Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Own Website

I've enjoying working with It was one of my first forays into the world of the internet. I have also appreciated having my work on for a number of years.

A few days ago, I got a message from Boundless Gallery that they were closing down their online gallery. A few days ago, I started trying to add some images to Blogger in order to write my next blog and the images mysteriously wouldn't upload. I'm guessing it's some kind of glitch in the system, and it's certainly not a crisis for me. But the combination of these two events have gotten me to thinking about creating my own site, with my blog, portfolio, online sales, email marketing and social networking all in one spot.

Figuring out how to go about doing this is kind of overwhelming (being phobic about all things computer). And I'm reluctant to put a lot of time into research–I'd rather be working in my studio. Actually, I'm not sure how to go about finding what I'm looking for anyway.

So I'm going to brood about this for awhile. I'm open to suggestions!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Three Stages of Painting

In progress: part of the Nooks & Crannies series. I'm guessing I'm about half way done with this painting. It's from outside the Tucson International Airport looking in.

I think this one is about half way complete, too. It's from outside the administrative offices at the Phoenix Art Museum, just south of the sculpture garden.

I usually work on a 2 or 3 (sometimes more) paintings at a time. I like it when they are each in a different stage of development. The beginning of a painting takes a different mind set than the middle and the ending is a different thing altogether. So, if I have paintings in different stages, I can try to match the stage with my frame of mind.

In this case, these two are in the (to my mind) awful stage, where you work and work and seem to get nowhere, or if anything, feel like you're going backwards. This can and usually does go on for hours and hours and days and days. Even weeks. It's a slog. It's frustrating. It's boring. It's just plain hard work.

Beginnings are magic. Endings are like fitting the last pieces into a puzzle. Fun, quick and easy. Middles can be pure torture. Although sometimes magic happens during the middle, too. The trick is, you have to be working in order to make anything happen at all.

So I like to be able to intersperse the middles with beginnings and endings. Since I have 2 in the middle, I need to stretch a new canvas, prepare a new panel, and think about what I want to paint next.

Middles are so tough for me, my secret for getting into the studio and applying myself is: licorice and music. It's especially nice if I've just downloaded a new album and have something fresh to listen to. NPR helps, too. Anything to keep me going.

Does this sound romantic to you? Occasionally in this blog, I like to address the misconceptions that many people have about artists. It bothers me when people tell me that being an artist must just be so much fun. Well, it is. But it's also very hard work.

Joanne Mattera's blog is one of my favorites. Her posts include gallery visits in New York and beyond, studio visits, and lots of insights into what's going on in the art world. Of particular interest to me are her Marketing Mondays posts. The post this Monday was about how to define success as an artist. Very interesting, with great comments from her readers, too. Not only do artists need to be making their work, there's a whole art world out there to maneuver through, too. A must read!

While I was photographing my paintings this morning, I glanced to my right and noticed this. Reminds me of the all-white still life set ups many of us who teach art put together for our students. I love how the light is hitting the surfaces. Notice the really cool shadow on the lid of the box on the left side. By the way, this is really random. Has nothing to do with the rest of this post.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

An Unlikely Subject

People who don't make art tend to be curious about where ideas come from and what the creative process is about. Artists tend to be curious about the process other artists go through in making a painting, photograph, sculpture, etc. I think it's unique to every individual.

For me, what usually happens is that I see something that interests me. Like the image above, which is what I see in the morning when I wake up. It lodges somewhere in my brain and ferments there. Often, what intrigues me is not something that anyone else would pay attention to. Sometimes, it never leaves my head and becomes anything physical. Sometimes an idea will brew for years.

What I do know is that I don't have control over what does and what doesn't catch my attention. Yes, I'm perfectly capable of creating paintings that arise from different impulses (like the need to sell the work). The ideal situation is when I make something I want to make and other people are able to see what I saw and want to own it. In a perfect world the two would mesh in a consistent way, and a good living could be made doing what I love.

So, what is likely to happen with that view outside my bedroom window? Beats me. But you can bet that it's in my brain somewhere, stewing around.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Mom's Legacy: a personal painting

My mom died on February 5, 2002 after a long illness. I miss her still. This is a painting I did a few years ago of Mom. I never knew her when she was young. She married late, had me at 38 and my sister at 41. Unusual back in those days. She always seemed pretty old to me. Strangely, I had my younger son Mathew at 38. So I look at him now and at myself and wonder. I don't feel all that old. But I'm the very same age my mother was when I was 21.

When I was going through my parents stuff, I found this picture. I love how the light was striking her, and how happy and healthy she looked. I think my Dad must have taken it when they were in Korea, before they got married (they met in Korea). I mulled about it for a long time. Then I painted the picture above. It's acrylic on paper. The writing on the left and right are transfers of some of Mom's recipes, in her own handwriting. Wonderful cooking was one of the ways she expressed her love for her family.

I thought I'd post this because in a few days it's going to be eight years since she died. The painting is called "Mom's Legacy".

Interestingly, I've come across several calls for entries to shows about art and healing. One is going to be at Tohono Chul, a wonderful garden and art gallery in North Tucson. I suppose the personal work I have done would fall under this category. It'll be interesting to see what kind of work is chosen for this exhibit.