Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Prairie Walk
acrylic on canvas

Blue Sky
acrylic on canvas
 These are the 2 latest landscapes. Blue Sky is just off the easel this morning. I'm really getting into doing these scenes. I have a little 8x10 started and a 16x16 canvas that I prepped today. I added both of these new ones to the Etsy shop. I love being on a roll in the studio. Now if I could just figure out how to clone myself so I can send the other me to teach the classes, run the shop, mail the packages, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.......

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

From Jersey to Florida

Today was stay in the studio and paint day. I needed a day to create with no interruptions. It's been difficult lately to have a span of time to really focus so since Kelli was able to open the studio for us today I was able to stay home where it's peaceful and quiet. Well.... quiet except for the Sopranos. I've got all the seasons on DVD so Tony and Carmela keep me company when I work. 

While the tv was taking me back to my state of origin (thankfully location is the only thing I have in common with the characters on the Sopranos) I was making a landscape from FL, the state I've called home for the last 39 years. Years ago I did a series of colored pencil paintings of Paynes Prairie. I felt like revisiting those scenes in a different way so I pulled out my references and my acrylics. My first step was to texture the canvas with Super Heavy Gesso and then I toned it with orange acrylic.

 After sketching in the basic shapes with a white charcoal pencil I started blocking in color on the background trees and foreground grasses. I love, love, love, painting landscapes on hot color backgrounds.

Adding sky and more foliage. I used some of the sky color to soften the greens.

Time for tree trunks and branches.

Finishing.... warming up some of the greens in the foreground, adding highlights on the trees and punching up the yellow in the foreground where the sunlight is coming through the trees. The icing on the cake is pushing the values in the darks and lights.

Overall, I'd say it was a good productive day. I'm ready to start on the next one.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Paper Party

Say Something
Mixed media on canvas

This painting is part of a series I've been working on called Body of Work. The reason I'm posting this particular piece tonight is I just got back from Gainesville where I attended a party for the 25th Anniversary celebration of the magazine Hand Papermaking. Amy Richard was kind enough to throw this little bash and I loved it! There was fun, hands on papermaking going on outside, great food inside (black beans, yellow rice and empanadas - what's not to love!) and a fabulous presentation by Steve Miller from the University of Alabama about a handmade book project he did in collaboration with the artists in Havana Cuba.

Ok, so what does that have to do with the painting above? The section of blue to the left of the face is paper made from denim. An artist here in Ocala made this paper from jeans that my mother gave her. It was so soft and wonderful that I knew I had to use it somewhere in my work.

I'm one of those people who loves paper. I love to feel it, smell it, hold it, buy it, paint and draw on it, tear it, cut it up and glue it in collages, attach it to canvases. I want stacks and stacks of all varieties of paper at my disposal at all times so that it can satisfy whatever creative whim is smacking me upside the head at that moment. Being one of those people you'd think I would be a paper maker by now but I've never actually done it. I've always been interested in it but there's only so many hours in the day and only so much square footage in the studio. 

Kelli is the one who invited me to this shindig (she actually has made paper) and on the way home we got to reminiscing about our college days in the art programs of our respective schools. That trip down memory lane reminded us of our need to get back to the fun of art again. Back then our main responsibilities were making sure our student loans came through and making it to class on time (she was dealing with the Michigan winters and I went to the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale and back then it was right on the beach - she may have more paper making experience but hey.... I went to art school in my bathing suit!) When we got to our art classes we were totally absorbed in the work. We could sink into the experience fully and really be creative from the core without thinking about paying studio overhead, making the commission deadline or paying the mortgage. How long has it been since we created simply for the joy of it without worrying about whether or not there was a market for what we were creating? I've had snippets of that feeling here and there but not for any real extended period of time. Since we opened our studio last May we've been very focused on teaching and selling - nothing wrong with that and that is what's necessary to make it but sometimes we need reminders about why we do what we do. We need to get back to the joy of the process and remember to spend some time playing. Just as children learn to live through play, artists learn to paint through play. Being in another artist's studio tonight, seeing another person's process in an art form that I don't work in but I do have a desire to learn, really gets the creative juices flowing again. Even if I don't get to make paper any time soon, I still feel energized by tonight and am excited about the potential of what's waiting to happen in the studio.

Wherever you are, whatever you create, take the time to enjoy it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Art Speaking?

 It should be added that the reductive quality of the facture notates the accessibility of the work. 
 I'm surprised that no one's mentioned yet that the iconicity of the purity of line brings within the realm of discourse the inherent overspecificity. 
As an advocate of the Big Mac Aesthetic, I feel that the disjunctive perturbation of the sexual signifier visually and conceptually activates the substructure of critical thinking.
It should be added that the subaqueous qualities of the sexy fish spatially undermines the larger carcass. 

I just couldn't resist. I had to generate some "art speak" for these mini abstracts I did this week. I was in the process of making new work to add to the Etsy shop when I came across this blog post by Eric Armusik. I love what he had to say about what he calls ABS ~

"If you haven't heard me before on the subject, I have a big problem with art speak.  I've even given it an acronym: ABS - Artist Bull Sh*tting.  I hate it, and it is rampant in our profession.  In the 19th Century and before, artists spent their time honing their technical skills.  Today artists spend their time reading theory and looking for inanimate objects to trick everyone into believing they are art."

Many times when I see some of the ridiculous paragraphs that accompany artwork I just shake my head and wonder who comes up with this crap? Sometimes it's the artist but sometimes I think it's the critics who write about the artists and their work. Of course this is seen much more often next to abstract or non-objective work. Why does it always have to have an explanation? I paint in realism and also enjoy painting mixed media abstracts. Do I feel like I have to explain my abstract work? No. Sometimes the reason behind the work is simply that I love texture. I love design. I love certain color combinations. It really is that simple. No ABS needed.

How did I come up with the ABS that I added under each of these little abstracts? By using The Instant Art Critique Phrase Generator. A friend of mine shared this gem with me and I found it quite amusing. The numbers under each painting are the numbers used to generate the CRAP - Critical Response to the Art Product. Give this a try for a good chuckle. 

Thanks Eric for sharing your insights on the ABS. The rest of us who feel the same way appreciate it.

PS: the CRAP that generated for the last little piece with the fish was complete coincidence! I was amazed when I plugged in those numbers at random it came up with a line about a fish.