Sunday, September 01, 2013

Waxing and Waning



Close-up of The Sound of Stars
As an artist, part of what keeps me flowing is the internal permission to move from one place to the next, and in this case place means medium. 

Digital is still fun as heck for me, evidenced by my tithe to Photoshop, but for years now I have been playing more and more with encaustic, aka art created with beeswax. (Thank you to Ally Richter, who introduced me to this hedonic mode, and who does beautiful encaustic "color studies" as she calls them. My hope is to reflect her talent, even if just part way.) I've even shown encaustic pieces here and there for years, though almost always in an exhibit mixed with a number of other works. (Such as now I have 41 works up at Harborview Medical Center, several of which are encaustic.)

Breath
Finally, since my fingers kept turning to the hotplate and pots of molten wax, I decided to really commit to it. In November, a gallery mate and I will be presenting Pushing Wax at Gallery 110 Seattle.

This show will in include multiple expressions of unusual modes with encaustic as an art form. It's a challenge, but so, so fun! Here, I am publishing just a few teaser shots of some of my creations in the works.

Images shown:

The Sound of Stars (close-up) - wax and pigment on board

Breath - oxygen tubing, nails, oil pastel, wax and oil paint on board

Silver Dollar River (close-up) - silver dollar pods and wax on board

Texture of Cacophony (close-up) - wax and pigment on board


Close-up of Silver Dollar River
Texture of Cacophony



























Sorry is the layout shows up squirrelly. It's not me. I think Blogger is trying to subtly discourage me from using the template I started with almost 10 years ago....












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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Everything is connected

Big day yesterday for this artist's online declaration: I finally launched an art website depicting several galleries of my work in one swell foop.
Of course, it is a better method for showing work in tiny pictures all at one time, but I will continue to write about art in the contest of our lives here on this blog because art is more than just a pretty face. So, stop by and visit anytime. (You can also access this space by clicking on the Art Blog link on my website too. There are many open doors welcoming you.)

To that end, I just read a great overview about ways to look at and enjoy art, by Jan Looper, titled How To Talk About Art. It's well worth a look, whether you are an artist, an art aficionado, or someone who wants to "get" art a little more in whatever personal way that works for you. Thank you, Jan, for the great share.



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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Being A Contrarian

Today is all things Green. I'll be hard pressed to find something green in my wardrobe to avoid being pinched. So, in a pinch, I'll serve up for today's post, a color contrarian piece -- the second in my beech leaf skeleton series. Looks like a bit of red Ikat to me, not Irish at all.









































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Saturday, March 09, 2013

Just In Time For Spring

It's about time that I did final clean up in the garden corners to prepare for Spring. Indeed, all manner of bulb things are popping out of the earth now, some even blooming so cutely, and I am so late in raking out (often with my fingers) the dregs of last year's leaves. Still, there are gems to be had in that history. Here is what I made from today's offering. Beech leaf skeleton.















































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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Going Soft

Sometimes I find images (paintings as well as photos) that are really, really blurry to be compellingly attractive. Maybe it's because my mind wants to fill in the details. Or maybe it just enjoys the respite from constant overstimulation in this 21st Century. I've enjoyed creating my own pieces with that approach (Pumpkin Ether, for one) and also selectively blurring parts of an image, keeping other sections in sharp focus to create another type of viewer tension. This time I tried something slightly different: using layers to effect the softness but not lose all the detail.


























These feel so juicy and sweet like this. But it doesn't seem to work for many of my works; I think it might be most successful with images that people can "read" faster-- i.e., subjects that are more familiar and don't need clear detail to explain itself. Many of my wabi-sabi shots aren't good for that, but working on both approaches informs work with the other. Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone were to approach other, less-familiar people and cultures with that same perspective? Knowing another way of looking helps us see more of what is already familiar, or appreciate more what is strange.





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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Musing With Imagery


Just a day of musing with making new pieces with fodder from the kitchen. Below the one of the open lily pods, you can see a closeup of a portion of it to see some of the detail. Don't they look like little Tinkerbell wands? Maybe that's how they do it.






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Friday, January 18, 2013

Finding Identity


  Today my artist friend and I walked for hours in the chilly fog, down the hill, past the sculpture park, along the waterfront, to her studio and then back up the hill. Our whole trip was woven with conversation about art...process, product, reactions, thrill, joy, satisfaction, going beyond, meaning, dimension. The most important part of the conversation to me was how art is a seminal part of my identity. Or, finding identity.

About the images:
Japanese lanterns from two different seasons are the subject of "Finding Identity," shown above. The abstract below is a small encaustic recently completed using a technique involving many layers of the beeswax paint.


