Tuesday, July 17, 2018

WE HUNG THE SHOW IN NO TIME FLAT/imaginary gardens with real toads

WE HUNG THE SHOW IN NO TIME FLAT

The morning quiet
The whir of the fan
Is the only sound
As far as I can see

Perhaps a little song
To celebrate
The last months
The work completed

In no time
With tools in hand
And measuring tape
The preparations are complete

July 17, 2018


Monday, July 16, 2018

Blog Of the Week ~ A Chat About Art with Annell Livingston

Monday, July 16, 2018


BLOG OF THE WEEK ~ A CHAT ABOUT ART WITH ANNELL LIVINGSTON

Our friend Annell Livingston is well known to us as a poet, but recently some interest was expressed in hearing about her life as an artist, an idea I liked very much. So today we will follow Annell’s artistic journey through the years, and enjoy some of her glorious paintings. As you know, Annell lives in Taos, New Mexico, under the gaze of Taos Mountain, a landscape that finds its way into her artistic expression, in words and on canvas.








Fragments Geometry and Change #249  
40”x40”  acrylic on canvas


Sherry: Annell, when did you first begin your journey as an artist? Did you draw and paint as a child?


Annell: Yes, Sherry, I guess I always did draw and paint.  It has always been my passion.  I cannot be happy if I am not able to express myself. 



IMG_9305.jpg Nest Drawing Adobe  
27"x27"  graphite and gouache  on paper



Sherry:  I love your exquisite bird’s nest illustrations. And the bright colours taken from the pottery and art of Santa Fe in some of your earlier work. Would you tell us a bit about those early years of painting?

Annell: Sherry, there are many ways to draw, but the bird’s nest drawings are what I would call studies.  I actually draw from the bird’s nest, and try to get every twig and leaf the bird might use in the construction of the nest.  It is something humans can’t do.  

I have used the grid in my work since 1986.  In 2004 a dealer who represented my work in Santa Fe, New Mexico, asked me to do some still life for her gallery.  And it took me three years to think about what I might paint.  I wanted to do something different, but something that represented New Mexico.  Works that represented “Place”,  since New Mexico is heavily influenced by Mexico.  

I began to collect the early pottery, and colorful weavings of Mexico.  (The weavings of Mexico are considered the most colorful in the world.)  I used local fruit and flowers.  I wanted the work to be expressive, rather than “right.”   My work is hard edged, and at the time I loved working on oriental paper. I went to Japan and met Mr. Hosino, a master paper maker.  He guaranteed his paper for one thousand years, and I loved the idea that my work would last as long as the paper it was painted on. 

Sherry: How wonderful that you travelled to Japan to verify your source of paper!




IMG_7736.JPG 16"x16"   gouache on oriental paper
Still Life With Deer and Yellow Cup




Here is a still life I set up in the studio.  The yellow cup is right there in front. I would draw from the still life, and then paint.


Sherry: I am enjoying this so much! I love your colorful still life!

Annell:  I loved making these works, they were such fun.  And the viewer can look at the work, and he can see what the artist is doing, and he can say, “Well, you know, I wouldn’t have done it that way.”  This kind of work invites the viewer into the work.   A dialogue is set up. 
  
Sherry: I can see that. I have seen some paintings that may have arisen out of your Santa Fe inspired work – the same still life and colors, but set on a grid. Was this a stepping stone on the journey?





 Annell: You never know what you might learn from a project.  Actually these works took me to a series of work I called One Day In The Life.  I began to think about how you could tell the story of a man’s life, by focusing on a small period of time.  The two works above are “a day and a night”  of One Day In The Life.




IMG_9759  Still Life/Deconstructed/Reconstructed #48  
22"x22"  gouache on w/c paper


A series I called Still Life/Deconstructed/Reconstructed followed, and it was very important, as I allowed me to graduate with gouache (which is a very difficult thing to do) and weave the work together.  If you follow each color, you will see it moves from mid-tone to lighter.  Which showed me the way to continue to the current work, Fragments Geometry and Change.

Sherry: I have been watching this evolution, with interest. Annell, for those who do not know, there was a tragic event in your life when you lived by the ocean. One year after your husband’s death by drowning, you made a huge life change, moving to Taos. Would you tell us a bit about that move? Did you think the desert would offer you a fresh canvas?


Annell:  Sherry, I just needed a new point of view.  I had lived on the Third Coast of Texas all my life.  It was hard for my friends to see me grieve. I needed a place I could howl,  and I found it on the mesa above Taos.  My work was represented in Taos and in Santa Fe; it just seemed right to me.   So I moved to the dry desert.  You can’t drown in the desert.  It is not that I was afraid I would drown; it was just time for a change.  




