It is hard to believe that it is nearly time for the Studio Tour! The 10th Annual South Orange Maplewood Studio Tour is happening from 11 AM – 5 PM on Sunday, June 2nd. The event is free and my studio will be one of many open to the public. It is a fantastic event and a fun, art-filled way to spend the day. If you are in the area, please come by, say hello and see my studio and new drawings!
Courtesy of the SOMA Studio Tour, here is a short video interview with me talking about my self-portraits and being a part of the South Orange – Maplewood arts community:
INDA 7, Manifest Gallery’s drawing annual is now available. I just received my copy in the mail and it is a beautiful book. My image Coelacanth is one of 126 works included in this edition. (I was excited to find out that I will also have a drawing included in next year’s INDA 8!)
Last, but not least…TEDxUGA
I was invited to participate in TEDxUGA – an independently organized TED event at the University of Georgia (my alma mater in my beloved hometown of Athens, GA). My video from the event has been posted here. Every presenter had such vibrant ideas to share; there was energy from simply being in the room during the presentations that was inspiring! I recommend attending a TEDx if you have the opportunity.
I feel somehow centered and refocused right now, when I had been feeling a bit adrift a few months ago. I came home after TEDx and started a new drawing the next day – impulsively and ardently – and I am thrilled about what I am working on in the studio. I am nearly finished with this new self-portrait drawing – I should be able to post a picture sometime next week.
And, after nearly a year of on-and-off working on a large drawing (my 5 x 3 foot “Sybil”), this will likely be done within a month or so, too. This piece has been difficult, not only for technical demands, but because something was lacking. I have really been passionate about the idea since the beginning, however the drawing felt unresolved until last week: while discussing the piece with a fellow artist/mentor, the solution came to me in such an Aha-Erlebnis! moment that it took me by surprise. Now, I cannot wait for this one to be done, too!
One thing at a time, though…and the studio has to be clean and ready for the studio tour which is only about three weeks away…
2013 is nicely underway and I have been busy in the studio, but the large drawing that I have been working on since late last summer is presenting me with a low threshold for studio fatigue; I have noticed that I can do about 20 or so hours of drawing and then I have to make something else for a few days, after which I readily go back to the larger drawing. I am happy with the piece – it is not a lack of interest – and I want it finished, so I suspect this has to do with the technical and perspective demands. Oh, I will draw veins, bark, leaves, sky, flesh, bone and fabric with an unrestrained and endless enthusiasm. However, a typewriter, ellipses, and cables do not fall into the enthusiasm category, and periodic breaks are in order.
My most recent diversion from the drawing has been to make a set of nesting dolls.
A few years ago, a fellow artist in my critique group gave me a do-it-yourself matryoshka doll kit, and I recall her telling me to do “something interesting” with them:
Since then, I have had the merry little box on the studio shelf and I knew that I would get around to it when I was hit with an idea. As I – once again – approached the edge of my typewriter threshold, my eyes landed on the box and, no doubt compelled by the compulsion to avoid another typewriter key, I felt suddenly inspired:
What is wonderful about the matroyshka dolls is that they are so conceptually ideal – fitting together in layers like onion skin, each one opening to reveal the doll underneath – an interesting medium for a self-portrait. I have no doubt that this little doll project is a study or stepping stone to something that will be larger and more refined (these are tiny – ranging from 1.8 to 5.25 inches)…and definitely something drawn…I am mulling the possibilities.
In the meantime, below are photos of the dolls, one-by-one with some multiple views. By the way, I do not envy anyone who has to photograph sculptural work – particularly if it is shiny (ugh - I thought drawings were difficult to photograph). First up, the main doll (and yes, all the others fit inside this one) which I think of as Self-Portrait at 43 :
The first inner layer:
The next inner layer:
Last (but certainly not least):
The dolls are not quite finished – I will put a final glossy varnish on the set in a week or so, conveniently at just about the time I need another break from the large drawing.
(By the way, I went for the full Russian experience and decided to simultaneously listen to a beautifully researched biography on Catherine the Great, which I highly recommend for anyone who shares my penchant for female historical monarchs.)
I will be exhibiting two new drawings in a show in Troy, NY, opening in late March. The show, titled Beautifully Strange, will also have an exhibition catalogue and there is currently a blog previewing the artists in the show.
BANG is back and this year I will be showing 7 of my Strange Tales as well as giclees of drawings and antique key necklaces that are mostly made from beads left over from all of the beaded drawings I have been doing lately:
The press release:
1978 Maplewood Arts Center Presents Bang VII: A Small Artworks Exhibition and Sale
1978 Maplewood Arts Center in Maplewood, New Jersey, is pleased to present the 7th Annual Buy Art Now Guys!(BANG VII) an exhibition featuring small scale original artwork by over 40 local and regional artists. The exhibition will be open on December 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th, from 11 AM to 5 PM each day. Many of the artists will be present during the exhibit to meet the public and answer questions about their artwork.