Often I am conflicted about how to spend my time in the studio... creating the highly visual and often more accessible digital images such as the one above, or reveling in the more sensual process of painting with hot wax? Both are processes of discovery, yet result in something completely different. Sometimes art advisors tell me to focus on one medium and create a "consistent" body of work so that my audience can understand and remember it. And someone told me yes, but what all of my work has in common is that I made it.

In any case, it is all apropos of the piece "Head and Heart" shown in a previous post "Who Are You Being Today?" How about you? Do you find a similar conflict in your life, either wrestling with your identity or controlling your output?



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Thursday, November 08, 2012

Argon


Argon is the title of my latest work. I chose that because of a tidbit of info I encountered when recently watching I Am, a documentary by Director Tom Shadyac. By the way, it's an amazing opening into what is important in life, and I cannot recommend it enough.

From the movie, and probably from chemistry class if we had ever paid attention there, I learned that argon is the third most common gas in the Earth's atmosphere. And that it moves around the atmosphere constantly, being breathed in and out by all living beings. It's one of the things that connects us – connection being what is intrinsically important to all of us souls – because I am breathing in the very molecules of argon that the dinosaurs breathed in and out, and that Genghis Khan breathed in an out. (Why do they always choose Ghengis Khan to make this point? I prefer to think of sharing argon with Cleopatra or Elizabeth Cady Stanton.)

So anyway, now while doing breathing meditation, I think of the molecules coming into me and where they may have been before, and all the humanity and animals they have served before, and feel more connected. I like that.

About this image: it started months ago with a photo of a simple beet, before the hurricane. Another coincidence, but another sign, perhaps, of how everything is connected.





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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin Ether

Pumpkin Ether
Fall is my very mostest favorite time of year. The change in light, the new smells that abound, the sounds of children playing in the neighborhood, a shift in air pressure, and the color...it all energizes me.

Today I am just going to give a nod to the delicious feeling I get during this time, by posting my newest creation. Just because. A celebration of the mystery of being alive and happy in it.


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Monday, October 08, 2012

Who are you being today?



Head and Heart

Yesterday a friend told me I had an “artist’s soul.” That sounded nice. 

But, I asked back, what is an artist’s soul? This morning she told me her definition* and challenged me to come up with my own. I don’t feel ready to do that. I said I need a day to live through it, to feel what it is, not just use words.

So, today I am putting it on like my garb du jour. I am wearing the artist’s soul like a mantle, like a filter, like a lens....Everything I do, I will do with consciousness of feeling it like an artist’s soul would – whether it be in the studio or out. Carving into wax, painting with oils, playing with colored pixels, or even making soup or washing windows or working on the books. I like this idea.

I like the concept of taking on a theme for living each day, and choosing one to color existence in a way that feels right. Tomorrow’s theme might be Compassion. The next day’s, Brilliant Green, whatever that could mean in behavioral or contemplative expression. In future days, it could be Funny or Gratitude or Sketchbook or Reverie or Lover or Productive. So, who are you being today?

Today’s image offering: Head and Heart
I selected this image to go with this post because it is about duality. Everything we do or think or feel has a duality to it. In Bali, they express this with the black and white checkered pattern often seen on material draped on altars, big and small. You may know it as the yin and yang. Head and Heart depicts the left-brained and right-brained duality, which I often feel, sometimes as a conflict and sometimes as complimenting ways of seeing things. If you look closely, you will see that pieces of both sides have bled into each other – because all of our selves inform all of the other parts of us. It's a good thing.

*My friend's definition of artist's soul is that it "...has much to do with exploration and walking the path less traveled with lots of questions."

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Laying It Down

  Making art is always a process of discovery. Lately I have rediscovered how richly sensual is the process of painting, and especially atop an encaustic (wax) layer. And, it's not just fun to create them, but fun to view them in person.   
Because each of these works is a build of digital print, multiple layers of wax, and then finished with detailed oil painting, the depth that shines through is surprising.   

All are based on images that are my own original digital images. 

The top piece is Chasing Birthdays (12" x 12" on a cradled ground). The middle one is from Summertime (also 12" x 12" on a cradled ground). And the last, perhaps the most simple, but sweet to my eye, is Lil Sleeping Buddha. Can't remember his size because now he snoozes in New Zealand.       zzzzzzzzzzzz                       
I'm already in the process of making new ones.
                                                                      










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Friday, May 04, 2012

Grid Gardens

Even the most regular grid patterns can be fascinating as visuals. Sometimes I challenge myself to use them as a basis for new art, whether in my convergent digital media, casual iPhone photography, or studio shots. Here are three recent takes on grid patterns, all from very different sources.