Taos Mountain


Sherry: It is beautiful there. Would you tell us a bit about working on a grid?

Annell: Actually I had been working with the grid since 1986.  If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.  And at first I didn’t succeed.  So I kept trying to find a way to allow the grid to be a part of my work.  It was around 1990, I went into the studio and closed the door…alone with myself, I determined what I had to say that was special, that was my own.  What made me different than everyone else.    

For me, the visual arts, are a language, and the artist is saying something every time he touches his brush to his canvas.  For the artist, we spend many years learning techniques, but then we have to learn who we are and what we have to say.   This could take from five minutes to a lifetime.  It is not just about painting a pretty picture.



_MG_0730 Fragments G&C  #130  20"x30"  
gouache on w/c paper




_MG_0181  Fragments Geometry & Change  #165  2014  
30"x30"  gouache on 300 lb w/c paper



IMG_0027 Fragments Geometry & Change #183  
30"x30"  gouache on w/c paper


Annell: Sherry, it is especially good of you to let me show several of the grid paintings.  You might think as you narrow your options, the work would be boring.  But actually as we narrow our options, we are forced to be more creative.  

Sherry: It is my pleasure, Annell. Your work is fascinating. I can see what a journey your work is. And how different each canvas is. The longer I look, the more color and movement I see in each canvas.

In a recent interview by Ann Landi at Vasari21, you stated, “My work is not so much about the external world, but about finding that place where internal and external  worlds meet. I call the series Fragments because my thoughts and memories are like fragments. Nothing seemed really whole, but the pieces came together to be the experience of my life.” I really appreciate that quote.


~ the place where internal 
and external worlds meet ~


In your life you have had a heartbreaking series of losses, first your husband, then your mother, and, in 2014, the tragic loss of your son, Jim. You move through your grief with such dignity and grace, Annell. I so admire you.

It seems to me, it must be peaceful and comforting to go into your studio, bend to your canvas and enter into the grid, hour after hour. Would you tell us a bit about this? 

Annell: For me, painting is what is called active meditation.  There is a certain ritual to it.  And I go to the studio every day.  I begin the day writing, and then go to my work.  I don’t finish all I know at the end of the day, therefore the work waits for me, and I can go right into it, no time wasted wondering what I will paint today.



IMG_0535.jpg  Fragments Geometry and Change #247 
36"x36"  acrylic on canvas


Sherry: Oh, I love the red square in the centre of this painting. Not long ago, you wrote a poem about what it is to be an artist. I would love to include it here, if I may.




As a painter I invent everyday
I create something new
Something never seen
In exactly the same way before
You ask, but what am I to think
And I will answer
That is up to you
I pick the color
I mix the paint
I apply the paint
I allow the painting to come alive
And I need the viewer to have his own thoughts
To complete my work
But the viewer has to slow down
Be open
Take a fresh look
Be aware of his thoughts
Go with it
Perhaps it is based on a memory
Or a thought forgotten long ago
Suddenly it is in this moment
The thought is renewed
Seen in a different way
There is a dialogue
Between the viewer and the painting
Something is revealed
You will tell me
How your Grandmother cared for you
The first time you flew
The little dog you had when you were small
You will tell me about your love
And when you first met
Your story will be unique

April 18, 2018


Sherry: I like the idea of a dialogue between the artist and the one viewing the painting. There was another poem in 2011 that lends itself to this conversation. Let’s take a peek:




As an artist
To improvise
Is what I do

Can I say how it is done
Probably not
Starts with an idea
We have don't know
How to do it
We don't even know
What we want
But we try
We try to discover
It is trial and error
It is "what if"

We seek patterns
Related to every
Kind of creativity
We look for clues on how
To be self-creating
Self-organizing
Authentic

All art is improvisation
Some we present
Whole and at once
Some we present
Revised and restructured
We seek our own way

It begins with an idea
And we stumble
Through the journey
The finished piece you
See or hear
Is but a relic or trace of the
Journey that has
Come and gone

All art is performance
Even when you are the
Only one in the studio
For all is revealed in
The finished product
It is a record of the
Process of improvisation

The process comes
From the deepest
Part of ourselves
It is a spiritual path
It is about us
About the deep self
It is a soul journey

2011

Sherry: Would you talk about about this soul journey, my friend?

Annell: I am not sure about the “soul,” and don’t think I have ever seen one, but someone dear told me, it is the authentic you, of you.  And that is what I try to do in my work.  To be authentic.  I do my very best.  I sign my work, I put my name on it, at the end of the day.  

  





Sherry: Taos so often creeps into your poems, the beauty of the landscape woven through your words. Do you feel the influence of the desert in your painting as well?

