maybe our friend has had a wildly successful show, more than we could ever hope for ourselves. We can be happy for her success, she has proven it is possible, and we can know if it is possible, it is possible for us, too. Rather than to be jealous, we can be grateful for the success of others.
It used to be said, that men were the only ones who defined themselves through their work. But now our work -- what we do, helps to define the lives of women, too. And we can think of our work as a sacred practice in our lives.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
This morning is overcast, the sun is only beginning to break through the cloud cover. It's a little cooler than it has been because of the rains we have had. This is the view I see each morning as I go from the house to the studio and later, from the studio to the house.
I am facing the studio. The portals allow us outdoor living space, when I take a break from the studio.
I planted this Russian Sage when it was a tiny plant, and it has grown to be a giant! But the color is lovely, and the bees and humming birds love it.
The stones that we laid, are cracking, and probably need to be replaced?
This pile of rocks are rocks I have picked up on our hikes. As our friend, Glenn-- who is gone now, but remembered often, said, "They are just nice to have around." Like old friends.
I got these three pots, and keep wanting to plant them....maybe someday I will, when I know what I want to plant?
This is the view from my studio.
In a way this courtyard is the center of our lives, we come and go-- to and from the house and the studio. We often spend time on the portals, sometimes at night we have a fire. There are so many things I would like to do with the garden, all the while keeping it simple. It is my idea of a Southwestern Zen garden. It is a work in progress, as is everything else that is here, including myself and my work, but I wanted to share it with you. Even though I don't think it is complete, we can enjoy the view of the landscape, looking down on the village of Taos. And the sky is forever changing, through the day into night.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Where has it all gone? I will probably be saying that on the day I die, and I will have no more an idea than I do today. Life really is magic isn't it? The last few days have been so different. It has been so hot and so dry in June, the hottest on record. And now it has been raining everyday, I awake each morning, and there is moisture in the air. Clouds bank up against the mountains, it looks like somewhere else, not Northern New Mexico. Each Monday morning, I can feel the feeling of a new beginning and I meet the morning with excitement. This week will be different, what will be different? I cannot say, but I feel it.
I guess it was Thursday I began a new series of work, or at least a little different, than the works I had been creating in the series, Poems of the Desert. It is nine paintings executed in encaustic. It seems whenever you want to shake things up a little, change your medium.
I will continue to investigate the idea of the Desert, perhaps it is no more than, I am thinking of the desert as I work. These pieces will be a little different, than any I have done before. Because I want them to be about texture, I textured the panels, and then began to paint. I think I reached the point I had just put on too much paint, I reheated them, and scraped them down, and began again. Sometimes the best things happen, when we are reworking a painting. But this time, it is my intention from the beginning. I paint, and I scrape, and I paint. I guess I don't have to tell you I am obsessive by nature? One of the things I love about the use of encaustic, is the layering process, and the "look" that is accomplished in no other way. These pieces will each be one color. A color I imagine found in the Desert. And of course they will have to work together.
I began working in encaustic in the 60's. My painting instructor was very fond of encaustic and passed his love for it to me.
I think it is this place of "beginning",
this place, so full of hope.
Even though we often cannot say,
what it is that we hope for,
or maybe it is just the feeling of hope
--the piece will work out,
we will like it when we see it,
and others will like it, too.
Or is it the feeling of being alive,
and working towards something?
The feeling that we are,
"hitting on all cylinders."
Bringing all that we have
to bare on this moment.
The feeling that something is still possible?
Perhaps, if only we could
define what it is that,
we are doing or trying to do.
would that spoil the magic?
That keeps us in the quite
of the studio.
The willingness to continue
without a clearly stated reason?
To fail, and to fail again.
I think there must be a
That fuels the engine
And creates the artist
That I was meant to be
There is no other answer
That comes to me,
This Monday morning,
So I will continue,
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Vanita Smithey's show at the Karan Ruhlen's gallery, 226 Canyon Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Karen Ruhlen is on the left and Vanita is on the right, with two friends from Houston in the middle.
