Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Twin Selves 2015

I was recently asked by Nan Masland, the Public Art Project Coordinator for the Bernalillo County Cultural Services Department,  to be involved in a project which joined woman artists with female juvenile youth offenders between the ages of 14 and 18.  We were given a blank panel and asked to create an image on half the panel, then give it over to a teen to complete, under the supervision of another artist. We were asked to respond to the following question,  “What advice would you give your teenage self?"

My advice to my teenage was self was this: everything is going to be alright. As a girl, and as a younger woman, I worried all the time.  I carried anxiety around with me like a treasured friend, afraid that if I didn't worry, then something bad would happen.  But the bad things that ended up happening were not the things that were on my radar, or they were so subtle and insidious that I had no knowledge of them until they were full blown:  relationships within my family, eroding, like acid, over the years-- or they came out of nowhere: being with my daughter in her little VW Jetta on a lonely highway in Southeastern New Mexico when we hit and killed a wild Javelina going 80 mph. 

So now, at the age of 64 I've learned to let go of  much of the worry.  I meditate, I don't eat sugar, I exercise, I try and act on things in my life as promptly as I can. I try to love the people in my life cleanly and honestly and I work hard at believing in myself.  But more than anything else, I  look back over the years and realize that my life unfolded the way it needed to, almost in spite of myself, and that everything has been, and will be, alright. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

David and Goliath 2005

The phrase "David and Goliath" has taken on a more secular meaning, denoting an underdog situation, a contest where a smaller, weaker opponent faces a much bigger, stronger adversary.  Wikipedia.

Of course, in the ancient telling of "David and Goliath", Goliath was facing David so that when the stone that David hurled at him, hit him, it landed smack dab in the middle of his forehead, causing him to stumble and fall. Then of course, David whacked off his head and held it up to show everyone that Goliath was no longer.

My Goliath is really a figure of sympathy (and knowing what was to follow, you have to agree).  He's frightened, running to get out of the way of the stones flying at his head, probably knowing what is to come if he falls.  We automatically root for David, after all, he's much smaller, and is armed only with stones, although God is backing him, so actually he has quite a bit of help.  But really, whenever there is a winner, there is also a loser, and no matter what the odds, it's always bad for the person, team, or country that goes down, no matter how large or how powerful.

I think of all that is going on in the world right now, with the conflict and the incredibly confusing issues that have to do with religion, terrorism, climate change and violence(to name a few).  I want there to be a David who can win against all odds. But then, I'm not even sure who David is, and I'm  afraid that we, those of us that live in the United States of America, are in fact, Goliath.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Being Rejected 2014

Dear holly,
We want to thank you for submitting an application for the 2015 Clark Hulings Fund Business Accelerator Grant.  Our grant review panel has completed its review of 140 applications, and, unfortunately,  you were not chosen as a finalist or grant recipient.
Although you weren't chosen this year, we encourage you to seek future support from The Clark Hulings Fund.  Our website, includes many resources designed to help artists like yourself develop their businesses.
Good luck with your future work.
Alas and  Alack, this email I received today seems to be fairly standard for me anymore.  I'm under drought conditions when it comes to getting accepted for any kind of grant or award.  I've decided I have about the same odds anymore as winning the Megamillions lottery:  I make the application--spending sometimes days getting all of the information together--pay my fee, then wait to hear back.  Often I don't hear back, I just know that the deadline has come and gone and I wasn't notified, other times I get nice rejection emails like this one.  It's discouraging, but I've learned over the years not to be bothered(this is not a true statement) since I've also been at the other end, jurying or selecting artists for shows and/or awards. I know how it works, how it is to choose, what a completely subjective experience it is. I recently juried a show for Tilt Gallery , and while I loved the process and choosing the work, it also broke my heart to say no, knowing how hard it is for any artist to put him or herself on the line and then be found lacking. It helps that, along with the artists that didn't get into the show, I've spent my time in the barrel and know just how it feels.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Deer with Paw 1983

Having recently finished graduate school, I wasn't sure what the next step in being an artist should be.  After much thought and discussion, I decided it should be making make my work known to a larger audience.  So, one fall day in 1982,  I headed to Houston(two days plus) in my small Datsun pickup truck, portfolio and camping gear secured in the back.