The first image here (above) is a piece I finished last night, inspired by a simple pot of succulents I bought at the Ballard Farmer's Market a few weeks ago. I liked how they were planted in even, symmetrical rows, not something one normally sees in a pot. It's titled Zen Garden because the tiny regular space of green feels like an oasis amidst turbulence.


The second image is of an adorable box of sweets a friend living in Qatar just sent to me. I haven't tasted them yet, not wanting to deconstruct the pleasing pattern they make as an arranged group. But, if they are anywhere near as delicious as the almond filled dates I am enjoying from the same source, they will soon disappear. So far, I haven't repurposed this shot into "art" yet so it doesn't have a title, but seemed fun enough to include here as an example of a grid leaping out at me.


Last is an iPhone shot I took some weeks ago of a bit of sidewalk while walking in Seattle. I know we are supposed to look up and see stars, but there are interesting landscapes underfoot. This was just an iPhone shot, and while I may never use it for creating anything "serious," just being playful and trying stuff is not just fun, but has long-term benefits.

I am allowing myself more and more to accept that those snaps can make good fodder. Having a personal, small creative goal like this for completion every day really exercises our visual sensitivity to our surroundings, and discoveries of abundance. How about if you see if you can find two or three yourself today?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Art of Gardening


After 18 years, 2012 marks the first year, with “The Art of Gardening,” that the West Seattle Garden Tour is also featuring an art show, generously sponsored by Windermere RealtyTwo of my own most gardeny-like works have been selected by the jury for this exhibit – and you are invited to the reception 


during West Seattle’s May Art Walk May 10th, 6-9 pm at the Windermere offices, 4526 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA. I’ll be there, of course (how could I pass up the chance to mingle with the gardening community in this lush and fertile spot?) and would love to see you in person whether you have dirt under your fingernails or not.

The two pieces I have in the show are Three Stories (see below) and Fancy Handles (above), both selected from my portfolio because they are perhaps visually more representative of gardening than most of my other more wabi-sabi art. But, knowing what’s behind them, I see more than just a pretty face in each .

Fancy Handles features my pruners, which look a bit silly to any serious gardener, with the feminine graphics on the handles and their somewhat diminutive size in reality. But, as you can see, they are worn and not at all shiny new: I have had them for many years and done quite a bit of yard work with them. They fit my smallish hands and have become the first tool I pick up when I wander out to prune or pick something to make a bouquet...or select a subject for a new piece of art. This is the piece I chose to be the cover of my book, Garden Poetry. Indeed, I am happy to announce that the book itself was recently honored by being selected by Blurb to be a sample in their showroom and on executive visits.




The subjects for Three Stories were from my Palo Alto summer garden, close neighbors in the same bed. I like pairing flowers that live together; surely they have a relationship we are not privy to. Here, that the creamy white dahlia and the yellow hibiscuses are cheek-by-jowl yet appearing as if intentionally not acknowledging each other, brought to mind the flavorful, strong-willed Southern women characters in short stories by Eudora Welty.

Please come see these images bigger than life at the exhibit, as they show detail you just cannot see on your small screen. Mark your calendar for “The Art of Gardening” and stop by our show. It would be lovely to see you in person at the reception May 10th, in the offices of Windermere Realty, 4526 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116, 6-9 pm.



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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Planning. Declaring.




Looking out from the the top of Seattle’s Space Needle recently, I started one of the important exercises in planning for my 2012. This was part of the annual all-day workshop led by Locomotive Partners, helping about twenty people like me get a jump on focus, relevance and efficiency for the year. 

Not surprisingly, art is the focus for me. Leaving behind my relative successes in the San Francisco Bay Area a few months ago and now ensconced in Seattle, means I need to work smart-hard to make it happen here.

See, being an artist is tougher than you’d think. There is not only the pressure to generate creative concepts, demonstrate talent, and produce a big body of work, but behind the scenes we have to network just as much as anyone in business, research appropriate venues, promote constantly, pitch even when it isn’t easy, wrap and deliver carefully, re-learn ever-changing technology, find the right sources for our materials, oh and don’t forget to network constantly, generate new concepts, rinse and repeat. 

You can see where the planning can come in handy, even for those of us right brain types who prefer to tango spontaneously with our muse rather than do calisthenics with the other hemisphere. It is absolutely clear to me that my passion is to create things, to be creative, to be in the creative process. My goal for 2012 is to make my art life even more fulfilling and enriching at every level. I am declaring right here, this is how I intend to do it:

Intention #1: Create a body of great new work.

“Success isn’t getting up and working on the days you feel like it. It’s getting up and working on the days you don’t feel like it.” So says Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, reminding us online that creating a body of work is not waiting for the muse. It’s about putting yourself in the seat and doing the work so that when the muse shows up, you’re already there. It’s time for me to do to pay more attention to this again. The truth is, I am happiest when I am creating, so how hard can it be to honor this commitment?