The artwork featured in BANG VII will include paintings, photographs, sculptures, prints, ceramics, jewelry, note cards, drawings and more. All artwork for this exhibit is affordably priced for giving and for collecting.
A member’s preview for Friends of 1978 will be held on Friday, November 30th from 7 – 9 PM. Anyone interested in becoming a Friend of 1978 is welcome to attend this event. New memberships will be accepted at the door. Please visit www.1978ArtsCenter.org for more information about memberships and upcoming exhibitions and classes.
20% of all sales from BANG VII will go to 1978 to support the exhibits and community projects presented by the arts center throughout the year.
1978 is located at 1978 Springfield Avenue in Maplewood, New Jersey.
Generally, if I am not blogging it is because I am fully engaged with my studio work and not stepping back to process and reflect. It is a good place to be creatively, but in the virtual world, it looks like I have dropped off the planet. In fact, I think my feedburner does not even recognize me anymore.
So, in a meager attempt to nurture a virtual presence, a little studio update is in order:
For the first time in ages, I am working on four simultaneous pieces; the large 5 x 3 foot Sybil, plus three smaller pieces (around 18 x 24). I have spent most of the summer on the Sybil and have completed the figure:
This piece also involves drawing a typewriter and for a reference I am using a 1930s Remington that belonged to my great aunt Sara during her WWII typing years. Oh, typewriter, in you I have met my drawing match: mechanical objects are not my passion – I can draw fabric and veins without much effort, but the angles and planes of the typewriter are a nice new challenge:
In addition to the Sybil, I have three smaller drawings that I want to have completed by November for a show scheduled for early next year. Pragmatic thinking about the time that would be involved for finishing the Sybil made me realize that I had to put her aside for a while. I have at least 200 more hours of drawing ahead on that piece (perhaps more…I seem to be drawing slower and slower as time goes by). Oh, just as well…
The three smaller drawings are based on Strange Talesfrom earlier this year (one of which is still unfinished). For the most part, I consider the Strange Tales terminal pieces and not studies: these are sketch ideas that were never intended as larger drawings, rather ideas that were interesting enough to engage me so I fleshed them out into little sketchbook drawings. But, something about these three Strange Tales compelled me to make them bigger, each of them embodying a mystical southern quality that harks back to my love of narrative. Plus, I want more detail and refinement and a larger scale so I can embellish them with gold leaf and beading. The first is Leora which now has its gold leaf and is ready for beading:
The second is based on Beatrice, still in progress:
And, at some point in the next month, I will start the third…detail pictures to come as that one is underway.
Oh, and here are my beads - laid out and ready for stitching into the separate drawings (each drawing will have slightly different beadwork):
Oh, shiny things, how I do love thee! From bottom to top: freshwater pearls, citrine, vintage hungarian glass beads, peridot, tubes of colored glass beads
(Needless to say, I have a nice little stash of beads left over after finishing each of the beaded drawings, so I have taken up beading necklaces with the excess.)
Although I am eager to work on the large Sybil drawing, I don’t mind having a more attainable sense gratification from finishing a few smaller pieces in the span of 4 – 5 months, particularly since over half of 2011 and a fair chunk of 2012 was spent on one drawing.
As stated in my favorite out-of-context line of poetry: “art is long and time is fleeting…” (with sincere apologies to Longfellow for hijacking of original intent).
Taboo, a group show curated by Jon Beinart opens at Last Rites Gallery in NYC this Saturday, June 7th. I am delighted to have a painting included in this exhibition alongside the artwork of some of my favorite contemporary painters. Jon Beinart’s statement is the best summary:
“Works featured in this exhibition explore the theme unashamedly, fearlessly and sometimes with humour. Breaking the “taboo” is usually considered objectionable by society, whether it be a violation of something held sacred or a threat against traditional beliefs. In a society run riot with political correctness, this exhibition has given an exceptional group of artists a forum to challenge, surprise and even confront the public.
Each artist has been selected for their ability to express themselves imaginatively with exceptional technique and uncompromising individuality. The beinArt Surreal Art Collective is testimony to a huge international movement of figurative artists who have resisted current trends in the art world and remained true to their artistic vision.” – Jon Beinart
For this show, I am exhibiting the first of the Botanicae Amatorius paintings. I do like to obsess about the little things, so I obsessed about the framing of this piece – the gouache has to be under glass, so I finally settled on a black shadowbox frame with a deep red background panel, plus I have a nice little brass plaque for the title to give the piece the feel of a traditional botanical:
Truthfully, I do not find the Botanicae paintings as much of a taboo as they are amusing, but there are not many venues that would hang these on the wall, so without a doubt this series fits into the “taboo” category. I like this body of work and I have started the third painting, plus I have a few more studies planned out, but I digress…
The online preview of the artwork on display should be posted later this week, plus there is a nice piece about the show in Hi-Fructose.