It was an epic drive, with me taking a few wrong turns, and spending one night in a sleeping bag at a campground along I-10.  I-10 was a busy interstate highway that seemed to go on forever, and as soon as I got into Texas, I began to notice the many deer carcasses along the shoulder, hit by traffic as they tried to cross.  I'd pull my little truck over to the side of the road, wait for traffic to roar past me, then carefully exit the truck with my camera in hand and take as many photographs as I could.  If the smell were bad, I wouldn't linger as long.

The trip was really a bust, with no galleries showing any interest in representing me, and although the few curators that I showed work to were polite, they had no immediate offers of help.  However, when I got back to Phoenix I had several rolls of undeveloped film of the dead deer. They turned out to be powerful images, and I ended up developing and painting on several to make this series. Now, 33 years later, what I marvel at is how I brave I was(or perhaps how foolish?):  undertaking the long trip by myself, with little or no knowledge or where I was going or the reception I would receive, no cell phone, very little money, and mostly just an enormous belief that things would work out.  And, in the end, they did.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Lazy: Fall 2015

I have been working for almost a year on building images.  At this point, I have slipped into a stage that is probably very similar to what happens to a heroin addict:  I only want the fun, none of boring stuff.  I have painted the panels which is lots and lots and lots of fun, and exciting.  I have taken and gathered the images/painted paper/photographs (fun), and I have cut out and pieced them together to make stories about things I didn't know existed until I pulled them all together(fun and interesting).  I tack them onto the painted surfaces with poster adhesive, and then I put them up on the wall to look  and then adjust as need be(not as fun but okay).
The images that I have put up are soon covered by other images, so that on my shelves I have images that go three and four deep, all waiting to be adhered(NOT fun).  I forget about the ones I've done as I stack more over them.
The tables are covered with folders with photos/painted paper/and painted panels. As I continue to work they are then covered by more folders and more bits and pieces of paper:  faces, textures, shapes.  Somehow I keep a fairly precise idea of where everything is on the seven tables in my studio:  two tiny cut out horse ears?  No problem, on the shelf under the image of the Twin Selves towards the back(and this from a mind that can't remember why it's taking me from one room to the next).  If I start to clean up and organize things(not fun), instead I just make more collages(fun).  By this time every scrap of paper that I've cut, or printed out has potential, and if I throw it away, what then?  Gone(not fun)!
I'm left with a mountain of work: the careful, precise, and anal job of adhering the images permanently, then coated with a final varnish(NOT NOT fun).  I will end up with a stiff and sore neck and a jaw that doesn't want to open because I have been clenching as I glue. I will photograph the new work, adjust the images in Photoshop(not as un-fun as adhering but not exactly fun), then  send the images to my galleries to see which ones they want to exhibit(sometimes fun, sometimes not).  So, wherever I have put a "not fun" think of that heroin addict dozing off on the dirty mattress on the floor, bills unpaid, leaking roof, and a kitchen stacked full of unwashed dishes.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Man with TV 1986

TV is central to our lives.  Both my husband and I take our dinners into the living room where we sit, plates in our laps, and watch our favorite programs every evening.  I'm reminded of Bob's Grandparents watching Lawrence Welk every Saturday, only now they are long gone, and we are watching our own versions of the saccharine band leader.  We talk about characters as if they are our friends, analyzing what has been said or done long after the show is over.  When we go out to parties or to have dinner with friends, we discuss our latest favorite shows, among them, Naked and Afraid, a reality show about two strangers of the opposite sex dropped in the wilderness to survive without food, clothes, or water for 21 days, or Transparent, a TV series about a family in Los Angeles whose father comes out as always having thought of him/herself as a woman. We now have cable with it's billion trillion(mostly worthless) channels, Netflix, and now, Amazon Prime, so we have even more access to movies and television series.  Many of the programs we watch are excellent, and it's being said that we are in the Golden Age of TV--series that are allowed to follow complicated and compelling story lines over years, like Breaking Bad or The Sopranos.  But even when we only had four stations and a tiny black and white set with Rabbit ears, we were still TV Junkies.  At least now we can pretend that what we are watching is vital to our development as human beings, and not just pure escapism.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Burning House 2015

After being asked by Hiroki Morinoue to do a Mokuanga print with him at Anderson Ranch this Fall, I prepare the drawing, taken from the image Big Girl
Hiroki takes my drawing and traces it to two bass wood panels. He carves another house as well as the key panel to make the house stand out more, but, in the end, it makes the house too strong and we don't end up using it(the second panel can be seen resting against the wall).  His printing station is located on the floor in a corner of the printmaking shop at Anderson ranch, with Hiroki sitting on a cushion with a two low benches in front of him to work on, all of which can be folded into his suitcase so that he can travel with them.