Friday, July 23, 2010
I asked Donna Watson to help me with the idea of Rejections as part of the Artist's Process. This is what she said:
REJECTIONS: Many years ago, when I first began to enter juried exhibitions, I submitted a painting to a local juried show and it was not accepted. I was quite surprised and decided to enter it into a much larger, international juried exhibition. The painting received the Best of Show award. Since then, my paintings have been accepted into many juried exhibitions with the occasional rejection. I do remember a period of time when I received 5 rejections in a row.
There were times when I would really get quite down about my paintings and even questioned myself as an artist. But I would eventually rally myself and get back to work and continue to put my work out there for viewing. Juried shows are usually judged by one person and art is very subjective and you really can never know or understand each individual juror and what they like or don't like. So, eventually I managed to develop a thick skin. And now, I have become a juror myself as I have been invited to jury shows and teach workshops all over the U.S. and Canada. And with all the successes I have accumulated, I still can receive the occasional rejection. I get back to work in my studio. Here is a quote: "Ever Tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." Samual Beckett.
Thank you so much Donna, it could not have been said better.
Something I've always thought about, is when you give a person an opportunity to speak (or judge your work), you often find out what they do not know.
A quick survey finds me still and empty this morning, like the little attic room in Norway. Where every time you stood up, you bumped your heard on the low slanted ceiling. Norway, land of imagination, of fjords, and northern lights.
Today is a day filled with memory, of all that you have been and continue to be in my life. And the little attic room so far away. Our souls were closely intertwined then. That night we walked the streets until long after mid-night and the light was a lovely shade of pink, I don't think it ever really got dark there. We stopped for cold drinks in the harbor, where earlier that day the fish mongers with their arms in black rubber sleeves, sold their fresh fish from stalls along the pier.
And we watched the pageant played out in the harbor,on the water, sailing boats -- all about the ones who left for America. And how the ones left behind never forgot, but held the memory as strong as iron, forever longing. It was a scene painted with the colors of Van Gough, blue, black, maroon, green and red. And there was music and dancing, laying a trap for thoughts of long ago, a labyrinth that could not be escaped. One that circled in upon itself, all thoughts were one thought, held by the community.
I see your face, your funny smile. When we arrived you were all pushed out of shape, but then you fell under the spell, and you fell in love. You were at home in the little attic room. Days filled with art, music, poetry, so much to see, the underground cavern, and the boat ride on the fjord, mystical land.
The artists came and took us to a special place by the sea, it was a long house of white stucco made long ago and they told us of the vermillion burials that had been found there. They looked out to the sea, and pointed to the horizon, and said, "Look there is America!" I looked but saw only an empty blue sea, and an empty blue sky. I realized our experience was so different, as Americans we did not go to the sea, look out and say, "Look there is Europe! There is Norway". The immigrants came, changed their names, and forgot where they came from, who they were. Sometimes they forgot the families they left behind, and they were lost for all times.
And yet still today, the the People of Stavanger, would get together and read poetry and speak of their feelings of loss. Love and longing laid out in long strings tied to their hearts, that reached all the way to America, and to the loved ones who went away, leaving holes that could never be filled. They said sometimes the young men when to California, and were killed in their search for Gold, no one ever knew what happened. You might have thought it all happened only yesterday.
You reached for my hand and promised you would never go away. We did not know then what was ahead. For then we were happy in the little attic room, where, we laughed and loved along life's journey.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Sunday I went to Art Santa Fe, in Santa Fe, it is the international art fair. Friday was the Press Preview, then the Ribbon--cutting and then the Opening night, champagne buffet benefiting Santa Fe Art Institute. It was at the new Santa Fe Convention Center. This is the tenth year of the fair. I went on Sunday, because I wanted to take some pictures and write something about the fair. I thought it would not be as crowded. I want to say now, I am not a writer of art, I am an artist, but for those who didn't get to go, I hope I will be able to give you a sense of the fair.