Intention #2: Finding one or more relevant galleries to show in regularly.

Having previously shown in many galleries and even been a partner in a fine art photography gallery in the San Francisco Bay Area, I know the benefits of being a part of one. It adds positive pressure to create new and better works, produce regularly, and have a consistent portfolio that one’s audience can embrace. (I am going back to the convergent digital medium for which I have become known and in which I have developed my own technique and style.) Plus, the right galleries are good venues for my work to be seen and acquired by a wider public. I am actively looking for suggestions and referrals for galleries in the Pacific Northwest, so maybe think a minute and introduce me to someone you know? 

Intention #3: Sell work through online venues, including my own website (to come).

That my art can generate income is sometimes an indicator of being taken seriously out there, and the funds help me to invest in software, hardware, classes and materials so I can continue to improve. This year, I intend to rely on not just shows and friend-support  (thank you to all for your past purchases; they were most helpful), but am looking at other possibilities. That includes finally completing a real website beyond this blog, and participating in other online venues to sell. Until then, if you are interested in any of my limited edition works, feel free to email me.

Intention #4: Become an integral part of the Seattle Art Community.

One of the most important aspects for my life is to feel connected. Having moved to Seattle just a few months ago, it feels in many ways like I am starting over with becoming part of a local art community. This time, though, I know methods for making new connections efficiently. Meeting new artist friends through personal introductions is the best – so if you have suggestions, I'd love to hear them. I also have met several really great folks here through MeetUp, an amazing online, free and easy resource. Plus, to have a friend, one has to be a friend, and I make that my mantra no matter where I go or what I do. (Let me know how I can help you?)

Intention #5: Giving to my community

In past decades I have supported numerous worthwhile nonprofit organizations by volunteer work, in-kind donations or funding. Now I am looking at groups here in Seattle to work with and have initial thoughts about how I can be involved in a way that is relevant to me as well as to the constituents. I’ll write more about that as it evolves. 

So, throughout the year I will let you know how I do with living my intentions. Check back sometimes. And I mean it when I say I am open for help: we all need each other's support and we artists really, really appreciate it. Thank you!


Acknowledgements
I want to give a shout out to Ally Richtermy artist friend and a fellow Public Art Commissioner in Palo Alto (she took over the Chair when I left). Ally is incredibly generous with her time and info in addition to being a fine encaustic painter. She inspires me. 
Another resource I have recently discovered is Chris Guillebeau, whose "Art of Non-Conformity Blog" is worth checking out.

Note to images
Yellow Melons is a portrait of two yellow melons and a fat lime given to me by my neighbor after she brought them home from the Korean market. They were as sweet and delicious as they were compellingly beautiful. I created them with convergent digital media. This term describes a melding, or convergence, of various software and techniques to create original digital art. Staging each carefully with a variety of objects, I use traditional and non-traditional photographic techniques and a variety of digital imaging software to create my pieces (mostly Photoshop).

Nigella Play is many layers of digital images of an exotic-looking, but actually humble plant that grows like a weed, nigella. This piece is printed with transparent inks on a 34" x 24" rigid aluminum panel with a floating frame. Because of the aluminum, when light shines on the piece, it just glows. It always makes me think of an octopus's garden. It's one of my favorites and I have it over my mantle. It's available to be over yours.



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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Not a typist

When I was in high school in the '60's, my dad encouraged me to take typing lessons so I "could always get a job." I refused. Just didn't every want to be a secretary. Not me.

So it's ironic that as an artist I love the art of type so much. And with the computer (upon whose keyboard I still type with only four fingers), one can play with type all day long.

It's especially ironic that I have reverted back to the family heirloom typewriter, the pre-WWII Royal which I used to type long letters, school essays, and poetry for many years, to generate letters to use as fodder for my current Type Studies.

The process is simple but very fun: type the alphabet and scan it, choose a letter, play with it in Photoshop until it has the quality I seek, print it big, mount it on a cradled board, then apply encaustic wax layers.

BTW, encaustic wax is beeswax with resin and sometimes pigment. The natural color, sort of a milky white with a bit of yellow, has a lot of opportunity for visual interest by itself, but then color is fun to play with too. So far, my goal for these studies has been to focus on the unfocused letter shape, with the wax layers being the adjective that modifies it.



One of the things I love about this process is that it is definitely an artistic process in which surpise and delight abound. Not only that, but the physical nature of  working with the hot wax is so sensually satisfying – and a great antidote to the cerebral environment of working with pixels (my other work).




















Note to images: the D is 16" x 20" and all others shown here are 6" x 6".