 The first run of the print is a bass wood panel inked with red and it will be dropped twice, once for the background, and again, only partially inked, to give the top part of the sky a deeper red.  The "inks" are water colors, and must be kept wet to work.  The pattern of the wood is clearly evident, part of the charm and aesthetic of the print.

 Here you can see Hiroki rubbing the back of the paper with his Baren, transfering the ink from the panel to the print.

 The second panel after it has been painted with black water based ink and then had an image pulled from it.

 The panel with the freshly pulled print next to it and the round Baren that Hiroki uses to rub the ink in his hand(face down).

 Hiroki, satisfied with the print.

Burning House, a Mokuhanga print printed by Hiroki Morinoue*.  An ancient Japanese technique using water based ink that is hand rubbed from carved wood blocks.**


**Woodblock printing in Japan (木版画, moku-hanga) is a technique best known for its use in the ukiyo-e artistic genre of single sheets, but it was also used for printing books in the same period. Woodblock printing had been used in China for centuries to print books, long before the advent of movable type, but was widely adopted in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1868). Although similar to woodcut in Western printmaking in some regards, the moku-hanga technique differs in that it uses water-based inks—as opposed to western woodcut, which often uses oil-based inks. The Japanese water-based inks provide a wide range of vivid colors, glazes, and transparency.  Wikipedia

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Woman with Small Dog on a Leash 2015

In December of 2014, I went to the animal humane society to find a new dog to replace our old dalmatian, gone over the Rainbow Bridge.  Our other dog, Niko, was catatonic with grief, and it hurt me to see my lively, brave, and fierce little dog curled up in a ball on his pillow, only moving when forced to.  I was clear on what I wanted: a largish dog, perhaps Labrador size. Sex didn't matter, but he/she needed to be at least a year old and housebroken.  I wanted something that would keep the coyotes at bay--that wouldn't let anything in the yard that would kill and eat my little fearless terrier. 

Instead, I came home with a 7lb, 5 month old female dachshund/miniature pinscher cross puppy with god knows what else mixed in.  She'd been picked up as a stray on the mean streets of Albuquerque.  She was never going to be big, that was for sure, and, of course, was not house-broken. She was very timid, and hid behind the TV for the first hours in our house.  When I approached her, she would run away, and her cautiousness  reminded me of the coyotes I was hoping to keep out of our yard.  But there was something about her that spoke to me, some quality of reserve and dignity that I could see under the fear in her skinny body. When I finally  managed to catch her and then pick her up, I could feel her surrender, melting her body into mine, burying her head in my chest, safe at last.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Fox with Rabbit 2014

Raised on PBS nature documentaries, there was always the confusion for me of who the "good guy" was.  Was it the young antelope, separated from the herd, then stalked and chased relentlessly until brought down by a pride of lions working in tandem?  We see her head, eyes still open, moments before she dies, the lions covering her body.  Or is it the mother lion, greeting her cubs after returning from feeding on the antelope?  Without this food, the somber voice-over tells us, the mother won't be able to produce milk for the babies,  and they will weaken and die.  We watch as the cubs swarm the mother's belly as she collapses on the ground, stretching out her long body so that there is room for all to feed.

As an adult, I came to realize that there was no one good guy, or, perhaps better said, all in nature is the "good guy".  Without one, we can't have the other.  Rabbits, and there are a lot of them, are eaten by predators, and predators, which there aren't so many of, face starvation if they don't find prey. They both live by their wits, and if they don't, they die. The reality, beyond the death of one animal or the other, is that both fox and rabbit live on, headed in different directions but sharing the same world of sky and forest.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Two People Walking 2014

Although I'm shy, I am friendly.  When I bike or walk, I always verbally greet or nod to acknowledge the person coming my way, whether I know them or not.  On a recent trip to the bay area, I took a ride on a bike path in Lafayette, California.  It's an affluent area on the far east side, and there were lots of people out.  I did my normal, nod, or nod and greet, or just greet, to the people I passed, and I remembered, from the last time I rode my bike on that same bike path, that people weren't so friendly.  Some people would respond, but in a kind of sullen, not happy at being forced to do this kind of a way.  Others just ignored me or looked away.  It hurt my feelings.  I felt intrusive, like a large Labrador puppy that won't stay out of your space.  As my ride came to an end, I found myself tight lipped, not greeting, nodding, or greeting and nodding anymore.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Working Summer 2015