Annell:  When I first came here, I wondered would I get tired of the scene.  And after over 20 years, I can say, “no”. I am still thrilled, by mountains, the Rio Grand, and the forever sage brush across the mesa. 


  


This is the sun rise over Taos Mountain.  Sometimes the sun rises are as colorful as the sun sets.

Sherry: One could never tire of such a landscape. What a blessing, to live there!





This is a sun set looking west.

Sherry: The beauty is truly spectacular. It calls to me much as the ocean does. The power of that sky, the colors of the sunrises and sunsets – perfect for an artist! I would like to close with a photo of Taos in a most beautiful sunset, and with a poem you wrote to celebrate the beauty of your beloved mountain.


  





Taos, New Mexico
My chosen home
Beyond what we might call beautiful
Perhaps there are no words for it
On the mesa
I can see
The sun rises in the east
Above Taos Pueblo
Lights Taos Valley
And the mountains that circle
Sets in the west
Glorious end of day
The low flat light
Crawls over sage brush
Reflects off adobe houses
Where everyday people
Go about their everyday lives

April 20, 2018


Sherry: You truly live in a beautiful place, Annell. Thank you so much for this wonderful chat. We so enjoyed hearing about your work as an artist, and visiting your beloved Taos.

Friends, Annell’s website is at  www.annelllivingston.com




The Color Book : Poems and Paintings 
is available here.




Annell’s Red Shoes Artists Book Project 
is available here.


My friends, we hope you enjoyed this chat about art, Annell's wonderful paintings and poetry, and the beauty of the Taos landscape. We enjoyed bringing it to you. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much Sherry and Annell; I enjoyed this interview so much and love the artwork and poetry. You can really see the influence of New Mexico on her art. May I suggest using one of Annell's pieces of artwork as a visual prompt some time in the future? 
    Reply
  2. What a wonderful interview! Annelle, your work is o

Sunday, July 15, 2018

THE HEART KNOWS WHAT THE HEART WANTS/the sunday whirl poets united poets pantry


THE HEART KNOWS WHAT THE HEART WANTS

Right on the edge
Hold on tight
Knuckles white
There is nothing easy
About letting go

Slipped on gravel
Stumbled 
Into the rabbit hole
Easy peasy
An unexpected path

The accusations
Spread thick
Like peanut butter
And jam
New patterns created

Tying knots
And untying knots
Is no simple task
Unkind words spray
Across the universe
Hit the target

Someone said
“Think twice”
When considering
The uncertainties of love
Climb steady
Stay low
Trim your sails




Wordle #360   

TEN TRAINS AWAY/imaginary gardens with real toads

TEN TRAINS AWAY

Here I am
Count to ten
Ring the bell

Sorry to find
You are gone
Catch a train

Sip your tea
No more days
For you & me

July 14, 2018


Thursday, July 12, 2018

A FISHING-PERFECT DAY IN SEPTEMBER/imaginary gardens with real toads




                                                             Toril Fisher Fine Art



A FISHING-PERFECT DAY IN SEPTEMBER

There is a loneliness 
About the sea
No one as far as you can see
Only the sound of the waves
And the wind

The boat broke anchor
You swam for it
I was told the sea
"Boiled before it was over"

It was September
The day warm
A fishing-perfect day
No one knew just how it happened

You were lost in a moment
Gobbled up in an instant
You did not return
Your life complete

July 12, 2018

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

CITIES LARGE AND SMALL/poets united midweek motif - city

CITIES LARGE AND SMALL

Cities large and small
Gathering places
Hurry up
Places to go
People to see

Everything is by the clock
Urban sprawl
You must fly over
To see it all

I wonder 
It is no place for animals
It does not support life
It robs us of our humanity

Crazy making
Hustle bustle
Never ending
Like a great ant mound
Structure for termites

Intersections
A giant grid
Hold on
Don’t give up

The light turns red
Stay on the sidewalk
No place to roam
The sun sets on glass and steel

July 11, 2018








Tuesday, July 10, 2018

WHERE IS PEACE/imaginary gardens with real toads Tuesday Platform

WHERE IS PEACE

Where is peace 
On a stormy night
Bombs exploding
Lightening flashing

My heart is tender
But afraid
I feel my way with
My fingertips

Thunder crashing
I cover my ears
Water seeps 
Under the door

We were warned
Run away
Run away
But where will we go

Perhaps as long 
As we can imagine peace
Even when the world does not
We can strive for it

A quiet morning
No ill will toward anyone
Even the birds are still sleeping
No one stirs

And yet the very next moment
Everything can change
The future is unknown
Perhaps peace only comes
In the in between

July 6th, 2018