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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hey

    Much of my work that I post here are those with organic subjects, but sometimes I do branch out beyond the dried twig. This time I chose to work with a bit of technology, challenging myself to create an image that is not only conceptual but also demonstrates that we can see things anew if we just look at them differently.
 
    In case you don't recognize the object, it is a mobile phone. The text was created with a couple of additional layers, capturing actual vernacular from texts I have received from my teen son. To render them, I used the pre-WWII Royal typewriter inherited from my parents, and which I used extensively while a teen myself to write poetry and letters, way before we even imagined anything like a computer, Photoshop, or layers, not to mention cell phones.
 
     More layers were added, thanks to images lifted from my grandfather's 1918 copy of Anatomy of A Human Body by Henry Gray, F.R.S. (Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons). The tome is commonly known as Gray's Anatomy and this 20th edition was "Thoroughly Revised and Re-edited" by Warren H Lewis, B.S., M.D. The book, some 2.75" thick and which is fraying a bit around the edges, cost my grandfather $9. He used it at dental school in Berkeley, California, almost a century ago, after which we built a successful  practice in Bakersfield. I daresay he would not have approved of teen use of cellphones, nor of my choice of one of Gray's illustrations, the innocent prostate gland, positioned just under the illustration of the brain. Well, just think conceptually.



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Friday, November 04, 2011

Santiago. For the second time in two days, I visited Mavi, the Museo de Artes Visuales, a rather small museum downtown Santiago. One of my biggest thrills about being here in Chile is finding that I can see more works by Chilean painter Roberto Matta. Mavi promised several in its current exhibition titled "La Coleccion."

Last summer in Madrid, my discovery of Matta for my first time was life-changing for me and he immediately ensconced himself and Numero Uno on my list of favorite visual artists. Alas, I cannot include any of his images here for you because I respect copyright laws and ethics, but you can easily do a search for Roberto Matta images and get a gist of his work. What you cannot see online, though, is how intricate and how amazingly layered his paintings and drawings are...not to mention their often-gargantuan sizes and the sometimes glowing colors. They really are worth the effort to track them down in person.

What is it about Matta's work that is so compelling? Layers. He must have invented the concept of layers in visual art. His expression using so many different layers is immediate, both clarifying visions and making them mysterious at the same time. While I am a Photoshop afficionada, partly because of its power in working in layers, I see the difference, though: Photoshop is about piling layers on top of each other to show differing elements through each other. Matta's use of layers is to depict six related points of view at the same time.

How can this be possible? Well, "getting" this concept is precisely the best thing about the Mavi exhibit. It was demonstrated by a small lucite cube with a ganglia of (what may have been representing) neurons glowing in the middle. On every side of the cube were simple linear sketches depicting Matta-type concepts. The wall tag explained that this small maquette reveals in 3D Matta's intentions with his 3D paintings to show all of what he sees around him, not just one point of view. It is different from, say, Picasso's efforts to show various points of view of an object, as Picasso's are external; Matta is, instead, in the middle of what he is painting. 

It results in extraordinary works. Even before seeing the lucite cube (which I will never forget), I was telling my companion how I saw so many layers in Matta's work, as if he had worked painting on top of painting and you could see through all of them. Or that he was like Dali, only much more dimensional and pushing Dali to the nth. So, something as simple as the little model added a new way of thinking to my little maquette of ganglia, which I hope will glow some more and maybe take off in all directions. 

It is for reasons like this that I travel.

Note: the image of my own, Curtain Call, that I am including in this post pales in comparison to Matta's work. Of course. It is a small offering of something for you to look at, just because I cannot include his.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Auspicious Beginning


Nursery Rhyme
Thank you, Pacific Northwest! Being named a winner of the City of SeaTac's annual Photo/Art Exhibit after only a month as a resident of Seattle, is really encouraging. Not only is my Nursery Rhyme a winner in the contest, but they are acquiring it for the city’s art collection. Plus I am invited to accept the “purchase award” from the mayor at City Hall and present the meaning behind my work....

My childhood was rich in ways that matter. The little girl on those eggs in the nest was me. My parents encouraged me always to express myself as an independent, thinking, creative being, and embraced my love of the arts. A seminal activity in my early years was hearing and reading stories –beginning with nursery rhymes, fairy tales and family history. I think my creative fantasy began there, nurtured by the warmth of acceptance and stimulation. I wish the same for every child, and challenge all of us to be mentors and champions for all children.

Needless to say, I am pleased as punch about this positive reception by the Pacific Northwest as I settle into this community. One of the reasons I am excited to move here is because this area embraces the arts and artists in a big way. If you are a regular reader of GardenPoet, you will probably start to notice a renewal in my commitment to writing about local arts, simply because the scene here is strongly compelling. 