Painting has always been my true north. I paint outside because it's such a messy, sloppy process.  The floor of the porch is covered with paint, as will be my legs, shoes and apron as the days proceed.
July in Albuquerque is usually hot, but, thanks to climate change, we've had an unseasonably cool and wet summer.  Working outside connects me to my small part of the world:  our dogs racing around, neighbors going by in the street, the wind, the rain, the sun, smells.
With this painting session, which lasted about a week, I tried to act on whatever my creative inner voices told me to do.  At this point in my life as an artist, I have an overload of materials:  paints, tools, surfaces, and miscellaneous items that I used to paint with including but not limited to mops, brooms, sanders, and ladders.  So, it's finding, pulling out and using what I need as I need it.  Since the paintings are abstract, I'm only reacting to the painting itself, not what they can or should be.
The paintings that emerged from this session were lighter, cleaner, and simpler than what I've done in the past.  When I finished, I felt that they were the best paintings  I'd ever done, but then, I always feel that way. 
It rained heavily one afternoon while I worked, so I took one of the paintings, with wet paint on it, and set it in the rain to see what would happen.  The results were pretty great.
At the end of the week I had over 30 paintings that I felt were absolutely stunning, most fairly small.  I sat with that good feeling for a few days, but then realized I had to come up with surfaces that would be better than the paintings alone.  My good feelings turn to ones of anxiety as I start trying to figure out what to put on top of these lovely things.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Thoughtful Man 2002

"I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened"  Mark Twain

7:30 a:m on a Sunday and I was getting dressed to go for a run.  My husband came into the bedroom, pale and anxious and said he needed my help.  Worried, I hurried to finish dressing and found him sitting at the desk in the family room with his laptop open.   "I can't get this to work.  I just don't know what to do.  I feel terrible".  He was due to leave for a week long workshop in Colorado, a seven hour drive, and was trying to post a letter of recommendation to an application portal that was due the following day.  It wouldn't let him in. I couldn't help.  His despair deepened.  I suggested he call the listed contact number  the first thing the next morning for help.  "But everything is here in the computer" he groaned, "and I've got to get going".   I reminded him that the computer was a laptop, and he could take it with him.  His face brightened. I made us some breakfast, we ate, and he drove away, free of his burden IT burden.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Woman with Old Age 2003

In 2002 one of my students had just turned 60, and to show us that being 60 was no big deal, she stood on her head for us and I took her her photo.  Now, 14 years later, and well into my 60's, I marvel at how old I thought 60 was at the time.  Somehow, somewhere,(if we're lucky) this sneaky thing has happened, or will happen, to us all:  we will find that we are old. We will come to realize that, with great good fortune, we may have only another 20 years or so to live.  Our parents will be dealing with either serious disabilities, be dying or have died.  Friends and acquaintances that are younger than we are will discover a serious illness, or die from accidents, illness, or some terrible misfortune. Our hair and beards will turn gray, we will have to bend our knees and will grunt when we lean over.  For women, chins hairs will sprout like unkempt lawns. For men, morning erections will be only a faint memory.

But we are still the same us inside, still making the same silly mistakes that we have always made.  We are still sure that we will live forever  and think of death and misfortune as something that happens to someone else, but not us.  We swear that we won't make the same mistakes as our parents who refuse to go into assisted living even though they can't see and can't remember, but, of course, we will.  We carry bad feelings about family members, and it's only when they come down with a serious illness that we realize how foolish we've been, and how much time we've wasted thinking bad thoughts and saying hurtful things. We think if we don't eat sugar, and cut grains and processed foods from our diet, our memories won't go, and we will avoid pain and discomfort because we exercise regularly. I'm hoping that at some point we will acquire wisdom, patience, and tolerance to substitute for all that we've lost.  However, I'm afraid we may just keep bumbling along, just as we always have, thinking that as long as we can stand on our heads, we will be okay.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Dog on a Chain 2001

Currently, we are in possession of three dogs:  Cash, a large, 8 year old brindle mastiff on loan for the summer from our youngest daughter Teal; Sophie, our 11 month old Dachshund, Min-pin cross added to the family last December after Junior, our autistic Dalmatian crossed over on the Rainbow Bridge; and Niko, our 5 year old Rat Terrier.