Pam Campbell is on the right in the red shawl. She is very personable, and a very gracious dealer. Her booth looked great, I wish I had gotten a better shot! The William Campbell Contemporary Art is in Fort Worth, Texas.
There were less dealers than there has been in the past, therefore less to see. It seemed well organized and set up, the lights were low (except for in the booth, the dealers had lots of light on their art). And because there weren't many people there, you could get close without pushing and shoving, and could see the art.
I want to mention the Bullseye Gallery, www.bullseyegallery.com/ They had a beautiful booth and had some wonderful art. I responed to the work of Cobi Cockburn, from Australia. She says, "She focuses on making objects that are each unique, calming and whole in experience: forms that purely express myself and reflect my most instinctive feelings.
Representing a time and place of meaning, each artwork hold its own story, never literal in appearance but imbued with the essence of its moment." Jamie Truppi, Assistant Director, said the photo of her work wouldn't really capture it, but you can see it better on the website. She is working with glass, and her work was very beautiful
These two pieces belonged to the Sandra Lee Gallery, 251 Post Street, Suite 310, San Francisco, CA. Their booth was filled with interesting pieces, but the other shots I took were a little fuzzy. The director was really wonderful to talk to, and a real pleasure to meet.
The Santa Fe Art Institute, 1600 St. Michael's Drive, Santa Fe, NM 87505. This is Edite Grinberga, who had a wonderful painting in the booth.
LA Art Machine, Bryson Strauss, 442 S. Van Ness Ave, Los Angeles, Ca. This booth was showing work by Jean Wells. And Bryson, told me they would be leaving the large tree in front of the libary in Santa Fe. So if you missed the Art Santa Fe, and you are in Santa Fe, you will still be able see one of Jean Wells works.
William Siegal Gallery 540 S. Guadalupe Street, Santa Fe. This is a gallery which shows the ancient and the contempory. The booth was dominated by a large black painting by Karen Gunderson, the booth was sparsely hung and each piece had it's own space.
Charlotte Jackson Fine Art, 200 West Marcy Street, Suite 101, Santa Fe. One of my favorite booths. They were showing some really wonderful art and Fiona MacConnell was very helpful. Charlotte Jackson Fine Art, has a new space in the Railyard Art District/ 554 South Guadalupe, Santa Fe. So when you are in Santa Fe, don't miss this gallery.
Park Fine Art 20 First Plaza, Suite 65, Albuquerque. Young-Sook Park was so interesting to talk to, and had a wonderful booth. She gave me beautiful brochures about her artists.
This is Sandy Zane, Gallery Owner of the Zane Bennett Contemporary Art, 435 South Guadalupe Street, Santa Fe. Sandy was showing some of their really big sculptures with a projector, it was a good solution to a difficult problem, how do you show those really big sculptures at an art fair? Both Sandy and Ned were very gracious.
Robert Turner--Photographs 129 Via Latina, Del Mar, CA. Robert was very sweet and told me a lot of things about his work and how he did it. Some of his landscapes were photographed in Colorada, and were really stunning. It would be fun to go on locations with Robert.
Volume Black, Nikki Milavec, 929 Broadway, New York, NY, was featuring the work of Lisa Lebofsky, who paints on aluminum. They had several of Lisa's works on aluminum.
David Richard Contemporary, 130 Lincoln Avenue, Suite D, Santa Fe. David Eichholtz, the director was very helpful. The black and white painting in the photograph is by Peter Demo, who lives in New York.
In a area apart from the exhibitors, there were demonstrations by the Bullseye Glass Company and Landfall Press. In the picture you can see Mitchell preparing a plate for the press.
I hope you will understand, this is not meant as a comprehensive survey. I missed some of my favorites, it just wasn't the best time for a photo. But these are some of the booths at the Art Santa Fe.