As a start, let me invite you to the City of SeaTac Photo Exhibit, which has already started and runs through October 28. You can find it at City Hall, 4800 South 188th Street, SeaTac, first and third floors, weekdays, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.
*
 If you wish to have a limited-edition print of Nursery Rhyme hanging on your wall as a daily reminder of these tenets, it is available as a pigment print on archival paper, titled, numbered and signed, ready for your favorite framing. I check each print personally to make sure the color and quality is the best. Sizes and pricing (includes first class shipping in an art tube): 
10" x 10" image on 11" x 17" stock, $310; 
12" x 12" image on 13" x 19" stock, $410; 
or 16" x 16" image on 17" x 22" stock, $560. 
Washington residents please add 10% tax. 
To order, just email me, with your mailing address and the size you wish. 
Questions welcomed.
: )

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thank you, Palo Alto

Great Expectations
This year I have already done quite a bit of traveling: to Sydney twice, and a goodly trip to Spain. Lots of inspiring art and wonderful people in both places. On top of it all, we moved to Seattle in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest. Here our home has a huge view of Puget Sound and my studio, which is as yet only half unpacked, is roomy and cozy at the same time. Perfect for me, conflicted artist that I am.

I already love being here, but before I launch into this new life, I want to give a farewell nod to Palo Alto, where I lived for over a decade, helping to raise two fine boys, deepening a loving teamwork with my dear husband and... finding increasing satisfaction with art as career and passion. Just a few of my activities there included three years of interesting hard work on the Palo Alto Public Art Commission (even honored by being elected Chair just prior to our deciding to move away), being a gallery partner, being a founding art photographer of an excellent group that offers workshops and Meetups, being a member of two collective galleries, exhibiting in numerous solo and collective shows in galleries and corporate offices, belonging to WCA and establishing a going business in selling my limited editions. I must admit, though, one of my favorite memories of creating/showing art in Palo Alto was my garage door street art that caused more than a dozen spontaneous visits by neighbors and strangers alike to dialogue about it. (Now that's what art should do.)

Pi Door

Thank you, Palo Alto. It was a good life. I have so many good memories of my time there.

As a thank you, I have left behind with the new Public Art Commission Chair, Dr. Ally Richter (an accomplished artist herself), a gift I would like to donate for the city's art collection: one of my seminal pieces, Great Expectations.

This blog post is a message to the remaining art commissioners (Hi, everybody!) by way of explanation, as they must vote collectively whether to accept the gift or not. Voila the explanation:
Great Expectations is one of the few pieces I consider a turning point in my art process and portfolio. While art has been an integral part of my life about as long as I can remember, it was in Palo Alto creating Great Expectations, Call of The WildHole In The Soul, Left & Right and a few others, that I really found my way of expressing concepts through a technique mixing photography,  Photoshop and SketchBook Pro, focusing on organic materials and unexpected composition as a means for that expression.

As to the meaning of Great Expectations itself, I'd like to hear what it means to you instead of pontificating. The first time I showed this publicly, I was closely touched by listening to the comments from a few viewers, one in particular who saw it as a visual treatise on his recent difficult years. I will never forget that evening, listening to him talk emotionally about it; I will never forget how really listening to others about what resonates with them gives me meaning no matter what my original intentions (or personal drive) to create the art in the first place. It's a good lesson for all of us and one that I daresay, I learned repeatedly as a Public Art Commissioner...and hope that you, Commissioners, and I, as a continuing private artist, will apply whenever we can.

So, Commissioners, if you are reading this, please accept my gratitude for the eye-opening experiences of working with you on the Public Art Commission, and for your patience with me as I fumbled through. It was one of the best things I will remember about Palo Alto.  : )


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Monday, May 16, 2011

Naming Things

























The last few years have seen me traveling quite a bit: Spain, Finland, Norway, China, Italy, Australia. This means I have opportunities of seeing art in many new ways, which sometimes even changes my methods of seeing things or expressing concepts.

Another richness in life for me is Words. I loves them words, every-
where, any
tongue,
any
dialect.
This piece,
which I
just now
put the
final
Photo-
shop
touches on (after completing the SketchbookPro work), is meant to express the essence of life – which, if you think about it, is everything under the sun.  So I am calling it Sous Le Soleil. Here is also a detail of it so you can see some of the words I chose, derived as bits of my own world and in my own hand.



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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Think About Our Future

It is clear to me that one of the reasons I create art is to remind all of us that there is beauty in the world. Sadly and too often the events du jour result in the beauty being visible only in the minutia around us, but if we look hard enough it is still there to enjoy. Despite my positive intentions, once in a while I create an image that reflects a negative event that impact us globally. Here are two.