I'd never owned a terrier before we got Niko.  He was one or two years old (the go-to vet age when no one really knows for sure except that they aren't puppies and they aren't old)when I found him on Craig's list and added him to the family.  He's a very handsome guy, and incredibly athletic.  He is sweet, even tempered, and, for the most part, pretty easy going.  He weighs in at 16 pounds. However, he is a killer.  The breed was bred to go after vermin(hence the moniker), so that anything that moves means that his entire focus is on that thing.  That also means that he is constantly alert to movement and noise, and, with incredible speed, will take off after anything moving.  He's so fast, and so intense, that in a moment he can be out of my sight, headed straight for some kind of big trouble.

When I really think about it, I feel terrible for the constraints I place on him.  He has to put up with the indignity of a leash, a fenced yard, and when he is free and running I'm always calling him back, pulling him away from the incredibly wonderful sights, sounds and smells of his Rat Terrier world.  Not only did I have him castrated, but, to add insult to injury, I bath him after each time he finds the most wonderful things to roll in--usually shit or a dead carp--completely nullifying the magic of the back deep in the ground, digging deep roll. He gets scolded for just being himself, for discovering and eating great great things(I don't even want to know). I watch him, I admire him, I love him and even with all the care I take, I  worry that one day, that Rat Terrier nature will take him too far away for him to come back.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

SS. Kindness 1998

When my daughter Teal was born, we found that we were in for the ride of our lives.  Emotion, power, and determination were all trapped in the body of a small female child who could out scream anything, and who could tantrum for hours on end if opposed in any way.  We often felt helpless beside her forceful strength. It was like having a tornado or a hurricane in our lives on a daily basis.  She grew, we grew.  She changed, we changed.  What saved us was kindness.  It was learning to have compassion for this small force of nature who couldn't help herself.  It was learning to love and appreciate not just the cute, sweet baby, but the small human being with the huge amounts of energy and will power.

Today she is driving from Kansas City to New Mexico to stay with us for a few days before heading on to a summer internship in Colorado.  She would have come yesterday, but weather maps showed the possibility of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms most of the way through Kansas, directly in her line of  travel.  I think she would have been fine--one force of nature to another--meeting the twisters and driving rains head-on, but, this way, her arrival ends up being on Mother's Day, and that's perfect for me.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Change 2015

Although I've used photoshop for years, I've only touched very lightly on what it can do.  Kind of like having a Porsche in the garage that you go and sit in, turning the steering wheel ever so slightly as you pretend to accelerate through a tricky hairpin curve at 90 mph.  But things have changed.  I decided this past year that I would learn more photoshop, and I've set about doing so.

Along with years of expensive continuing ed classes, I have picked up ways to use the different PS tools from many places, most recently, signing up for Lynda, the online IT learning program.  Along the way, I also picked up Painter by Corel, a kind of a fun, slightly trashy version of photoshop, and have learned to do more with my large Epson printer, having had numerous semi-heart stopping events where I got paper caught in the feed and the printer head made horrible grinding noises.  And lastly, I recently purchased an Intuos tablet to draw with, an event with another big learning curve.

With all of this, I have entered a brave new world, one with limitless possibilities.  I can now, by scanning my backgrounds, make different versions of the same image, and not lose my paintings in the process.  I can make an image entirely in Photoshop or Corel Paint, and then be able to make as many as I want, not just the one of a kinds that I've always done in the past.  I can do DASS transfers onto a panel, and if it doesn't work out, I can just print up another transfer and try it on something else.  My final image can live on in many ways:
1. on the screen only
2. as a "photo" on real photo paper
3. as a print on canvas, stretched or mounted on a panel
4. as a print, adhered onto a panel, then painted on to alter the surface.
5. lastly, the final image can be small, or huge, if I want to pay to have it printed out by a professional.

 I'm still learning and trying to figure things out.  Sometimes I go to bed at night with my head full of possibilities, other days, when I look at what I've done I think, "Crap, just a bunch of crap"--but-- interesting crap nonetheless.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ted Kuykendall 1953-2009

For years, Jim Kraft and Judy Booth's place in the South Valley was a refuge for many artists in the Albuquerque area, Ted Kuykendall and I among them, which is where I first met Ted.  Ted and I  were never close friends, but I admired and respected his work tremendously. At one point, when I was pregnant and didn't want to be in the darkroom, he developed a series of large prints for me that I later painted on.