If by chance you will be in Santa Fe on Friday the 23, be sure to go to the Karan Ruhlen Gallery to see the show of Vanita Smithey. It will be a wonderful show!
Sunday, July 18, 2010
The Importance of Being in the studio
As I work,
The muse slips in on silent footstep,
Through the open studio door,
She begins to whisper,
And ideas begin to spring forth as if
From a child's jack -in-the-box
The pity is,
How much you miss
If you're away.
She will come again,
You'll never know,
No one say say.
So best be there,
Don't take a chance,
The next time she comes,
She'll find, again,
Saturday, July 17, 2010
It seems like Saturday comes every other day. Where does the week go? I know I have no accurate sense of time, time flys by, each day seems as a minute. I often feel like the Mad Hatter, before the morning starts, I feel I am late, I am late, not time to wait, I'm late, I'm late, I'm late! Then I take a breath, slow down and remind myself, there is plenty of time, no hurry. I am here, and the day will pass as it will, and I will still be here, and I will get done what I can.
This week I have been in the process of photographing and inventorying older work. And because I work everyday, I have investigated and created many works. I decided several years ago, I would work on paper, because of the storage problem. And I have found I love to work on oriental paper because of it's organic quality. My favorite paper is made by Mr. Hosino in Kiryu, Japan. He is considered a national treasure. His family has made paper in Kiryu since the Edo period.
These pieces are from a series I called Fragments. It is the idea behind the work that dictates the image the artist creates. We do not experience the world, memory, or thought, as a whole, but rather in bits, or Fragments, which are part revealed, part concealed. Art should be required to be new, a sense of never before, not just like this, giving the viewer a different way of viewing the world.
In this series, Fragments, I am creating the composition, on an implied grid, which is not seen in the finished piece. These compositions are pure abstractions and have no reference to the material world, except for the element of color, which is carefully chosen from nature. I also consider the visual vibration of each color as it is laid randomly next to another.
These works could be seen as pages of a diary or journal, and like poetry, one idea dissolves into another, and the series of work becomes a sequence of new images. Like each new day, forever changing. Each piece takes time to create and they also require time to be seen. In science, this is called the Heisenberg Principle, a phenomenon that asserts the act of observing alters the reality being observed. Because, the finished work is not preconceived and arrives unexpected, I feel anticipation and excitement, and because it is my experience, there is the possibility the viewer will experience this at some level.
Friday, July 16, 2010
It is lovely and old, and reminds me of another time. The drums whack out a rhythm. Bodies dance in wild gyrations. It is dark, and images flash before my eyes. People fill the streets and there is a sense of anticipation. In secret places for months, people have practiced for this moment.
Chests are bear, many are wearing firemen's coats. White cloths tied, Indian fashion around their heads. There is no slowing down, the beat becomes faster. Food sizzles and spits in hot grease, a wonderful aroma fills the air.
Groups of musicians play their tunes. Crowds push trying to get in position to see, people join the dance. There is a crush in the street.
Quickly I am transported to another place and another time. I catch the bus, and take a seat. All is quiet, I join others, still a little sleepy, on their early morning journey to work. At last, I am the last on the bus, and the bus stops. I get off. I wander in the street. The sun shines. I hear the sound of a gong. I enter the garden, it is cool. I realize it is a funeral. Who was he? He is laid to rest, it is a peaceful garden.
I cross the street, I ask directions. And wander past the many shops. I am looking for one place, though it is in a different country, in a different city, it will be familiar. At last I find the one shop, I am looking for, have come all this way to find. It is a tiny shop, and the wares are neatly laid out, there is order everywhere. I have stepped back in time. I am greeted by a smiling face, we do not speak the same language, but the smile dissolves our difference. I gather the colors in small dishes, that have been ground by hand. All the colors of the rainbow, red, yellow, blue, orange, and purple. I dream of what I will draw with the colors. These colors in little pans will speak in another language, and all that will see, will know, that they are also lovely, and come from another time.