The first is titled White Radiation. You'd have to have your consciousness in a black hole not to guess that this is about the continuing leakage of toxic radiation emanating from Fukushima.

The inspiration for this piece came while working with a white Icelandic poppy that was covered in droplets of dew early in a recent morning. Just trying to make the glittering poppy shine on the screen the way it did in the garden somehow brought out this unsettling expression. The very thought of the radiation continuing unchecked is unsettling, so this works.

The second is one I created two or three months before the ginormous Gulf oil spill, courtesy of BP. Perhaps this was a premonition? (Dr. Leonard Shlain posits in Art and Physics that artists through the centuries have often expressed scientific theories before the scientists themselves posited them.)

It was inspired by shells I had collected on the beach just south of Santa Barbara, an area that itself was covered in oil in the 60s. Even though the oil company responsible cleaned up the beaches as best they could, ever since then globs of oil and tar befoul those once-pristine beaches anyway. Still, every time we walk there, we have to clean our feet or shoes with some other toxic element to get the smelly, gooey tarry stuff off. One can only wonder what it does to the health of wildlife, from the most tiny to the large. Having seen the continuing degradation of our California coast because of the continuing drilling and pumping, I shake my head in deep sadness about the Gulf's future.

The second is titled Think About Our Future. I sure wish that the leaders of governments and big companies would think more about that.


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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Building A Community of Photo Souls


One of the things that is meaningful to me about being a part of the art community (and I include photo-graphy here too) is that most artists are generous. It feels good. And that is demonstrated partly by the willingness to help others grow their own creativity.

Just for that reason I recently joined a group as one of the five founding photographers and instructors of Hold The Eye Images. I hadn’t expected to do anything like this ever. But the idea of sharing my ideas about creativity and fine art photography in a workshop setting, along with this group of highly skilled photographers and all-round great guys, was too exciting to pass up.

We call our group Hold The Eye Images and today we launched our offering at www.hteiw.com. It’s been fun building a roster of workshops that address a variety of interests and skill levels, because I kept envisioning people I know who love photography and would enjoy learning from Bill, Mike, Rick and John ~ and maybe even get a kick out of the workshop I am leading, “Unleashing Your Creativity.”

So what we are doing now is publishing the first round at “introductory pricing” hoping it will tantalize a few to join us. And when I say “a few,” I mean just that: our intention is to keep each of these workshops to only 12 participants because we want to make sure everybody gets the kind of personal attention that it takes to really absorb this stuff. (I’ve been in workshops that have many tens or hundreds and frankly they suck. The expertise demonstrated might be awesome but I leave wondering what I actually learned.) Plus, every Hold The Eye Images workshop participant will have the opportunity to have a personal critique of images s/he creates during the session, which is really a valuable proposition for an artist of any level.

Hold The Eye Images is located in a freshly-appointed and full-of-natural-light studio at 1044 Dell Avenue, Campbell, California, near Highways 17 and 85. We’ve got a range of studio lights and, this is what makes me drool, a humungous Epson 9900 printer.

And, maybe the most important thing that we are doing is building a community for photographers who want to be a part of something where they can learn, meet others, be inspired and have fun



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Friday, March 11, 2011

Treat yourself to a lovely day for a change.


Time to 'fess up...
I’m excited about showing in Monterey!

Indeedy, my work is featured in Transience, March 15 through April 15 at The Gallery of Monterey Peninsula College, along with sculptures by Annaliese Vobis. Please join our reception on Saint Patrick’s Day, Thursday March 17, 12:30- 2 pm, with artists’ talks at 1 pm. Wearing green is completely optional, but do bring 4 silvery-like quarters for the parking lot.

Yes, it is a bit of a drive from the SF Peninsula, but it is frankly quite beautiful—tree-lined highways, bucolic farmlands, the ocean with inspiring surf, and quaint sights that we usually don’t get to enjoy staying stuck in the suburbs. Treat yourself to a lovely day for a change. [Driving directions are at the bottom of this post. Need bicycling directions? You're on your own.]
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Notes on this image: I call this one "Vogue" because it reminds me of the highly stylized, innovative fashion photos that Richard Avedon took for Vogue and Bazaar magazines in the 60's. His beautiful work influenced my thinking in composition and taking creative risks.
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Driving directions to The Gallery of Monterey Peninsula College: as you come down Highway 1 from the north, take the 401 exit Aguajito Road toward Monterey, keep left at the fork and follow signs for the college, which merges you onto Fremont. Turn left at Via Mirada, then take the 1st left onto Fishnet Road. Go a long block into the campus and you will see the art gallery across a parking lot on your left. It looks like a big white cube, but is very nice space inside for art.