Ted had the thing--he was the real deal.  His work came from a place that was unknown, only to be made visible as Ted did magic with his camera and darkroom chemistry. Of the work I'm familiar with, all have a sense of troubling oddness, as if we could briefly get a snapshot into his strange and dark dreams.  They are strange and unsettling, but quietly so.  His craft was his own, combining multiple images and then using chemistry to alter the surfaces.

Ted died in 2009 at the age of 56.  He had a heart condition.  His life hadn't been easy, and he worked primarily as a carpenter and a cabinetmaker. He seemed to never have had much money and lived  hand to mouth at times, yet he always continued to make work, and the quality and craftsmanship were superb.

Recently, while browsing on the photo-eye website and I came across some of Ted's images .  I was reminded of how much I had liked his work, and reminded, also, of what little commercial success Ted had had in his lifetime.  Few people knew /know his work. He was so very good, and yet so very under appreciated. History still has to write Ted's legacy and my hope is that his place in the world of fine art photography will end up at the very top.

*A lovely piece about Ted and his work by Stephen Fleming, Director of the Roswell Artists in Residence Program

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Davis 2015

One of my students this past year happened to be Connie Carpenter, known, among other things,  for being the first woman to win an Olympic Gold medal in cycling.  She took two--three week workshops with me, and during that time I had the great pleasure of getting to know her and her husband, Daivs Phinney.  Davis, also an Olympic cyclist, has Parkinson's Disease. The Carpenter-Phinneys have a foundation and that's where most of their time and energy goes.

I asked Davis to pose for me after I saw him changing his shirt one morning in the parking lot of the Aspen Country club(Connie, Davis, and I had spent the morning cross country skiing on the groomed tracks of the golf course).  In addition to having a great torso, he has a small device, the size of a pack of cigarettes, inserted under his skin on the right side of his chest.  Wires travel from the device up to his brain and help regulate the tremors caused by his PD. It was wonderful in a futuristic, bionic kind of a way.

In the short time I had getting to know Davis, he became my hero.  This is a man whose life was  taken off course in a pretty severe way, a world class athlete whose athleticism was his passion, his profession, and his connection to the world.  He had the flexibility to just change lanes and continue on, making whatever adjustments he had to to continue to live his life as fully as possible--a life full of humor, warmth, and generosity. As I age, and  see and understand the difficulties of illness in myself and in those around me, I think of Davis and the gift he has given me, the gift of seeing how it's done when the going gets tough.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Being Told 2012

On a recent bike ride with my husband, I noticed that his rear tire was wobbly--very wobbly.  Later that week,  I took the tire into the bike shop to have it looked at, and it was as we had surmised--a broken spoke. I asked the owner of the shop if we had caused it to break in some way, and he assured me that it just happens.  Then I said, "Darn, I was hoping to blame it on my husband", and in unison, all three of the bicycle repair guys in the shop replied, "Oh, it was his fault!" I remarked that they were awfully quick to jump on the husband blame wagon, and one of them said, "It's always the husband's fault", and we all laughed--a universal truth.

That's what this painting is about:  what TV sitcoms like Everyone Loves Raymond, and the new Last Man on Earth base episode after episode on.  The small nagging, female voice.  The large, unaware, "innocent" male counterpart.  The female confronting the male, the male denying culpability, the female not letting him off the hook and, whether he will admit it or not, the male knowing she's right.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

MIxed Up Face 2015

Lowbrow, or lowbrow art,[1] describes an underground visual art movement that arose in the Los Angeles, California, area in the late 1970s. It is a populist art movement with its cultural roots in underground comix, punk music, and hot-rod cultures of the street. It is also often known by the name pop surrealism. Lowbrow art often has a sense of humor – sometimes the humor is gleeful, sometimes impish, and sometimes it is a sarcastic comment.     Wikipedia

At the Yuma Art Symposium last week, I went to a talk by a ceramic artist named Max Lehman!   The work was fun to look at, full of references to Mayan Art, Mexican folklore, bunnies, cars, and skeletons.  Max went into the influence that Pop Surrealism had on his work, and showed images by Pop Surrealists such as Mark Ryden and Gary Baseman. When the talk was over, I felt discouraged, feeling that that my art was old and dated, the words "fuddy duddy" springing to mind.  Some raw nerve had been touched, some part of me that felt out of step and unloved.  Even though Pop Surrealism was old news by now, I still couldn't get over the feeling that I wasn't doing work that spoke to a younger generation, work that was cynical and clever, droll, and complex.

