Thursday, May 24, 2012

Busy in the studio

I don't think anything makes me more happy lately than losing track of time spent in my studio. Yesterday I had a marathon canvas prep session and now have eight canvases of various sizes ready to paint – so satisfying... but you know what's even more so? Actually sitting at the easel working on a new painting, like I did today. This little guy is finished and will be headed to Syracuse in the fall as part of my showing in The Other New York biennial there.

Not Here, Not Now, acrylic on canvas, 15" x 15", 2012.

It's so nice knowing that even on my gloomiest day (and I have had a few lately) I have a place I can go where everything else is forgotten, and I can get lost in the work. I feel so lucky to be living this life, despite the associated pitfalls. The positives tend to outweigh any negative aspect, it seems. Now that it's been almost two years since I left the 9 to 5 world, I can honestly say that I am making it work, I am on a trajectory.

Some days, you just have to ruminate on this stuff. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Impromptu Open Studio TONIGHT!

I'll be hosting an informal open studio tonight, 5–10pm. My studio is located at the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center (The NACC), room 340. For more information, have a look at the e-newsletter I sent out yesterday. You can also sign up to receive future newsletters there – I generally send them monthly, but sometimes a little more frequently if I have more things to tell you about.

This is my first public event and while it was spur of the moment to coincide with the opening of the Polaris exhibition put on as a collaboration between the NACC and 464 Gallery in Buffalo, I am very excited (some of our best ideas come at the last minute!). I figured that if a bunch of folks were coming up to Niagara Falls to attend, I may as well be around and open for some traffic! (I am also looking forward to seeing the show, too, mind you!)

Some of my Big Fragments will be on view!

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Materials, the Process

I'm just about wrapping up the more busy time of the year this week, and had off from any point responsibilities yesterday and today. I spent a lot of time just surfing around the internets, I admit it – but I also do a lot of research, too, and dreaming, about things like the residencies or art workshops I'd like to attend, other artists I admire, etc.

One thing I try to impart to my students is the value of the process, that is, that the end product is not always the most important thing. Playing with a new material and letting it dictate the process and even the content is not always easy to do, but invariably opens you up into a whole new direction never before achieved or even imagined.

I don't know that I expect such amazing things when I get myself some acrylic gouache, but I am very excited to experiment with a (slightly) new media. Of course in the past I have used water-based gouache and I have been using acrylic paint as my main medium for a few years now. But the idea of getting the same look and feel of gouache (kind of matte, opaque, lovely) and be able to layer because it doesn't wash away is tantalizing.

I was looking at a listing of summer workshops at Cullowhee Mountain Arts in North Carolina and found the fantastic painter Susan Lichtman, who is scheduled to teach one. I would love to have the chance to meet her and study under her for a few days, but since I can't, instead downloaded the supply list for the class. It's funny how such a list can be so inspiring! I'm hoping to get a starter set of acryl gouache within the next week or two.

This may also be a good chance for me to get back to figures in my work again, too... that's something I've been thinking about for a few months now. I even have a couple of friends who said that they would sit for me, so I'll even have easy access to subject matter.

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed at how to approach this, but maybe just sitting down and sketching out some loose compositional ideas might help. I want to connect these figures to my houses somehow, which shouldn't be too hard. I'm also going to be an artist-in-residence this summer (more on that as I have more solid information – very exciting!) that will enable me to work outside among people, a stark contrast to the solitary conditions in which I usually work. Lots of potential models in that kind of situation!

The coming weeks and months have so much potential... I need to make lists to organize my thoughts and my priorities so I don't miss anything. In addition to lots of studio time, I am also looking forward to working in my gardens, spending time with friends and family, cultivating my career...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Studio Open for Classes and Lessons!

Though I assume most of my readers live far away from Niagara Falls, NY, where my studio is, I thought I would share information about the classes and lessons that I am now able to offer. After all, I did have a student come from Florida to study bookbinding with me a couple years ago (Hi, Dianna!), and another with her daughter from Pennsylvania (Hi, Kaersten and Olivia!).

I have several one-day workshops and four-week courses lined up for early summer, starting on May 15th. These include bookbinding, printmaking, painting, and drawing. You can view the Facebook event page for the initial offerings of bookbinding workshops, and you can also head over to my website to get more information about my general offerings, as well as a downloadable brochure.

In addition to what is listed, I have the flexibility to work around a student's schedule. We can work something out if the days and times I have planned don't work for you! Days, evenings, weekends... whatever!

If you are indeed from out of town, perhaps you'd like to plan a trip to Niagara Falls and include a one-day workshop with me! In addition to teaching, I can advise you on some fun things to do and see in the region, which is rich with culture and history. (Also, Buffalo is just minutes away and has lots to do!) Though the city of Niagara Falls, NY is a mere ghost of the tourist capital it used to be, the falls themselves are a must-see and on the American side we have a lovely, more natural view of them. You can also go over to the Canadian side for the admittedly more showy view, but you also have an extremely commercialized version. Both sides are worth exploring.

Anyway, whether you're a local or a tourist, I hope that you'll keep me in mind when you get a creative urge!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

On a Roll

This weekend I completed one more painting – a smaller one for good measure – that I will be taking to a meeting with me tomorrow (perhaps more news on that soon!). I'm really enjoying this flow of creative energy I've been having lately, sure, spurred by deadlines, but wonderful nonetheless. School isn't quite over yet and this is a good sign for my productivity in the studio come summer break.

All while in the studio finishing this up today, the Earth, Wind, and Fire song "September" was playing in my head, hence the title. It seemed appropriate somehow, too. It feels a bit like that time of year.

September, 16" x 20", acrylic on canvas, 2012.

Meanwhile, there I was in my studio with both big windows wide open letting the fresh air, lovely sunshine, and city noises waft in. When I take my "step away" breaks from painting, I like to lean in the open window and admire the view – a small city park right across the street, and just the general sort of small cityness that is Niagara Falls. I have a love/hate relationship with it. When I am in the studio, though, I always love it.

This painting was one of those that came very easy with little trouble at all. Of course it had its awkward adolescence phase, but it didn't last long. I am happy with the lovely subtle color shifts that happen here – unfortunately hard to see really well in a photo (you can and should click to enlarge, though!). There are some yellow tones coming through the pale blue sky, and some unexpected colors on the roof line and to the right of the house – see that deep olive green diagonal line that connects with a line of washy red and blue? You can't plan that kind of thing, and it is always a thrill when it happens. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

New Work for Specific Things

I've been busy since getting back from the Affordable Art Fair a couple weeks ago. (I almost sold out of the work I sent down for the Uprise Art booth, what a wonderful surprise!) Luckily, the school year is finishing out with just one more week to go, after which time I have a whole list of things to do, both in and out of the studio!

Most recently, I've made a couple works for upcoming shows. The first will appear at the Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University later this year as part of the TopSpin retrospective. This was the series of solo shows featuring emerging regional artists, where I had my first solo museum show in 2009.

No Way In, No Way Out, Acrylic on canvas, 35" x 60", 2012.

Just last night, I finished up a piece to submit to the unjuried members show, The Artists Among Us, at the Burchfield Penney Art Center. That means literally anyone who is a member of the museum can submit work! By the time I got there to deliver my painting, over 600 submissions had been made, with several hours to go. It's going to be a HUGE exhibition, pity the curators, preparators, and other museum staff who must hang everything in a matter of days. (Opens May 11th, 2012!)

Ocean Size, Acrylic on canvas, 30" x 40", 2012.