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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Get Down, O Creative One

Yes, I use my iPhone camera extensively. It’s easy and always on my person, so...click. Clickclick. Clickclickclick. Probably my favorite way to play with it is with the app Autostitch. This seemingly simplistic app melds photos together to make instant panoramas.

Most people see it as a way to make lushly wide landscapes, much as I used it to make the beach shot in my last post. It is good for that, but I am not one to ever just accept the conventional and instead have pushed it to several levels to create a new way of playing.

Take for example this early pano out the windows at the Kiasma Museum in Helsinki. I married three fairly mundane shots and made something way more interesting. (It helped having the window frame curve, but you have to look for good fodder to start with.) Being able to replicate the magnificent surprise I felt upon stumbling on this view was most satisfying.


Very recently, I was wandering downtown Sydney, and after appointments headed to a shady bench at Hyde Park. We were having a heat wave (it’s summer there now, remember) with temperatures over 100º with everyone sporting flipflops and bare legs. I held my iPhone in front of me and pretended to text, but caught images of passersby trying for two, three, or four shots of them as they walked the path in front of me, then stitched them together.

Another example of something similar is this time-lapse pano of my Sidneysider friend walking her young granddaughter up the trail stairs.

I can’t say any of it is great photography, but it does keep this itinerant artist amused over and over. And the best thing is, this kind of practice in being creative pays off as it surely helps me be more playful and innovative in my studio work.





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Saturday, February 05, 2011

Australia, Aussies, Art and Aboriginal


Sydney is a darling of a city. 

Aussies are an enthusiastic mix of energy, humor, earnestness, appreciation and fun – at least the crowd I have been spending time with, and for those specifically, let’s also add intelligent, kind and generous. It’s the kind of folk one would want to live amongst, and I have been lucky enough to have a 7-week stint at doing just that.

Thanks to our hosts, the Golsby-Smiths, for making available to us a lovely small cottage in Lindfield, one of the nicer suburbs of Sydney and right on the train line, I haven’t had to spend too much time with dealing with the hassles of everyday living logistics. (In fact right now I am waiting for Annie G-S to make me a morning cappuccino on her shiny giant espresso maker...ooo, she even brought it to me. No wonder I adore Sydneyites.) For that, I am especially lucky: rent and just finding a decent place to live here is exceptionally tough and the topic of many a local news article.

My focus here has been, of course, learning about art here. While there is a vibrant community of contemporary artists, the genre I have been interested in for many years is Aboriginal Art. There is a lot to learn about it, and many sources in print, museums, galleries and people to illuminate any avid student. I started even before leaving Stateside by reading Bruce Chatwin’s The Songlines, a book well known here but I found poorly written and only for beginners (such as I have been).

An even better print resource has been McCullouch’s Contemporary Aboriginal Art by Susan McCulloch and Emily McCulloch Childs. This is a good summary tracing Aboriginal painting and sculpture from its beginnings to the “world class movement” it has become, and how. As I also learned from the excellent display of Aboriginal paintings at the Seattle Art Museum, Aboriginals first learned to paint in the 1950s, thanks to encouragement from white folks who also supplied them with acrylics and canvas. A bit of a surprise, eh?

Of course, their expressions were painted for centuries on rock, bark, skin and various objects such as grave markers. Many good examples of earlier work of this type is on exhibit at the Art Gallery of NSW located in Sydney (NSW = New South Wales, the state we are in). The exhibits here also extend in time to contemporary Aboriginal art much of which starts to appear more typical of art as we know it, even appearing like the graphics in manga.

What I find interesting about my reaction to Aboriginal art is that, as much as I have wanted to learn about it for so long, I like it best when I know less. Aboriginal art is very complicated, deeply full of meaning about the creation of the earth and all animal-kind, as well as reality of now, geography, family ties, mythology and more. A simplified term for the concept is "Dreaming," but it is way more dimensional than that. So, what surprises me is that what I like about it is just the visual aspect, and the more abstract and pattern-like the better.

I’ll write more about it soon. For now, though, I'll add to this post a panorama shot of Byron Bay. Not exactly Sydney, but it was the start of our experiencing numerous beaches in this gorgeous continent. The ones around Sydney are awesome too-- Curl Curl, Dee Why, Manley...Well worth traveling around the world for, if not the art.

MY ART RECEPTION – FEBRUARY 25 4-7 PM
Speaking of my own work, the Los Gatos law firm of Carnay, Sugai & Sudweeks LLP has generously provided its office for me to do a solo show and are hosting a reception for me on February 25, 4-7 pm. Please come!  750 University Ave., Suite 140, Los Gatos CA.  To RSVP: receptionist@css-lawfirm.com.


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