I thought a lot about this Pop Surrealist thing, this feeling I had of not being current for the rest of my stay in Yuma.  I then brought these thoughts back to New Mexico to ponder and chew over.  Today, when I came out to the studio, I felt as if I were looking at my work with new eyes. Interestingly, I found the  work to be very compelling--much better than I had remembered.  Perhaps not clever or cynical, but certainly complex and not like anything I've ever seen before. There was honesty, and an attempt to make and do things I hadn't done or known how to do before.  I don't know exactly why I needed to beat up on myself so much in Yuma, but I suspect it was the part of me that doesn't know where I am going creatively.  That part of me was looking for a way to dodge the responsibility of not knowing, of being uncomfortable, of feeling chaotic and lost.  It was easier to substitute the known for the unknown instead of just reassuring myself that, no matter how hard it is, all would be okay.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Pins: Yuma Art Symposium 2015

I've been invited to be a presenter at the Yuma Art Symposium  later this month.  My talk will be about my work, and then I will do a short presentation on what I have become an expert at:  gluing and transfers--a very narrow field of expertise.

We are asked to bring "pins".  I wasn't quite sure what that meant, so I emailed back and forth with Janet Fine, one of the first people to tell me about Yuma. Here is what she said, " yes i can tell you about the pins...its pretty fun...a little stressful. crazy.  the first time i went i didnt get it and i made 8 super intricate pins...duh..wrong. so you get to lutes casino and folks are trading pins. all kinds..the bar is high AND low...if that makes sense....but that is not the majority. the idea is to be able to make a lot and not spend too much time. i always make the same mistake which is i make them all different and then exchanging is a long process cuz folks mull over which to take...but i guess thats what i enjoy.  So I took what Janet said to heart, and have spent the last week(am still putting the final finishes on them)putting my pins together.  They are 3"x4", on a light board with a pin glued to the back, 27 in total.  Here are some of my favorites:

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Anderson Ranch Winter 2015 Immersive Jan. 5-Jan 23.

View of the studio given to me in the basement of the painting/printmaking building during my recent teaching/working immersive at Anderson Ranch in Snowmass, Co.  I had half of the printmaking complex, the other half(through the door at the far end)housing the presses, large digital printer, and flat files.  My studio was the classroom for printmaking--an ideal studio since there was no immersive in printmaking(I was there as the photo/new media instructor).   Lots of tables(high, good for standing) and glass surfaces all along both walls, ideal for gluing and making a mess when painting.  My only problem with the studio was that it served as a main walkway for people going into printmaking, and I found it easier to talk to people passing through than to struggle with my images.  I worked with students in the mornings and then had the afternoon and evening to work on my own.  At the end of each of the three weeks we were there I would invite my students to come down and check on my progress.  I had hoped to conquer the DASS transfer process, so brought materials to support that effort:  paint, brushes, panels, DASS super sauce, DASS transparencies, and access to my photographs files via on-line backup. I also had a Mac computer and an Epson 3880 to print with.

East wall with cellutex so that I could easiily put up work to look at with push pins.  Works developing using DASS transfer techniques along with an ink wash face that developed from across the room as I looked at my paintings lined up against the opposite wall.  It became the face of a bear surrounded by dots(lower right).  I had hoped to improve my photoshop skills, and managed to learn quite a few new things from one of my students, Mark Tucker, and from my friend, Kathy Honea, another digital immigrant.
Finished piece:  DASS transfer over painting.  Wash bear face on the left(with spots).
Opposite wall with developing paintings, some finished, some maybe, maybe not.  All still working with DASS transfer process which sometimes works, and sometimes doesn't.  I'm never quite sure why the non successful don't work, and am often surprised at how the transfers look when they are on the transparencies as opposed to when they have actually been transferred.  Again, sometimes good, sometimes not so good.  Below is a composite of two paintings with a hawk uniiting the two.  Done on a new kind of paper ordered from Dick Blick, a kind of faux carboard meant to be painted on, either oil or water based.  Nice stuff.

 I won't know the success of the images I did during my time at Anderson Ranch until I have them up, have sat with them awhile, and have looked at them through the critical eyes of my husband, Bob.  They are different than what I usually do, so am having to look at the work with new eyes.